The Top...Um...4 (?) NBC Sitcoms of the 1970s
2. Chico and the Man (1974-1978)
Premise: Archie Bunker as a mechanic with Latin version of Meathead.
In a first of its kind, Freddie Prinze starred as a prominent Latino actor on a primetime TV series. It also featured
Eddie Albert Jack Albertson (Note: I fall on my sword with this mistake -- got the name wrong trying to go too quickly), who most recognize as Grandpa Joe from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The show, set in a garage in East LA owned by Albert's character, revolved around the relationship between the grumpy old man and the young, vibrant Prinze. The concept of the show was actually based on comedy skits from Cheech and Chong. Unfortunately, Prinze, who struggled with addiction and depression, shot himself in 1977. Anyone who watched the show will tell you it was seriously funny. Prinze had a real future ahead of him before his death. Following the theme of music from famous musicians, Chico's theme was written and recored by Jose Feliciano.
1. Sanford and Son (1972-1977)
Premise: Junk store owner out smart asses all comers.
Fred G. Sanford is, without question, one of the single funniest characters in television history, powered mostly by the wildly talented Redd Foxx. With nearly as many solid catchphrases as his white counterpart, Archie Bunker, ("You big dummy!", "And the G stands for...") Sanford drove one of the more consistently hilarious (never mind unique) plot lines on '70s TV. His most memorable moments were arguing with his son, Lamont, but the cast of diverse actors gave show creator Norman Lear plenty of comedic fodder. Much like the aforementioned Cosby joint, the now famous Sanford and Son theme was penned by Quincy Jones.