All in the Family is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network from January 12, 1971, to April 8, 1979. In September 1979, a new show, Archie Bunker's Place, picked up where All in the Family had ended. That sitcom lasted another four years, ending its run in 1983.
All in the Family revolves around Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), a working-class World War II veteran living in Queens, New York. He is an outspoken bigot, seemingly prejudiced against everyone who is not a U.S.-born, politically conservative, heterosexual White Anglo-Saxon Protestant male, and dismissive of anyone not in agreement with his view of the world. His ignorance and stubbornness seem to cause his malapropism-filled arguments to self-destruct. He often responds to uncomfortable truths by blowing a raspberry. He longs for better times when people sharing his viewpoint were in charge, as evidenced by the nostalgic theme song "Those Were the Days," the show's original title. Despite his bigotry, he is portrayed as loveable and decent, as well as a man who is simply struggling to adapt to the changes in the world, rather than someone motivated by hateful racism or prejudice.
By contrast, Archie's wife, Edith (Jean Stapleton), is a sweet and understanding, if somewhat naïve, woman who usually defers to her husband. On the rare occasions when Edith takes a stand she proves to be one of the wisest characters, as evidenced in the episodes "The Battle of the Month" and "The Games Bunkers Play". Archie often tells her to "stifle" herself and calls her a "dingbat". Despite their different personalities they love each other deeply.
They have one child, Gloria (Sally Struthers) who, for the most part, is kind and good natured, like her mother, but who also on occasion displays traces of her father's stubbornness; she becomes more of an outspoken feminist as the series progresses. Gloria is married to college student Michael Stivic (Rob Reiner). Michael is referred to as "Meathead" by Archie and "Mike" by nearly everyone else. Mike is a bit of a hippie, and his morality is informed by the counterculture of the 1960s. He and Archie represent the real-life clash between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers. They constantly clash over religious, political, social, and personal issues. For much of the series, the Stivics live in the Bunkers' home to save money, providing even more opportunity for the two men to irritate each other. When Mike finally finishes graduate school and the Stivics move out, it turns out to be to the house next door. The house was offered to them by George Jefferson, the Bunkers' former neighbor, who knows it will irritate Archie. In addition to calling him "Meathead", Archie also frequently cites Mike's Polish ancestry, referring to him as a "dumb Polack."
The show is set in the Astoria section of Queens, one of New York City's five boroughs, with the vast majority of scenes taking place in the Bunkers' home at 704 Hauser Street (and later, frequently, the Stivics' home). Occasional scenes take place in other locations, most often (especially during later seasons) Kelsey's Bar, a neighborhood tavern where Archie spends a good deal of time and which he eventually buys. The house seen in the opening is at 89-70 Cooper Avenue in the Glendale section of Queens.
The Bunkers & the Stivics: standing, Gloria (Sally Struthers) and Michael (Rob Reiner); seated, Archie (Carroll O'Connor) and Edith (Jean Stapleton) with baby Joey.
Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker. Frequently called a "lovable bigot", Archie was an assertively prejudiced blue-collar worker. Former child actor Mickey Rooney was Lear's first choice to play Archie, but Rooney declined the offer because of the strong potential for controversy and, in Rooney's opinion, a poor chance for success. Scott Brady, formerly of the western series Shotgun Slade, also declined the role of Archie Bunker, but appeared four times on the series in 1976 in the role of Joe Foley.
Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker, née Baines. It was Stapleton who developed Edith's recognizable voice. Stapleton remained with the show through the original series run but decided to leave before the first season of Archie Bunker's Place had wrapped up. At that point Edith was written out as having suffered a stroke and died off-camera, leaving Archie to deal with the death of his beloved "dingbat". Stapleton appeared in all but four episodes of All in the Family and had a recurring role during the first season of Archie Bunker's Place. In the series' first episode, Edith is portrayed as being less of a dingbat and even sarcastically refers to her husband as "Mr. Religion, here..." after they come home from church, something her character wouldn't be expected to say, later.
