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All in the Family

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Theme song
Those Were the Days


Developed by
All in the Family wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners183949p183949

Based on
Carroll O'ConnorJean StapletonSally StruthersRob ReinerDanielle Brisebois

Theme music composer
Lee Adams, (lyrics)Charles Strouse, (music), Roger Kellaway, (ending theme)

Opening theme
"Those Were the Days"Performed by Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton

Ending theme
"Remembering You"by Roger Kellaway, (music) and Carroll O'Connor (additional lyrics added in 1971; instrumental version)


All in the Family is an American sitcom TV-series that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network for nine seasons, from January 1971 to April 1979. The following September, it was replaced by Archie Bunker's Place, which picked up where All in the Family had ended and ran for four more seasons.


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Produced by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin and starring Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, and Rob Reiner, All in the Family revolves around the life of a working-class bigot and his family. The show broke ground in its depiction of issues previously considered unsuitable for a U.S. network television comedy, such as racism, homosexuality, women's liberation, rape, religion, miscarriage, abortion, breast cancer, the Vietnam War, menopause, and impotence. Through depicting these controversial issues, the series became arguably one of television's most influential comedic programs, as it injected the sitcom format with more dramatic moments and realistic, topical conflicts.

The show is often regarded in the United States as one of the greatest television series of all time. The show ranked number one in the yearly Nielsen ratings from 1971 to 1976. It became the first television series to reach the milestone of having topped the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive years. The episode "Sammy's Visit" was ranked number 13 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time ranked All in the Family as number four. Bravo also named the show's protagonist, Archie Bunker, TV's greatest character of all time. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked All in the Family the fourth-best written TV series ever, and TV Guide ranked it as the fourth-greatest show of all time.

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All in the Family is about a typical working-class family living in Queens, New York. Its patriarch is Archie Bunker (O'Connor), an outspoken, narrow-minded white man, seemingly prejudiced against everyone who is not like him or his idea of how people should be. Archie's wife Edith (Jean Stapleton) is sweet and understanding, though somewhat naïve and uneducated; her husband sometimes disparagingly calls her "dingbat". Their one child, Gloria (Sally Struthers), is generally kind and good-natured like her mother, but displays traces of her father's stubbornness; unlike them, however, she is a feminist. Gloria is married to college student Michael Stivic (Reiner) – referred to as "Meathead" by Archie – whose values are likewise influenced and shaped by the counterculture of the 1960s. The two couples represent the real-life clash of values between the so-called Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers. For much of the series, the Stivics live in the Bunkers' home to save money, providing abundant opportunity for them to irritate each other.

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The show is set in the Astoria section of Queens, with the vast majority of scenes taking place in the Bunkers' home at 704 Hauser Street. Occasional scenes take place in other locations, especially during later seasons, such as Kelsey's Bar, a neighborhood tavern where Archie spends a good deal of time and which he eventually buys, and the Stivics' home after Mike and Gloria move to the house next door. The house seen in the opening is at 89-70 Cooper Avenue near the junction of the Glendale, Middle Village, and Rego Park sections of Queens. Supporting characters represent the demographics of the neighborhood, especially the African American Jeffersons, who live in the house next door in the early seasons.

