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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
All in the Family
The Pilot Episodes: 1968-69
Season One: 1970-71



THE PILOT EPISODES: 1968-69
SEASON ONE: 1970-71

SEASON TWO: 1971-72
SEASON THREE: 1972-73
SEASON FOUR: 1973-74
SEASON FIVE: 1974-75
SEASON SIX: 1975-76
SEASON SEVEN: 1976-77
SEASON EIGHT: 1977-78
SEASON NINE: 1978-79
CREDITS
EMMY AWARDS

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1968-69: The Pilot Episodes

Pilot 1 Justice For All
Writer: Norman Lear
Director: Norman Lear, Gordon Rigsby
Guest Stars: Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Tim McIntire, Kelly Jean Peters, D'Urville Martin

Archie and Edith Justice celebrate their twenty-second anniversary at an impromptu party thrown by their daughter, Gloria, and her husband, Richard.


Pilot 2 Those Were the Days
Writer: Norman Lear
Directors: Bud Yorkin, Norman Lear
Guest Stars: Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Chip Oliver, Candy Azzara, D'Urville Martin

Generations clash in the Justice household when Richard and Gloria throw a surprise party for Archie and Edith.

Both ABC pilots were drawn from the exact same script that was eventually used, with minor revisions, for the show's broadcast premiere on CBS in 1971. The key differences were in casting--Kelly Jean Peters and Candy Azzara played Gloria before Sally Struthers finally landed the role, and Tim McIntire and Chip Oliver played Archie's son-in-law, then named Richard. Interestingly, no reference was made to the son-in-law's ethnic heritage until Rob Reiner adopted the role in the third and final version for CBS, when he was renamed Michael Stivic, and his Polish background was introduced as a further source of friction for the beleaguered family.

The original pilot, produced by Howard Adelman, was taped on September 29, 1968 at the Dick Cavett Theater in New York City. The second pilot was shot a few months later, on February 16, 1969, at ABC's Hollywood studios, where it was produced by Edward Stephenson. The theme song, performed by Stapleton and O'Connor in both pilots, was written by Broadway composers Lee Adams and Charles Strouse, who decided on the spare arrangement after Lear informed them that he had only $800 left in his budget to record the title song.


1970-71: THE FIRST SEASON

Year-End Rating: 18.9 (34th place)

America meets its newest--and noisiest--neighbors, the Bunkers of Queens, New York, in thirteen trailblazing comic dramas that provide a Tuesday-night forum for the outspoken Archie Bunker. Producer Norman Lear presides over the raucous proceedings as head writer, aided and abetted in the first year by story editor Don Nicholl and writers Bryan Joseph and Jerry Mayer, among others.

Director John Rich is the dominant force behind the cameras for the first four seasons, and Jane Thompson is the associate producer for the initial thirteen shows.


1 Meet the Bunkers    First Aired: January 12, 1971
Writer: Norman Lear
Director: John Rich

A surprise anniversary party is the setting for the latest high-decibel debate between Archie Bunker and his son-in-law, Michael Stivic.

"I used the excuse of the Bunkers' wedding anniversary to go potshotting around--just to establish the people and the mood," Norman Lear told TV Guide, grossly understating the effect of a show that slew an entire herd of television's most sacred cows in its very first half hour. The language and controversy got all the press, but it was the less controversial--though no less radical--novelty of seeing a recognizably real family on television that brought the audience back week after week.


2 Writing the President    First Aired: January 19, 1971
Writers: Paul Harrison, Lennie Weinrib, Norman Lear
Story: Les Erwin, Fred Freiberger
Director: John Rich
Guest Star: Helen Page Camp

Mike writes a letter to the White House protesting the sorry state of the Union, prompting Archie to take pen in hand for his own rebuttal.


3 Archie's Aching Back    First Aired: January 26, 1971
Writer: Stanley Ralph Ross
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: George Furth, Salem Ludwig, Richard Stahl

Archie is convinced he'll collect a larger settlement from a petty traffic accident if a Jewish lawyer handles the case.

The stylistic minimalism of the Bunker's sparsely furnished set is on full display in this early episode. According to director John Rich, who grew up not far from Archie's neighborhood, the Spartan look of the Bunker's living room decor was achieved as a result of painstaking efforts. The director remembers personally supervising the cracking of windows and repainting of walls to give the place a run-down, lived-in look. "I told the set designers to take all the color out of it," remembers Rich. "Norman and I wanted to do the show in black and white, but CBS nearly went into a coma. So we decided to do the next best thing and shoot the entire show in muted sepia tones."