Sally Struthers as Gloria Stivic, née Bunker. The Bunkers' college-age daughter was married to Michael Stivic. Gloria frequently attempted to mediate Archie's and Michael's arguments. The roles of the Bunkers' daughter and son-in-law (then named "Dickie") initially went to Candice Azzara and Chip Oliver. However, after seeing the show's pilot, ABC, the original production company, requested a second pilot expressing dissatisfaction with both actors. Lear later recast the roles of "Gloria" and "Dickie" with Struthers and Reiner. Penny Marshall (Reiner's wife, whom he married in April 1971, shortly after the program began) was also considered for the role of Gloria. During the earlier seasons of the show, Struthers was known to be discontented with how static her part was, frequently coming off as irritating and having only a few token lines. As the series continued Gloria's character became more developed, satisfying Struthers. Struthers appeared in 157 of the 202 episodes during the first eight seasons—from January 12, 1971 to March 19, 1978. She later reprised the role in the spin-off series Gloria, which lasted for a single season in 1982-83.
Rob Reiner as Michael Stivic. Gloria's Polish-American hippie husband was part of the counterculture of the 1960s. He constantly sparred with Archie (in the original pilot, he was Irish-American). Michael was, in many ways, as stubborn as Archie, even though his moral views were generally presented as being more ethical and his logic somewhat sounder. Though this was true, he was generally portrayed in a more negative light than Archie; Archie was portrayed in a more sympathetic sense, while Michael was portrayed as loudmouthed and at times, demanding. He consistently tried to prove himself correct (as evidenced in the episode "The Games Bunkers Play") and seemed desperate to convince people that his way was the right way to go all the time, even more than Archie, who gave up giving advice about his way when there was no point. This would occasionally, if not often, end him up in conflict with his friends and wife. For his bullheadedness, Stivic was sometimes criticized for being an elitist. He also struggled with assumptions of male superiority. He spoke of believing in female equality, but often tried to control Gloria's decisions and desires in terms of traditional gender roles. While Archie was a representation of right-wing bigotry and demonstrated the lion's share of the hypocrisy, Michael, on many occasions, showed his own. As discussed in All in the Family retrospectives, Richard Dreyfuss sought the part but Norman Lear was convinced to cast Reiner. Reiner appeared in 174 of the 202 episodes of the series during the first eight seasons—from January 12, 1971 to March 19, 1978. Reiner is also credited with writing three of the series' episodes.
Danielle Brisebois as Edith's 9-year-old grandniece, Stephanie Mills. The Bunkers take her in after the child's father, Floyd Mills, abandons her on their doorstep in 1978 after Mike and Gloria moved to California at the end of the 8th season (he later extorts money from them to let them keep her). She appeared in the opening credits of the 9th season, remained with the show through its transition to Archie Bunker's Place, and appeared in all 4 seasons of the latter show.
When Archie visits a local blood bank to make a donation, he meets his neighbor, Lionel Jefferson, who is there to do the same thing.
Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson, Isabel Sanford as his wife Louise, and Mike Evans as their son Lionel, Archie's African American neighbors. George is Archie's combative black counterpart, while Louise is a smarter, more assertive version of Edith. Lionel first appeared in the series' premiere episode "Meet the Bunkers", with Louise appearing later in the first season. Although previously mentioned many times, George was not seen until 1973. Hemsley, who was Norman Lear's first choice to play George, was performing in the Broadway musical Purlie and did not want to break his commitment to that show. However, Lear kept the role waiting for him until he had finished with the musical. Plots frequently find Archie and George at odds with one another, while Edith and Louise attempt to join forces to bring about a resolution. They later moved to an apartment in Manhattan which resulted in their own show The Jeffersons.
Mel Stewart, as George's brother Henry Jefferson. The two appeared together only once, in the 1973 episode in which the Bunkers host Henry's going-away party, marking Stewart's final episode and Hemsley's first. Even when the Jeffersons were spun off into their own show in 1975, Stewart's character was rarely referred to again and was never seen. In the closing credits of "The First and Last Supper" episode, Mel Stewart is incorrectly credited as playing George Jefferson. Stewart was actually playing George's brother, Henry Jefferson, who was pretending to be George for most of the episode.