Main characters

  • Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker: Frequently called a "lovable bigot", Archie was an assertively prejudiced blue-collar worker. A World War II veteran, Archie longs for better times when people sharing his viewpoint were in charge, as evidenced by the nostalgic theme song "Those Were the Days" (also the show's original title). Despite his bigotry, he is portrayed as loving 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. His ignorance and stubbornness seem to cause his malapropism-filled arguments to self-destruct. He often rejects uncomfortable truths by blowing a raspberry. 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. O'Connor appears in all but seven episodes of the series' run.
  • Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker, née Baines: Edith is Archie's ditzy but kind-hearted wife. Archie often tells her to "stifle" herself and calls her a "dingbat", and although Edith generally defers to her husband's authority and endures his insults, on the rare occasions when Edith takes a stand, she proves to have a simple but profound wisdom. Despite their different personalities, they love each other deeply. Stapleton developed Edith's distinctive 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 would not be expected to say later.
  • Sally Struthers as Gloria Stivic, née Bunker: The Bunkers' college-aged daughter is married to Michael Stivic. She has the generally kind nature of her mother, but the stubbornness of her father, which early in the series manifests as childishness, later as a more mature feminism. Gloria frequently attempts to mediate between her father and husband, generally siding with the latter. 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 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 and, in 1974, sued to get out of her contract. But the character became more developed, satisfying her. 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 is part of the counterculture of the 1960s. While good-hearted and well-meaning, he constantly spars with Archie, and is equally stubborn, although his moral views are generally presented as being more ethical and his logic somewhat sounder. He is the most-educated person in the household, a fact which gives him a self-assured arrogance, and despite his intellectual belief in progressive social values, he tends to expect Gloria to defer to him as her husband. As discussed in All in the Family retrospectives, Richard Dreyfuss sought the part, but Norman Lear was convinced to cast Reiner. Harrison Ford turned down the role, citing Archie Bunker's bigotry. 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 cute 9-year-old grandniece, Stephanie Mills, who is a regular throughout the 9th season: Despite being cute and having a sweet side, she is smart, clever, and does give her own few remarks at Archie from time to time. The Bunkers take her in after the child's father, Floyd Mills, abandons her on their doorstep in 1978 (he later extorts money from them to let them keep her). She remained with the show through its transition to Archie Bunker's Place, and appeared in all four seasons of the latter show.
  • Supporting characters

  • Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson, Isabel Sanford as his wife Louise, and Mike Evans as their son Lionel, Archie's black 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 George had been mentioned many times, he 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. After 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" from the show's second season. Her spin-off series, Maude, began 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. "Edith's Christmas Story" reveals that Irene has had a mastectomy. Archie got her a job as a forklift operator at the plant where he worked. Irene was a strong-willed woman of Irish heritage, and Frank was a jovial Italian househusband who loved cooking and singing. He also was a salesman, but what he sold was never said. Gardenia, who also appeared as Jim Bowman in episode eight of season one (as the man who sold his house to the Jeffersons) and as Curtis Rempley in episode seven of season three (as a swinger opposite Rue McClanahan), became a semiregular 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: Barney first appeared in 1972 as a fairly minor character. His role expanded toward the end of the series, after the departures of Reiner and Struthers. He also appeared as a regular in all four seasons of Archie Bunker's Place.
  • Recurring characters

  • 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 meets Archie when he is admitted to the hospital for surgery. She later rents Mike 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.) Torres joined All in the Family in the fall of 1976, but her character 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 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 fond of Archie because he and Stretch leer at her and because of their 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".
  • Sorrell Booke as Lyle Sanders, personnel manager at Archie Bunker's workplace, Prendergast Tool and Die Company: He had appeared on the series as Lyle Bennett, the manager of a local television station, in the episode "Archie and the Editorial" in season three.
  • Lori Shannon as Beverly La Salle, is a transvestite entertainer, who appeared in three episodes: "Archie the Hero", "Beverly Rides Again", and "Edith's Crisis of Faith", where Mike and he are attacked, and he is killed while defending him.
  • 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 few seasons. Estelle Parsons also appeared in the season-seven episode "Archie's Secret Passion" as Dolores Fencel.
  • Bill Quinn as Mr. Edgar van Ranseleer (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. His role was later expanded on Archie Bunker's Place, where he appeared in all four seasons.
  • Burt Mustin as Justin Quigley, a feisty octogenarian: Mr. Quigley first appeared in the episode: "Edith Finds an Old Man" (season four, episode three, Sept 23, 1973) where he runs away from the Sunshine Home where Edith volunteers. He temporarily moves in with the Bunkers and soon finds a geriatric sweetheart, Josephine "Jo" Nelson, played by Ruth McDevitt. He appeared in four other episodes, including "Archie's Weighty Problem".
  • Nedra Volz as Aunt Iola: Edith's aunt, she was mentioned several times in the eighth 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 did not 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 ring on a string "swing test" over Gloria's abdomen. Sybil also appeared in the episode "Edith's 50th Birthday" and spilled the beans on her surprise party because she had not been invited. Archie and she did not get along, and he referred to her as a "Big Mouth".
  • Rae Allen and Elizabeth Wilson as Cousin Amelia: Archie detested Amelia 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, 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 DeKuyper, Amelia's husband, is plumber who continued the business started by Amelia's father and uncles, and walked into a successful plumbing concern. He constantly flaunts his monetary wealth in front of Archie and looks askance at the way Archie lives. Russ was played by George S. Irving in season five.
  • Clyde Kusatsu as Reverend Chong appeared in several episodes. He refused to baptize little Joey in season six, and then remarried Archie and Edith, and Mike and Gloria in season eight, and gave counsel to Stephanie in season nine 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 seasons four through six. Gloria and Mike adopted them as their godgrandparents. Of most of the characters, Archie took a liking to Justin and Jo. She died following the end of the sixth season.
  • William Benedict as Jimmy McNabb: The Bunkers' neighbor, he was starting a petition to keep minorities out of their neighborhood. He appeared in two episodes during the first and second seasons, and was referred to many times during the first few seasons.
  • Jack Grimes as Mr. Whitehead: A member of Archie's lodge, he was the local funeral director. The death of Archie's cousin Oscar in a season-two 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 his father and him.

