Sanford and Son (1972–1977)
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By the Numbers 

Freeloading family and friends flock to fleece the golden sheep when Fred plays the numbers.


Peter Baldwin


Terry Ryan, Ray Galton ("Steptoe and Son" created by) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview:
Redd Foxx ... Fred G. Sanford
Demond Wilson ... Lamont Sanford
Beah Richards ... Aunt Ethel
Don Bexley ... Bubba Bexley
David Moses David Moses ... Man-Robber


After Fred admits to having one of his "special dreams" that tells him which number to bet on, Lamont forbids him from playing the numbers. Yet, Fred plays the numbers anyway and wins a lot of money and a plan to spend it on a weekend at Las Vegas. So, Lamont engineers a way to hit Fred's soft spot while pilfering him of his winnings at the same time. He gets some of Fred's friends to come by with sob stories about needing money. Bubba claims to needs $250 to get his car out of hock after his ex-wife sues him for back alimony. Then Aunt Ethel claims that she needs $200 for a gall bladder operation. Finally, with Fred down to $50, a reporter shows up asking questions about people who win the at the numbers. The reporter turns out to be a robber who takes the rest of Fred's money. Frustrated, Fred puts a Red Cross sign in the window reading "We Gave". Written by Jerry Roberts

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

15 September 1972 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tandem Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This episode marks the first appearance of Bubba. See more »


When Fred first tells Lamont about his dream, he is riding on a train. His dreambook states that the number will be 219 which is the number for riding on a bus or a train. However, while trying to further convince him a few minutes later, he says that he was in the dream riding on a bus. See more »


Lamont Sanford: President Nixon's not gonna run.
Fred G. Sanford: If he comes through Watts he will.
See more »


Ain't Misbehavin'
Written by Fats Waller, Harry Brooks and Andy Razaf
Performed by Redd Foxx
See more »

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User Reviews

Don Bexley debuts as Bubba
14 December 2016 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

The second season opener, "By the Numbers" marked the debut of Don Bexley as his on screen namesake 'Bad Boy Bubba' Bexley (his 43 episodes surpassed only by LaWanda Page's 48), while appearing in the first of only two episodes is Beah Richards as Aunt Ethel (later seen in "The Light Housekeeper"), a character that would evolve into Aunt Esther (her first appearance in "The Big Party"). Fred is so happy one morning that Lamont tries to guess why, though it's not about Lena Horne: "President Nixon's not gonna run!" "if he come through Watts he will!" He figures that '219' is his lucky number today, but Lamont won't allow him to play again. Bubba's very first scene finds him asking Fred for $5: "you caught me at a bad time Bubba, I got it!" It's quite a shock when Bubba reports that the number '219' was the winner. Aunt Ethel drops off some dinner with the lucky winner, looking for $200 to help pay for a gall bladder operation. Now down to his last $50, it's not long before he loses that too.

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