Bea Arthur as Edith's cousin Maude. Maude was white-collared and ultra-liberal, the perfect foil to Archie and one of his main antagonists. She appeared in only two episodes, "Cousin Maude's Visit", where she took care of the Bunker household when all four were sick and "Maude", during the show's second season. She then went on to her own spin-off series, Maude, in fall 1972.
Betty Garrett and Vincent Gardenia as the liberal and Roman Catholic next-door neighbors Irene and Frank Lorenzo. Both first appeared as a married couple as Irene was trying to use the Bunker's phone. However, during an argument earlier in the episode, Archie and Mike had broken the phone wire. Irene being a 'handyman' of sorts with her own tools, which she carried in her purse, fixed it. Irene fixed many things at the Bunker house during her time on the show. She also had a sister who was a nun and appeared in one episode. It is revealed in the episode Edith's Christmas Story that Irene has had a mastectomy. Archie got her a job as a forklift operator at the plant where Archie worked. Irene was a strongwilled woman of Irish heritage, and Frank was a jovial Italian househusband who loved cooking and singing. He also was a salesman, but it never was said what he sold. Gardenia, who also appeared as Jim Bowman in Episode 8 of Season 1 (as the man who sold his house to the Jeffersons) and as Curtis Rempley in Episode 7 of Season 3 (as a swinger opposite Rue McClanahan), became a semi-regular along with Garrett in 1973. Gardenia only stayed for one season as Frank Lorenzo, but Garrett remained until her character was phased out in late 1975.
Allan Melvin as Archie's neighbor and best friend Barney Hefner. The character first appeared in 1972 as a fairly minor character. Barney's role expanded toward the end of the series, after the departures of Reiner and Struthers.
James Cromwell as Jerome "Stretch" Cunningham (1973–1976) "The Funniest Man in The World", Archie's friend and co-worker from the loading dock (Archie claims that he is known as the "Bob Hope" of the loading platform). What Archie did not know was that Stretch was Jewish, evident only after Stretch died and Archie went to the funeral. Archie's eulogy for his friend is often referred to as a rare occasion when he was capable of showing the humanity he tried so earnestly to hide. In the episode titled "Archie in the Cellar," Billy Sands is referred to as Stretch Cunningham, the voice on the tape recorder telling jokes. Sands also appeared as other characters on the show during its run, usually in Kelsey's Bar as a patron.
Liz Torres as Theresa Betancourt (1976–1977), a Puerto Rican nursing student who initially meets Archie when he is admitted to the hospital for surgery; she later rents Mike's and Gloria's former room at the Bunker house. She called Archie "Papi." Torres had just completed the first season of the CBS sitcom Phyllis in the spring of 1976 before being dropped from the cast. (She had replaced the late actress Barbara Colby in the role of Julie Erskine). She joined All in the Family in the fall of 1976 but her character of Theresa was not popular with viewers and the role was phased out before the end of the season.
Billy Halop as Mr. Munson (1971–74), the cab driver who lets Archie use his cab to make extra money.
Bob Hastings as Kelcy or Tommy Kelsey, who owns the bar Archie frequents and later buys. Kelcy was also played by Frank Maxwell in the episode "Archie Gets The Business." The name of the establishment is Kelcy's Bar (as seen in the bar window in various episodes). However, due to a continuity error, the end credits of episodes involving the bar owner spell the name "Kelcy" for the first two seasons and "Kelsey" thereafter, although the end credits show "Kelcy" in the "Archie Gets the Business" episode.
Jason Wingreen as Harry Snowden, a bartender at Kelcy's Bar who continues to work there after Archie purchases it and eventually becomes his business partner. Harry had initially tried to buy the bar from Kelcy, but Archie was able to come up with the money first, by taking a mortgage out on his house, which the Bunkers own outright.
Gloria LeRoy as Mildred "Boom-Boom" Turner, a buxom, middle-aged secretary at the plant where Archie works. Her first appearance was when Archie is lost on his way to a convention and Mike and Gloria suspect he and she could be having an affair. Archie gave her that moniker as she was walking by the loading dock. He said when she walked, "Boom-Boom". She is not initially fond of Archie due to his and Stretch's leering and sexist behavior, but later becomes friendly with him, occasionally working as a barmaid at Archie's Place. Gloria LeRoy also appeared in a third season episode as "Bobbi Jo," the wife of Archie's old war buddy "Duke".