    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 titled 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 show and retool it specifically for Gleason, who was under contract to them, but producer Lear beat out CBS for the rights and offered the show to ABC.

    In the pilot, Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton played Archie and Edith Justice. Kelly Jean Peters played Gloria and Tim McIntire played her husband, Richard. It was taped in October 1968 in New York City. After screening the first pilot, ABC gave the producers more money to shoot a second pilot, titled Those Were the Days, which was taped in February 1969 in Hollywood. Candice Azzara played Gloria and Chip Oliver played Richard. D'Urville Martin played Lionel Jefferson in both pilots.

    After stations' and viewers' complaints caused ABC to cancel Turn-On after only one episode in February 1969, the network became uneasy about airing a show with a "foul-mouthed, bigoted lead" character, and rejected the series at about the time Richard Dreyfuss sought the role of Michael. Rival network CBS was eager to update its image and was looking to replace much of its then popular "rural" programming (Mayberry R.F.D., The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres) with more "urban", contemporary series and was interested in Lear's project. CBS bought the rights from ABC and retitled the show All in the Family. The pilot episode CBS developed had the final cast and was the series' first episode.

    Lear 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 neutral tones, keeping everything relatively devoid of color. As costume 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 multiple-camera format of shooting in front of an audience, but used tape, whereas previous multiple-camera shows like Mary Tyler Moore had used film. Due 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, '80s, and '90s. 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 was gathered for a taping of One Day at a Time, and got 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.

    Theme song

    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 together 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.) Six 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 number 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.

    Those Were The Days
    Boy, the way Glenn Miller played
    Songs that made the hit parade
    Guys like us, we had it made
    Those were the days!

    And you knew who you were then
    Girls were girls, and men were men
    Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again

    Didn't need no welfare state
    Everybody pulled his weight
    Gee, our old LaSalle ran great
    Those were the days!

    A few perceptible drifts can be observed when listening to each version chronologically: In the original version, the lyric "Those Were The Days" was sung over the tonic (root chord of the song's key) the piano strikes a dominant 7th passing 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 who you WEEERRE then" became louder, longer, and more comical, although only in the original version did the line draw a laugh from the audience; Carroll O'Connor's pronunciation of "welfare state" gained more of Archie's trademark whining enunciation, and the closing lyrics (especially "Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.") were sung with increasingly deliberate articulation, as viewers had 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. Jean Stapleton performed the theme song without glasses beginning in season 6.

