And now here is episode 4. James gets a visit from an old Army buddy, Reverend Sam, to whom Florida suspects is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Florida wanted Thelma to pick up Michael’s shoes from being repaired, but she just finished washing her hair. J.J. is assigned to the task, but protests that when he went to bring them the day before and bring them back, he was wearing his own shoes out. Thelma gave him a dollar to pick up some make-up for her. He joked that for that much he could put it on her himself. She responded he should grow a beard and disappear in it. Florida settled it by demanding J.J. leave immediately. Michael turned the television on and Reverend Sam appeared. Florida mimicked the way he would talk about Jesus and like the was the Lord’s shepherd. she then questioned how come he never answered his calls or came and visited. Ironically, the next knock on the door turned out to be none other than our beloved preacher and Florida exclaimed prematurely that if it was him she’d shine James’s shoes at Marshall Field.
After letting him in, James and Sam repeated their old army song “we don’t roar, we don’t fight, but we’re gonna score tonight, oh when the tomcats come rolling along”. They also repeat their nicknames of Honest James and Smiling Sam. Florida questioned how he got the expensive threads on his back and even had Michael suspicious of him, causing James to send him inside. J.J. came back excited about the extra long Cadillac parked outside which turned out to belong to none other than Sam. Thelma came out and also expressed her admiration for Sam and begged for his autograph. He then explained that he was in town to offer James a job as his assistant for $100 a day, seven days a week. ($700 a week, damn good for 1974). Florida protested that nobody could make that much money legally (doctors and lawyers included?) Instead of jumping at the chance immediately, James claimed he had his job at the car wash at $2.50 hour (minimum wage at the time) and was satisfied. Willona came by also marveling about the Cadillac and met Sam. She claimed she also donated money to him which he claimed was God’s money. She stated it was alimony money from her ex-husband. (the devil’s money). He questioned that she was divorced and she replied “divorced but not desperate”. Sam invited the whole family to a prayer meeting that evening and gave a preview of how he performed. Florida replied with a “that was good”.
The family came back from the meeting all excited and actually believed in Reverend Sam’s preaching’s, all except Florida. J.J. even mimicked him yelling Alleluia to the sky while he was preaching, the people were playing, the choir was singing and Florida then protested the ushers were collecting. They were all especially happy on how he caused a wheelchair bound friend to jump out of his chair. James claimed it was a miracle while Florida stated the miracle was they all believed it. She even reminded James that they were teaching the kids honesty and he shouldn’t go around the country with a schemer like Sam. James, however, wasn’t buying, that was, until the man in the wheelchair showed up and asked him if in their next step in Philadelphia he would take over the wheelchair scam. Florida asked him what he meant by that, he replied “I hire the handicapped”. J.J. requested that he come along and that he’d do a great job with the wheelchair. Reverend Sam replied that there was always room for one more. James answered that neither of them were going, stating that no amount of money in the world would allow him to ruin his son.
In the tag, Reverend Sam made another television appearance with his phony preachings and asked God for a sign. At that moment, the television blew a fuse, causing Florida to say “Right on, Lord”.
First aired March 1, 1974
Written by Roland Wolpert
Directed by Bob LaHendro and Donald Mckayle
Guest Stars Roscoe Lee Browne as Reverend Sam
Another good episode in which honesty and integrity is taught. Although James was ecstatic at making all that money working for Reverend Sam, he did not wish to do it dishonestly and fraudulently. He’d rather live in a high crime ghetto his whole life than to sink to that. Next we have “Michael Gets Suspended’