Barnard Hughes as Father Majeskie, a local Catholic priest who was suspected by Archie one time of trying to convert Edith. He appeared in multiple episodes. The first time was when Edith accidentally hit Majeskie's car in the shopping parking lot with a can of cling peaches in heavy syrup.
Eugene Roche appeared as practical jokester friend and fellow lodge member "Pinky Peterson", one of Archie Bunker's buddies, in three episodes; first in the episode "Beverly Rides Again", then the memorable Christmas Day episode called "The Draft Dodger" (Episode 146, 1976), and finally the episode "Archie's Other WIfe".
Lori Shannon as Beverly La Salle, a transvestite entertainer, who appeared in three episodes: "Archie the Hero", "Beverly Rides Again", and "Edith's Crisis of Faith".
Estelle Parsons as Blanche Hefner (1977–1979), Barney's second wife. Blanche and Archie are not fond of one another, though Edith likes her very much. The character is mentioned throughout much of the series after Barney's first wife, Mabel, had died, though she only appeared in a handful of episodes during the last couple of seasons. Estelle Parsons also appeared in the season 7 episode "Archie's Secret Passion" as Dolores Fencel.
Bill Quinn as Mr. Edgar Van Ranseleer (a.k.a. "Mr. Van R"), a blind patron and regular at the bar. He was almost never referred to by his first name. In a running joke, Archie usually waves his hand in front of Mr. Van R's face when he speaks to him.
Nedra Volz as Aunt Iola. She was Edith's aunt who was mentioned several times in the 8th season and stayed with the Bunkers for two weeks. Edith wanted her to move in, but Archie would not allow it, though when he thought Iola didn't have any place to go, he told her privately that she could always stay with them.
Francine Beers and Jane Connell as Sybil Gooley, who worked at Ferguson's Market. Frequently mentioned, usually by Edith, Sybil predicted that Gloria and Mike were having a baby boy by performing a test on Gloria. She also appeared in the episode "Edith's 50th Birthday" and spilled the beans on her surprise party because she had not been invited. She and Archie did not get along and he referred to her as a "Big Mouth".
Rae Allen, Elizabeth Wilson, as Cousin Amelia. Archie detested both her and her husband, Russ, who were both wealthy. Once she sent Edith a mink and Archie wanted to send it back, until he found out how much it was worth. In another episode, both Amelia and her husband gave the Bunkers Hawaiian shirts. Amelia was played by two different actresses throughout the first few seasons of the show.
Richard Dysart as Russ DeKeyper, Amelia's husband, a plumber who continued the business started by Amelia's father and uncles and walked into a successful plumbing concern, and who constantly flaunts his monetary wealth in front of Archie and looks askance at the way Archie lives. Russ was later played by George S. Irving in season 5.
Clyde Kusatsu as Reverend Chong. Reverend Chong appeared in several episodes. He refused to baptize little Joey in Season 6 and then remarried both Archie and Edith and Mike and Gloria in Season 8 and gave counsel to Stephanie in Season 9 as it was learned she was Jewish.
Ruth McDevitt as Josephine "Jo" Nelson. She played Justin Quigley's girlfriend, the older man Edith found walking around the supermarket. She appeared in three episodes from the 4th-6th seasons. Gloria and Mike adopted them as their godgrandparents. Out of most of the characters, Archie took a liking to Justin and Jo. She died following the end of the 6th season.
William Benedict as Jimmy McNabb. He was Archie's and Edith's neighbor who was starting a petition to keep minorities out of their neighborhood. He appeared in two episodes during the first and second season and was referred to many times during the first few seasons.
Jack Grimes as Mr. Whitehead. He was a member of Archie's lodge, and was the local funeral director. The death of Archie's cousin Oscar in a season 2 episode of All in the Family brings the very short, white-haired and silver-tongued Whitehead with his catalog of caskets.
History and production
The show came about when Norman Lear read an article in Variety magazine on Till Death Us Do Part and its success in the United Kingdom. He immediately knew it portrayed a relationship just like the one between him and his father.