    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, culminating with a still shot of a lower middle-class semidetached 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. A notable difference exists, however, between the Cooper Avenue house and the All in the Family set: the Cooper Avenue house has no porch, 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 did not happen until the end of 1971). Despite this change in the Manhattan skyline, the original 1968 footage continued to be used for the series opening until the series transitioned into Archie Bunker's Place in 1979. At that time, a new opening with current shots of the Manhattan skyline was 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 – became 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. At the end of the original version, Edith smiles at Archie and Archie smiles off at a slight distance. In the longest running version (from season 2 to season 5), Edith smiles blissfully at Archie, and Archie puts a cigar in his mouth and returns a rather cynical, sheepish look to Edith. From season 6 through the season 8, Edith smiles and rests her chin on Archie's shoulder. In the final season, Edith hugs Archie at the conclusion. 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 for the series' ninth season, Archie is seen wearing a grey sweater-jacket over his white shirt. In all versions of the opening, the song's conclusion is accompanied by applause from the studio audience.

    The opening for the animated series Family Guy begins with Peter and Lois Griffin singing at the piano, a tribute to the All in the Family opening. As with "Those Were the Days", the lyrics to the Family Guy theme song also seem to imply that things have changed for the worse since the old days ("But where are those good old fashioned values/On which we used to rely?"). The All in the Family opening is also parodied in The Simpsons ninth-season episode "Lisa's Sax", as Homer and Marge Simpson sit at a piano and perform "Those Were the Days" with altered lyrics pertaining to the episode's plot.

    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, no background or transitional music was used.

    Setting and location

    Lear and his writers set the series in the Queens neighborhood of Astoria. The location of the Bunkers' house at 704 Hauser Street is fictitious (no Hauser Street exists in Queens). The address is not presented 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 Kelsey's Bar and later Archie Bunker's Place.

    The façade of the house shown at the show opening is a home located at 89-70 Cooper Avenue, Glendale, Queens, New York, across from St. John Cemetery (40.712492°N 73.860784°W / 40.712492; -73.860784).

    Many real Queens institutions are mentioned throughout the series. Carroll O’Connor, a 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, Archie is revealed to have 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, 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.

    The writers of All in the Family continued throughout the series to have the Bunkers and 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 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. Actual residents of the Bunkers' age continued using exchange names into the early 1980s. 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 is all-number dialing now. However, she comes to the conclusion that the number is exactly the same either way.


    "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, replacing long-running soap opera The Edge of Night, which had been purchased by ABC. This lasted until September 1979, when the reruns entered off-network syndication by Viacom. The show was picked up in most television markets as such. In 1991, the show began to be syndicated by Columbia/Embassy and has been by their heirs since then.

    Since the late 1980s, All in the Family has been rerun on various cable and satellite networks including TBS (although they had the rights locally in Atlanta, as well), 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 number one in the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive TV seasons. The show remained in the top 10 for seven of its nine seasons.

    The series finale was seen by 40.2 million viewers.


    According to The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present, All in the Family has the most spin-offs for a prime-time television series, spawning five other shows, three of which were very successful and two of which are spin-offs from spin-offs.

