Monday, June 28, 2010

Redd Foxx on KFOX

I was reading the back of one of my classic Redd Foxx comedy LPs. At the end of the biography and the standard florid prose was a short reference to his time in radio.  This was news to me.
"The versatile Foxx is also a performer on radio and television and has won a wide audience as a disc jockey on radio station KFOX in Los Angeles."
There was in fact such a station as KFOX in Los Angeles. It was on 1280, a frequency presently belonging to KFRN, one of the hundreds of sat-fed sticks operated by Family Radio. It was and is a daytimer, but in the 1960s it had a simulcast on 100.3 FM, what we now call KSWD. They first broadcast from the Jergins Trust Building in Long Beach California in 1924 under the call letters KFON. It later changed its call letters to KFOX.  A bit more here.

I was trying to figure out when this radio career was since it's not mentioned in most short biographies.I found a 1961 Issue of billboard that listed several of his comedy albums.  There are so many it's clearly established he was a stand up comedian by this date.  These were all out by the time Dooto Records ran this ad in March of 1961. ( I list his discography at the bottom of this post)  But Dooto records was also located locally in Los Angeles. They were at 9512 South Central Ave.  These events could be contemporary to each other.

Redd Foxx was born Jon Elroy in 1922 in St. Louis Missouri. he relocated to Chicago as an infant.  He did not excel in school and eventually dropped out of high school.  He joined a singing group and performed on street corners as a part of the Four Bon Bons. In 1939 they went to New York City and got lucky, scoring a spot on the Major Bowes Radio Amateur Hour and performed at the Apollo Theater. his friends quit on him and went back to Chicago. Foxx stayed.  He worked odd jobs and eventually teamed up with Slappy White and as a duo toured the Chitlin Circuit together. In the late 1940s, after his first divorce he relocated to LA.

Dooto Records was owned by Walter "Dootsie" Williams. Foxx's fist sides for Dootone were recorded in 1956. That is a big time gap, about 15 years worth actually.  Then in a book called "Upside Your Head!: Rhythm and Blues on Central Avenue" by Johnny Otis I found a picture of Dootsie and Johnny Otis.  (See below.) notice the KFOX mic to the left. That's the connection.  I found further confirmation in a transcribed interview. 
Otis later describes Foxx as working with him as an assistant on his KFOX disc jockey show. This is when the station was located on 220 East Anaheim Street. There are no other references I can find.  But I do have other references that indicate KFOX was playing rhythm and Blues in that era, but probably only on the FM side.  But by the 1970s the AM was definitely playing country music.  In 1972 KLAC debuted in LA playing country music too, going head to head with KFOX. KFOX headed downhill and sold their FM license to Industrial Broadcasting to survive. It didnt' work and they were sold off to the present owners. That same year Sanford and Son debuted on NBC launching Foxx into television.

*I know discographies have nothing to do with radio, but there's nothing online so I'm copying these off my LPs for others to draw upon more readily. His complete discography was supposedly 54 albums. Below are all of them I think.  Feel free to fill in the blanks. Some of the information came from a Dootone discography here.

DOOTO RECORDS DISCOGRAPHY
DTL01   - The Best Laff
DTL214 - Laff Of The Party Vol. 1
DTL219 - Laff Of The Party Vol. 2
DTL220 - Laff Of The Party Vol.3
DTL227 - Laff Of The Party Vol.4
DTL234 - Best Of Foxx Vol. 1
DTL236 - Laff Of The Party Vol.7
DTL249 - Burlesque Humor
DTL253 - The Side Splitter Vol.1
DTL265 - The Laff of the Party Vol. 8
DTL270 - The Side Splitter Vol. 2
DTL274 - Best of Fun (Red Foxx and Others)
DTL275 - Racy Tales
DTL290 - Redd Foxx Funn
DTL295 - Sly Sex
DTL298 - Have One On Me
DTL385 - The New Soap/Song Plugging
DTL390 - The Jackasses/The Race Track
DTL397 - The Honeymooners/The Sneezes
DTL402 - Beans And Pineapple Sauce/The Army
DTL408 - The Two Oars/The Preacher's Bicycle
DTl411 - The Dead Jackass/Women Over Forty
DTL416 - Real Pretty Baby/It's Fun To Be Living In The Crazy House
DTL418 - Best Of Redd Foxx Parts 1&2
DTL421 - The House/Sex And Orange Juice
DTL426 - Hollywood Playboy/The Dogs Meeting
DTL436 - South Of The Border/The Plastic Surgeon
DTL453 - The Dear John Letter/Honesty Is The Best Policy
DTL455 - The Shoe Shine Boy/The Royal Thighs And Others
DTL458 - 118 Ways To Make Love/Pregnancy Co-Operation
DTL460 - No Teeth/With My Teeth/The Best Years/Deep Sea Diver
DTL464 - Christmas Hard Ties/Jaw Resting
DTL801 - Laffarama
DTL804 - Wild Party
DTL809 - This is Foxx
DTL815 - He's Funny
DTL820 - Red Foxx At Jazzville U.S.A.

MF RECORDS DISCOGRAPHY
RF1 - Laff Your Head off
RF2 - Laff Your Ass Off
RF3 - Redd Foxx At Home
RF4 - A Whole Lot of Soul
RF5 - At His Best
RF6 - Doin' His Own Thing
RF7 - Say It Like It Is
RF8 - Is Sex Here To Stay
RF9 - Where It's At
RF10 - Huffin' And A Puffin'
RF11 - I Am Curious, Black
RF12 - Three Or Four Times A Day
RF13 - Mr. Hot Pants
RF14 - Hot Flashes
RF15 - Restricted
RF16 - Superstar
RF17 - Spice can Be Nice!