Lear bought the rights to the show and incorporated his own family experiences with his father into the show. Lear's father would tell Lear's mother to "stifle herself" and she would tell Lear's father "you are the laziest white man I ever saw" (two "Archieisms" that found their way onto the show).
The original pilot was entitled Justice for All and was developed for ABC. Tom Bosley, Jack Warden, and Jackie Gleason were all considered for the role of Archie Bunker. In fact, CBS wanted to buy the rights to the original British show Till Death Us Do Part and retool it specifically for Gleason, who was under contract to them, but producer Norman Lear beat out CBS for the rights and offered the show to ABC.
Lear initially wanted to shoot in black and white as Till Death Us Do Part had been. While CBS insisted on color, Lear had the set furnished in rather neutral tones, keeping everything relatively devoid of color. As wardrobe designer Rita Riggs described in her 2001 Archive of American Television interview, Lear's idea was to create the feeling of sepia tones, in an attempt to make viewers feel as if they were looking at an old family album.
All in the Family was the first major American series to be videotaped in front of a live studio audience. In the 1960s, most sitcoms had been filmed in the single-camera format without audiences, with a laugh track simulating an audience response. Lear employed the multi-camera format of shooting in front of an audience, but used tape, whereas previous multi-camera shows like Mary Tyler Moore had used film. Thanks to the success of All in the Family, videotaping sitcoms in front of an audience became a common format for the genre during the 1970s. The use of videotape also gave All in the Family the look and feel of early live television, including the original live broadcasts of The Honeymooners, to which All in the Family is sometimes compared.
For the show's final season, the practice of being taped before a live audience changed to playing the already taped and edited show to an audience and recording their laughter to add to the original sound track. Thus, the voice-over during the end credits was changed from Rob Reiner's "All in the Family was recorded on tape before a live audience" to Carroll O'Connor's "All in the Family was played to a studio audience for live responses". (Typically, the audience would be gathered for a taping of One Day at a Time, and get to see All In the Family as a bonus.) Throughout its run, Norman Lear took pride in the fact that canned laughter was never used (mentioning this on many occasions); the laughter heard in the episodes was genuine.
The series' opening theme song "Those Were The Days", written by Lee Adams (lyrics) and Charles Strouse (music), was presented in a unique way for a 1970s series: Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton seated at a console or spinet piano (played by Stapleton) and singing the tune on-camera at the start of every episode, concluding with live-audience applause. (The song dates back to the first Justice For All pilot, although on that occasion O'Connor and Stapleton performed the song off-camera and at a faster tempo than the series version.) Several different performances were recorded over the run of the series, including one version that includes additional lyrics. The song is a simple, pentatonic melody (that can be played exclusively with black keys on a piano) in which Archie and Edith wax nostalgic for the simpler days of yesteryear. A longer version of the song was released as a single on Atlantic Records, reaching No. 30 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart early in 1972; the additional lyrics in this longer version lend the song a greater sense of sadness, and make poignant reference to social changes taking place in the 1960s and early 1970s. A few perceptible drifts can be observed when listening to each version chronologically: In the original version Jean Stapleton was wearing glasses and after the first time the lyric "Those Were The Days" was sung over the tonic (root chord of the song's key) the piano strikes a Dominant 7th chord in transition to the next part which is absent from subsequent versions. Jean Stapleton's screeching high note on the line "And you knew where you WEEERRE then" became louder, longer, and more comical, although it was only in the original version that audience laughter was heard in response to her rendition of the note; Carroll O'Connor's pronunciation of "welfare state" gained more of Archie's trademark enunciation and the closing lyrics (especially "Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.") were sung with increasingly deliberate articulation, as viewers had initially complained that they could not understand the words. Also in the original version the camera angle was shot slightly from the right side of the talent as opposed to the straight on angle of the next version.