4 Archie Gives Blood    First Aired: February 2, 1971
Writer: Norman Lear
Director: John Rich
Guest Star: Jeannie Linero

Archie refuses to donate blood because he's afraid that his vital fluids might get mixed in with those of a different race.


5 Judging Books by Covers    First Aired: February 9, 1971
Writers: Burt Styler, Norman Lear
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Philip Carey, Tony Geary, Billy Halop, Linn Patrick

Archie scorns one of Mike's effeminate friends, unaware that one of his own beer-drinking buddies is a well-adjusted gay man.

Guest star Tony Geary became well known to daytime TV viewers as Luke Spencer on General Hospital.


6 Gloria Is Pregnant    First Aired: February 16, 1971
Writer: Jerry Mayer
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Holly Near, Jon Silo

Archie's dream of becoming a grandfather is dashed when Gloria suffers a sudden miscarriage.

This landmark episode established Norman Lear's willingness to go beyond the boundaries of situation comedy in subject matter as well as language. And as he soon discovered, controversy attracted viewers. Before long, millions were tuning in each week just to see what taboo might bite the dust next.


7 Now That You Know the Way,    First Aired: February 23, 1971

Let's Be Strangers
Writers: Philip Mishkin, Rob Reiner, Don Nicholl, Bryan Joseph
Story: Philip Mishkin, Rob Reiner
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Jack Bender, Corey Fischer, Jenny Sullivan

Mike invites one of his hippie friends to spend the night in the living room, despite Archie's strenuous objections.


8 Lionel Moves Into the Neighborhood    First Aired: March 2, 1971
Writers: Don Nicholl, Bryan Joseph
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Vincent Gardenia, Isabel Sanford

Archie does his best to keep a black family from buying the house next door, only to discover that the prospective buyers are Lionel's parents.
Louise Jefferson makes her first appearance, though husband George will remain an offscreen character for another two seasons. Their son, Lionel, had been a regular visitor to the Bunkers since the pilot episode, when the writers discovered how effective the street-smart black youth was at gently letting the air out of Archie's sails.


9 Edith Has Jury Duty    First Aired: March 9, 1971
Writers: Susan Harris, Don Nicholl, Bryan Joseph
Story: Susan Harris
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Holly Irving, Doris Singleton

Edith abandons the kitchen for the courtroom when she is chosen for jury duty, leaving Archie to fend for himself.

Susan Harris marks her writing debut by spotlighting Edith Bunker's innate intelligence and unflagging humanity in a script that casts the housewife as a juror with the integrity of Henry Fonda in Twelve Angry Men. Harris's knack for scripting interesting and intelligent roles for women flourished when she masterminded Soap for ABC in 1977 and NBC's The Golden Girls in 1985.


10 Archie Is Worried About His Job    First Aired: March 16, 1971
Writers: Norman Lear, Don Nicholl, Bryan Joseph
Story: William Bickley, Jr.
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Holly Irving, Burt Mustin, Jack Perkins, Sandy Kenyon

No one in the family gets any sleep when Archie spends the night worrying that he might lose his job.

Holly Irving has a cameo as Clara Weidermeyer, the empty-headed next-door neighbor who stumbled into the Bunkers' living room to provide comic relief exactly two times before she was forever banished to sitcom limbo.


11 Gloria Discovers Women's Lib    First Aired: March 23, 1971
Writers: Norman Lear, Sandy Stern
Director: John Rich

Gloria leaves the house in a rage after Mike refuses to recognize her as an equal partner in their marriage.


12 Success Story    First Aired: March 30, 1971
Writer: Burt Styler
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Len Lesser, Herbie Faye, George Savalas, Frank Ford, William Windom

Archie reevaluates his definition of success after he meets an old Army buddy who's become wealthy in the used-car trade.


13 The First and Last Supper    First Aired: April 6, 1971
Writer: Jerry Mayer
Director: John Rich
Guest Stars: Mel Stewart, Billy Benedict

The Jeffersons arrive for dinner at the Bunkers'--minus husband George, who refuses to socialize with his white neighbors.

Mel Stewart would play George's brother, Henry, until Sherman Hemsley finally graced the Bunkers' living room with his presence in the fourth season.

 

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