  • The first spin-off was Maude, which debuted in September 1972. It features Edith's acerbic cousin Maude Findlay (Bea Arthur), who first appeared on All in the Family in the December 1971 episode "Cousin Maude's Visit", visiting to take care of the influenza-suffering Bunkers. In March 1972, at the end of the series' second season, the character was again featured in the episode "Maude". In this episode, a "back door pilot" for a new series, Archie and Edith visit her home in Westchester County to attend the wedding of her daughter Carol. Bill Macy played Maude's husband Walter and Marcia Rodd played Carol; Rodd was replaced by Adrienne Barbeau for the series. The show lasted for six seasons and 141 episodes, airing its final episode in April 1978.
  • Good Times is considered by some to be a spin off of Maude, as the show's focus was Florida Evans, a character first appearing on Maude during its initial seasons as the Findlays maid. But the character's history and situation were changed for the new show. According to producer Allan Manings, "It wasn't really a spin-off." The show features no reference to Maude, changes the name of Florida's husband from Henry to James, and sets the show in a Chicago housing project. It ran for six seasons from February 1974 to August 1979.
  • The second and longest-lasting spin-off of All in the Family was The Jeffersons. Debuting on CBS in January 1975, The Jeffersons lasted 11 seasons and 253 episodes (more than All in the Family's nine seasons and 208 episodes). The main characters were the Bunkers' former next-door neighbors George and Louise Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford). George was the owner of seven successful dry-cleaning stores, and the series featured their life after moving from the Bunkers' working-class neighborhood to a luxury high-rise apartment building in Manhattan's Upper East Side.
  • Checking In was spun off from The Jeffersons, focusing on the Jeffersons' maid Florence Johnston, working as an executive housekeeper at the St. Frederick Hotel in Manhattan. It only lasted four weeks in April 1981, and the character returned to her old job as the Jeffersons' maid.
  • Gloria was the third spin-off of All in the Family, focusing on now-divorced Gloria, starting a new life as an assistant trainee to a couple of veterinarians in Foxridge, New York. It premiered in September 1982, and ran for one season.
  • Archie Bunker's Place was technically a spin-off, but was essentially a renamed continuation of the series, beginning in September 1979 following the final season of the original. It was primarily set in the titular neighborhood tavern which Archie Bunker purchased in the eighth-season of All in the Family. It aired for four seasons, until April 1983.
  • 704 Hauser features the Bunkers' house with a new family. It was an inversion of the formula of the original, featuring a liberal African-American couple with a conservative son, who is dating a white Jewish woman. Gloria and Mike's son Joey Stivic, now in his twenties, makes a brief appearance in the first episode. Five episodes aired in April and May 1994.
  • Specials

    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 on 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 CBS aired reruns of All in the Family during their summer schedule in 1991, garnering higher ratings than the new series scheduled next to it, Norman Lear's sitcom Sunday Dinner. The latter was Lear's return to TV series producing after a seven-year absence, and was cancelled after the six-week tryout run.

    DVD releases

    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 and 2007. No further seasons were released, because the sales figures did not match Sony's expectations.

    On June 23, 2010, Shout! Factory announced that it had acquired the rights to the series, and has 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 boxed set features all 208 episodes of the series, as well as bonus features.

    Cultural impact

    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 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 and also paid tribute to the ending credits of the show at the end of the episode "Stewie Loves Lois".

    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 Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The originals had been purchased by the show's set designer for a few dollars at a local Goodwill thrift store, and 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.

    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.

    Awards and nominations

    All in the Family is the first of four sitcoms in which all the lead actors (O'Connor, Stapleton, Struthers, and Reiner) won Primetime Emmy Awards. The other three are The Golden Girls, The Simpsons, and Will & Grace.