In addition to O'Connor and Stapleton singing, footage is also shown beginning with aerial shots of Manhattan, and continuing to Queens, progressively zooming in more closely, culminating with a still shot of a lower middle-class semi-detached home, presumably representing the Bunkers' house in Astoria. The house shown in the opening credits, however, is actually located at 89–70 Cooper Avenue in the Glendale section of Queens, New York. There is a notable difference, however, between the Cooper Avenue house and the All in the Family set: there is no porch on the Cooper Avenue house, while the Bunkers' home featured a front porch. The footage for the opening had been shot back in 1968 for the series' first pilot, thus the establishing shot of the Manhattan skyline was completely devoid of the World Trade Center towers, which had not yet been built. When the series aired two years later, the Trade Center towers, although under construction, had still not yet risen high enough to become a prominent feature on the Manhattan skyline (this would not happen until the end of 1971). Despite this change in the Manhattan skyline the original 1968 footage would continue to be used for the series opening until the series transitioned into Archie Bunker's Place in 1979. At that point a new opening with current shots of the Manhattan skyline were used with the Trade Center towers being seen in the closing credits. This opening format – showing actual footage of the cities and neighborhoods in which the show was set – would become the standard for most of Norman Lear's sitcoms including Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons.
At the end of the opening the camera then returns to a few final seconds of O'Connor and Stapleton, as they finish the song. In one version of the opening, at the conclusion Archie hugs Edith at the end, while another version sees Edith smiling blissfully at Archie, while Archie puts a cigar in his mouth and returns a rather cynical look to Edith. Additionally in the first three versions of the opening Archie is seen wearing his classic trademark white shirt. In the last version of the opening done for the series' ninth season Archie is seen wearing a grey sweater jacket over his white shirt.
The opening for the animated series Family Guy begins with Peter and Lois Griffin at the piano, singing, a tribute to the All in the Family opening. The lyrics for this also seem to imply things have changed for the worse since the old days ("but where are those good old fashioned values on which we used to rely?").
In interviews, Norman Lear stated that the idea for the piano song introduction was a cost-cutting measure. After completion of the pilot episode, the budget would not allow an elaborate scene to serve as the sequence played during the show's opening credits. Lear decided to have a simple scene of Archie and Edith singing at the piano.
The closing theme (an instrumental) was "Remembering You" played by Roger Kellaway with lyrics co-written by Carroll O'Connor. It was played over footage of the same row of houses in Queens as in the opening (but moving in the opposite direction down the street), and eventually moving back to aerial shots of Manhattan, suggesting the visit to the Bunkers' home has concluded. O'Connor recorded a vocal version of "Remembering You" for a record album, but though he performed it several times on TV appearances, the lyrics (about the end of a romance) were never heard in the actual series.
Except for some brief instances in the first season, there was no background or transitional music.
Setting and location
The house featured in the opening credits sequence, as it appeared in late 2013.
Lear and his writers set the series in the Queens neighborhood of Astoria. The exact location of the Bunkers' house at 704 Hauser Street is completely fictitious (no Hauser Street exists in Queens), however, and factually incorrect with the way addresses are given in Queens (all address numbers are hyphenated, containing the location of the nearest numbered street). Nevertheless, many episodes reveal that the Bunkers live near the major thoroughfare Northern Boulevard, which was the location of Kelcy’s Bar and later Archie Bunker's Place.
Many real Queens institutions are mentioned throughout the series. Carroll O’Connor, a real-life Queens native from Forest Hills, said in an interview with the Archive of American Television that he suggested to the writers many of the locations to give the series authenticity. For example, it is revealed that Archie attended Flushing High School, a real high school located in Flushing, Queens (although in the "Man Of The Year" episode of Archie Bunker's Place, it is revealed that Archie attended Bryant High School in Long Island City, graduating in 1940). As another example, the 1976 episode "The Baby Contest" deals with Archie entering baby Joey in a cutest baby contest sponsored by the Long Island Daily Press, a then-operating local newspaper in Queens and Long Island.
