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All in the Family

All In The Family Opening
All In The Family opening

Starring

Carroll O'Connor
Jean Stapleton
Rob Reiner
Sally Struthers
Danielle Brisebois

Production Company

Tandem Productions

Distributor

Viacom Enterprises (1976-1991)
Columbia Pictures Television (1991-1996)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996-2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002-present)

Country

United States

Network

CBS-TV

First Original episode aired

January 12, 1971

Last Original episode aired

April 8, 1979 (206 episodes)

Wikia Website/URL

http://all-in-the-family-tv-show.wikia.com/

All in the Family was the popular CBS-TV sitcom series, from which 704 Hauser was spun off from. 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, would pick up where All in the Family had ended. That sitcom lasted another four years, ending its run in 1983. 704 Hauser was attempt to pick up from where Archie Bunker's Place had left off, with The Cumberbatches having purchased the old Bunker House from Archie, who is never seen but referred to in the series' pilot episode.

Produced by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, All in the Family revolved around the life of a working class bigot and his family. It is based on the British television comedy series Till Death Us Do Part.[1] Despite being considerably softer in its approach than its BBC predecessor, the show broke ground in its depiction of issues previously considered unsuitable for U.S. network television comedy, such as racism, homosexuality, women's liberation, rape, 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 real-life conflicts.[2]

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, a mark later matched by The Cosby Show and surpassed by FOX-TV's American Idol, which notched eight consecutive seasons at #1. The episode "Sammy's Visit" was ranked #13 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[3] TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time ranked All in the Family as #4. Bravo also named the show's protagonist, Archie Bunker, TV's greatest character of all time.[4]

PremiseEdit

The comedy revolves around Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), a working-class World War II veteran. 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 tend to cause his malapropism-filled arguments to self-destruct. He often responds to uncomfortable truths by blowing a raspberry. He longs for simpler 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 Bunker (Jean Stapleton), is a sweet and understanding, if somewhat naïve, woman. She 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".[5] Despite their different personalities they love each other deeply.

They have one child, Gloria (Sally Struthers), who 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 generation who fought in [World War II 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 (and later, frequently, the Stivics' home). Occasional scenes take place in other locations, most often (especially during later seasons) Kelcy's Bar, a neighborhood tavern where Archie spends a good deal of time and which he eventually buys.

RatingsEdit

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 eight of its nine seasons.

Spin-offs and TV specialsEdit

All in the Family was the launching pad of several television series, beginning with 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 12, 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.

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.

Other spin-offs of All in the Family include:

  • Archie Bunker's Plae was technically a spin-off, but was more of a continuation of the series.
  • 704 Hauser features the Bunkers' house with a new family, the key twist being the Archie Bunker analogue in this series is black. Joey Stivic, Gloria and Mike's son, now in his 20s, makes a brief appearance in the first episode.

There were also three spin-offs from spin-offs of All in the Family:

  • Good Times, which featured Maude's former maid Florida Evans and her family in a Chicago housing project.
  • Gloria, a spin-off of Archie Bunker's Place (only by virtue of being created after the continuation series began) where Gloria divorces Mike, moves back to New York, and starts a new life.
  • Checking In, a spin-off of The Jeffersons in which the Jeffersons' maid Florence gets a job as head of housekeeping at a hotel.

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 including interviews with cast members Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers. Reiner and Lear promoted the special the previous week on The Arsenio Hall Show.

The special was so well received by the viewing audience 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.[6]

DVD releasesEdit

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.[7][8][9][10]

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.[11]

DVD Name Ep #Release Date
The Complete First Season 13 March 26, 2002
The Complete Second Season 24 February 4, 2003
The Complete Third Season 24 July 20, 2004
The Complete Fourth Season 24 April 12, 2005
The Complete Fifth Season 25 January 3, 2006
The Complete Sixth Season 24 February 13, 2007
The Complete Seventh Season 25 October 5, 2010
The Complete Eighth Season 24 January 11, 2011
The Complete Ninth Season 24 May 17, 2011
The Complete Series 208 October 30, 2012

ReferencesEdit

  1. "According to an article by Michael B. Kassel on the ''"The Museum of Broadcast Communications"''". Museum.tv. 1920-06-02. http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/S/htmlS/speightjohn/speightjohn.htm. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  2. http://www.tvland.com/shows/all-in-the-family
  3. "Special Collector's Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide (June 28–July 4). 1997. 
  4. The 100 Greatest TV Characters at Bravo.comTemplate:Dead link
  5. This is an allusion to an early 20th-century comic strip, The Dingbat Family, by cartoonist George Herriman.
  6. Du Brow, Rick (1991-07-20). "Will Someone Please Fix the Emmy Awards?". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1991-07-20/entertainment/ca-2309_1_emmy-awards-show. Retrieved 2012-07-10. 
  7. "All in the Family DVD news: DVD Plans for All in the Family". TVShowsOnDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Family-DVDs-Planned/13965. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  8. "All in the Family DVD news: Announcement for All in the Family - The Complete 7th Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Family-Season-7/13974. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  9. "All in the Family DVD news: Announcement for All in the Family - The Complete 8th Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 2007-05-25. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Family-Season-8/14518. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  10. "All in the Family DVD news: Announcement for All in the Family - The Complete 9th Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Family-Season-9/15032. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  11. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Family-The-Complete-Series/17194

Further readingEdit

  • All in the Family: A Critical Appraisal, edited by Richard P. Adler, (Praeger; 1979) ISBN 0-275-90326-5
  • Archie & Edith, Mike & Gloria : the Tumultuous History of All in the Family, Donna McCrohan, (Workman Publishing; 1988) ISBN 0-89480-527-4
  • Stay Tuned: Television's Unforgettable Moments, Joe Garner, (Andrews McMeel Publishing; 2002) ISBN 0-7407-2693-5

External linksEdit

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