    Primetime Emmy awards and nominations

  • Outstanding New Series (Won)
  • Outstanding Series - Comedy (Won)
  • Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series: Carroll O'Connor (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series: Jean Stapleton (Won)
  • Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy: John Rich for "Gloria's Pregnant" (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy:
  • Norman Lear for "Meet the Bunkers" (Nominated)
  • Stanley Ralph Ross for "Oh, My Aching Back" (Nominated)
  • 1972
  • Outstanding Series - Comedy (Won)
  • Outstanding Single Program - Drama or Comedy for "Sammy's Visit" (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Live or Tape Sound Mixing: Norman Dewes for "The Elevator Story" (Won)
  • Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series: Carroll O'Connor (Won)
  • Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series: Jean Stapleton (Won)
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy Series: Rob Reiner (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy Series: Sally Struthers (Won)
  • Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy: John Rich for "Sammy's Visit" (Won)
  • Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy:
  • Burt Styler for "Edith's Problem" (Won)
  • Alan J. Levitt and Philip Mishkin for "Mike's Problem" (Nominated)
  • Norman Lear and Burt Styler for "The Saga of Cousin Oscar" (Nominated)
  • 1973
  • Outstanding Comedy Series (Won)
  • Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series: Carroll O'Connor (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series: Jean Stapleton (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy Series: Rob Reiner (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy Series: Sally Struthers (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy: Bob LaHendro and John Rich for "The Bunkers and the Swingers" (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy: Lee Kalcheim & Michael Ross & Bernie West for "The Bunkers and the Swingers" (Won)
  • 1974
  • Outstanding Comedy Series (Nominated)
  • Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Carroll O'Connor (Nominated)
  • Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Jean Stapleton (Nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Rob Reiner (Won)
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Sally Struthers (Nominated)
  • 1975
  • Outstanding Comedy Series (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Carroll O'Connor (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Jean Stapleton (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Rob Reiner (Nominated)
  • 1976
  • Outstanding Comedy Series (Nominated)
  • 1977
  • Outstanding Comedy Series (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Carroll O'Connor (Won)
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Jean Stapleton (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: Paul Bogart for "The Draft Dodger" (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Art Direction or Scenic Design for a Comedy Series: Don Roberts for "The Unemployment Story" (Nominated)
  • 1978
  • Outstanding Comedy Series (Won)
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Carroll O'Connor (Won)
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Jean Stapleton (Won)
  • Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Rob Reiner (Won)
  • Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Sally Struthers (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: Paul Bogart for "Edith's 50th Birthday" (Won)
  • Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series:
  • Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf for "Edith's 50th Birthday" (Nominated)
  • Larry Rhine & Erik Tarloff & Mel Tolkin for "Edith's Crisis of Faith" (Nominated)
  • Harve Brosten & Barry Harman & Bob Schiller & Bob Weiskopf for "Cousin Liz" (Won)
  • 1979
  • Outstanding Comedy Series (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Carroll O'Connor (Won)
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Jean Stapleton (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy, Comedy-Variety, or Music Series: Sally Struthers (Won)
  • Outstanding Directing for a Comedy, Comedy-Variety, or Music Series: Paul Bogart for "California, Here We Are" (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Writing for a Comedy, Comedy-Variety, or Music Series: Milt Josefsberg & Bob Schiller & Phil Sharp & Bob Weiskopf for "California, Here We Are" (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Video Tape Editing for a Series: Harvey W. Berger and Hal Collins for "The 200th Episode Celebration of 'All in the Family'" (Nominated)
  • Golden Globe Awards and Nominations

  • Best TV Show - Musical/Comedy (Won)
  • Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy: Carroll O'Connor (Won)
  • Best TV Actress - Musical/Comedy: Jean Stapleton (Nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actor - Television: Rob Reiner (Nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Television: Sally Struthers (Nominated)
  • 1973
  • Best TV Show - Musical/Comedy (Won)
  • Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy: Carroll O'Connor (Nominated)
  • Best TV Actress - Musical/Comedy: Jean Stapleton (Won)
  • Best Supporting Actor - Television: Rob Reiner (Nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Television: Sally Struthers (Nominated)
  • 1974
  • Best TV Show - Musical/Comedy (Won)
  • Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy: Carroll O'Connor (Nominated)
  • Best TV Actress - Musical/Comedy: Jean Stapleton (Won)
  • Best Supporting Actor - Television: Rob Reiner (Nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Television: Sally Struthers (Nominated)
  • 1975
  • Best TV Show - Musical/Comedy (Nominated)
  • Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy: Carroll O'Connor (Nominated)
  • Best TV Actress - Musical/Comedy: Jean Stapleton (Nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Television: Betty Garrett (Won)
  • 1976
  • Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy: Carroll O'Connor (Nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actor - Television: Rob Reiner (Nominated)
  • 1977
  • Best Supporting Actor - Television: Rob Reiner (Nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Television: Sally Struthers (Nominated)
  • 1978
  • Best TV Series - Musical/Comedy (Won)
  • Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy: Carroll O'Connor (Nominated)
  • Best TV Actress - Musical/Comedy: Jean Stapleton (Nominated)
  • 1979
  • Best TV Series - Musical/Comedy (Nominated)
  • Best TV Actress - Musical/Comedy: Jean Stapleton (Nominated)
  • 1980
  • Best TV Actress - Musical/Comedy: Jean Stapleton (Nominated)
  • TCA Heritage Award

    In 2013, the Television Critics Association honored All in the Family with its Heritage Award for its cultural and social impact on society.


    All in the Family Wikipedia

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