Additionally, the writers of All in the Family continued throughout the series to have the Bunkers, as well as other characters, use telephone exchange names when giving a telephone number (most other series at the time, such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, were using the standard fake 555 telephone number) at a time when AT&T was earnestly trying to discontinue them. At different times throughout the series, the telephone exchanges Ravenswood and Bayside were used for the Bunkers' telephone number. Both exchanges were and still are applicable names for phone numbers in the neighborhoods of Astoria and Bayside. This may have had to do with the fact that at the time many major cities in the United States, such as New York, were resisting the dropping of telephone exchange names in favor of all-number calling, and were still printing their telephone books with exchange names. This fact is referred to in the 1979 episode "The Appendectomy," when Edith, while dialing a telephone number, uses the Parkview exchange name only to correct herself by saying that she keeps forgetting that it's all-number dialing now. However, she comes to the conclusion that the number is exactly the same either way.
Tuesday at 9:30-10:00 PM on CBS: January 12—April 6, 1971
Saturday at 8:00-8:30 PM on CBS: September 18, 1971—March 8, 1975
Monday at 9:00-9:30 PM on CBS: September 8, 1975—March 8, 1976
Wednesday at 9:00-9:30 PM on CBS: September 22—October 27, 1976
Saturday at 9:00-9:30 PM on CBS: November 6, 1976—March 12, 1977
Sunday at 9:00-9:30 PM on CBS: October 9, 1977—October 1, 1978
Sunday at 8:00-8:30 PM on CBS: October 8, 1978—April 8, 1979
"Sammy's Visit," first broadcast in February 1972, is a particularly notable episode, whose famous episode-ending scene produced the longest sustained audience laughter in the history of the show. Guest star Sammy Davis, Jr. plays himself in the episode. Davis leaves a briefcase behind in Archie's taxi (Archie is moonlighting as a cab driver) and goes to the Bunker home to pick it up. After hearing Archie's racist remarks, Davis asks for a photograph with him. At the moment the picture is taken, Davis suddenly kisses a stunned Archie on the cheek. The ensuing laughter went on for so long that it had to be severely edited for network broadcast, as Carroll O'Connor still had one line ("Well, what the hell — he said it was in his contract!") to deliver after the kiss. (The line is usually cut in syndication.)
During the show's sixth season, starting on December 1, 1975, CBS began showing reruns on weekdays-taking the place of long-running soap opera The Edge of Night, which had been purchased by ABC. This lasted until September 1979, at which point the reruns entered off-network syndication. Since the late 1980s, All in the Family has been rerun on various cable and satellite networks including TBS, TV Land and Nick at Nite. Since January 3, 2011, the show has been airing on Antenna TV.
The cast settled their residual rights for a cash payout early in the production run.
All in the Family is one of three television shows (The Cosby Show and American Idol being the others) that have been No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive TV seasons. The show remained in the top-ten for seven of its nine seasons.
The first spin-off was Maude on September 12, 1972. Maude Findlay, played by Bea Arthur, was Edith's cousin; she had first appeared on All in the Family in the episode "Cousin Maude's Visit", which aired on December 11, 1971, in order to help take care of the Bunkers when they all were sick with a nasty flu virus. Maude disliked Archie intensely, mainly because she thought Edith could have married better, but also because Archie was a conservative while Maude was very liberal in her politics, especially when Archie denounced Maude's support of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Maude was featured in another All in the Family episode in which Archie and Edith visited Maude's home in Westchester County to attend the wedding of Maude's daughter Carol. It aired as the finale of the second season on March 11, 1972, titled "Maude." The episode was essentially designed to set up the premise for the spin-off series that would air later in the year. In the episode, Bill Macy played Maude's husband, Walter; it was a role he would reprise for the weekly series that fall. Marcia Rodd, the actress who played Carol in the episode, would be replaced by Adrienne Barbeau in Maude. The show lasted for six seasons and 141 episodes, airing its final episode on April 22, 1978.
Good Times was spun-off from Maude, focusing on Maude's former maid Florida Evans raising her family in a ghetto on the South Side of Chicago. It ran for six seasons from February 8, 1974 to August 1, 1979.
The second and longest-lasting spin-off of All in the Family was The Jeffersons. Debuting on CBS on January 18, 1975 The Jeffersons lasted 11 seasons and 253 episodes compared to All in the Family's 9 seasons and 208 episodes. The main characters of The Jeffersons were the Bunkers' former next-door neighbors George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley) and his wife, Louise "Weezie" Jefferson (Isabel Sanford). George Jefferson was the owner of a chain of seven successful dry-cleaning stores; as The Jeffersons begins, they have just moved from the Bunkers' neighborhood to a luxury high-rise apartment building in Manhattan's Upper East Side. George was considered to be the "black Archie Bunker," and just as racist as Archie.
Checking In was spun-off from The Jeffersons, focusing on the Jeffersons' maid Florence Johnston working as executive housekeeper at the St. Fredereick hospital in Manhattan. It only lasted four weeks from April 9 to April 30, 1981 and Florence returned to her old job as the Jeffersons' maid.
Gloria was the third spin-off of All in the Family, focusing on Archie's divorced daughter Gloria starting a new life as an assistant trainee to a couple of veterinarians in Foxridge, New York. It premiered September 26, 1982 and ran for one season.
704 Hauser features the Bunkers' house with a new family, the key twist being that the Archie Bunker analog in this series is black. Joey Stivic, Gloria and Mike's son, now in his 20s, makes a brief appearance in the first episode.
At the height of the show's popularity, Henry Fonda hosted a special one-hour retrospective of All in the Family and its impact on American television. Included were clips from the show's most memorable episodes up to that time. It was titled The Best of "All in the Family", and aired on December 21, 1974.
A 90-minute retrospective, All in the Family 20th Anniversary Special, was produced to commemorate the show's 20th anniversary and aired on CBS February 16, 1991. It was hosted by Norman Lear, and featured a compilation of clips from the show's best moments, and interviews with the four main cast members.
The special was so well received by the viewing audience (ratings: 14.7 household rating from 8-9:30pm while Empty Nest garnered a 17.3) that CBS decided to air reruns of All in the Family during their summer schedule that year. During its summer run, the 20-year-old program was popular.
The creators of the long-running ongoing adultanimated seriesAmerican Dad! have likened the early seasons of their series to All in the Family. In its early going, American Dad was almost a farcical animated version of All in the Family, utilizing elements of bigotry, conservatism, patriotism, etc. In both series, conservatism is expressed ludicrously by a paternal main character (Stan Smith likened to Archie) while liberalism is expressed sensibly by a daughter character and her husband (Hayley Smith and Jeff Fischer likened to Gloria and Mike). Also in both series, the daughter has a liberal, hippie husband of whom the paternal main character is averse to but must put up with under his roof (Jeff likened to Mike; Stan likened to Archie).
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (formerly Columbia Tri-Star Home Entertainment) released the first six seasons of All in the Family on DVD in Region 1 between 2002-2007. No further seasons were released, because the sales figures did not match Sony's expectations.
On June 23, 2010, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the rights to the series, and have since released the remaining three seasons.
On October 30, 2012, Shout! Factory released All in the Family - The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. The 28-disc box set features all 208 episodes of the series as well as bonus features.
As one of US television's most acclaimed and groundbreaking programs, All in the Family has been referenced or parodied in countless other forms of media. References on other sitcoms include That '70s Show, The Brady Bunch, and The Simpsons. The animated series Family Guy pays homage to All in the Family in the opening sequence which features Peter and Lois Griffin playing the piano and singing a lament on the loss of traditional values.
Popular T-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers showing O'Connor's image and farcically promoting "Archie Bunker for President" appeared around the time of the 1972 presidential election. In 1998, All in the Family was honored on a 33-cent stamp by the USPS.
Archie and Edith Bunker's chairs are on display in the SmithsonianNational Museum of American History. Originally purchased by the show's set designer for a few dollars at a local Goodwillthrift store, the originals were given to the Smithsonian (for an exhibit on American television history) in 1978. It cost producers thousands of dollars to create replicas to replace the originals.
Also, then-US President Richard Nixon can be heard discussing the show (specifically the 1971 episodes "Writing the President" and "Judging Books by Covers") on one of the infamous Watergate tapes.
Rapper Redman has made references to Archie Bunker in a few of his songs, specifically his smoking of large cigars.
^Brooks, Tim (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. pp. 1707–1709. ISBN978-0-345-49773-4.|accessdate= requires |url= (help)