I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
All in the Family
The Pilot Episodes: 1968-69
Season One: 1970-71
1968-69: The Pilot Episodes
Pilot 1 Justice For All
Archie and Edith Justice celebrate their twenty-second
anniversary at an impromptu party thrown by their daughter, Gloria,
and her husband, Richard.
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
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
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.
A surprise anniversary party is the setting for the latest
high-decibel debate between Archie Bunker and his son-in-law, Michael
"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.
Mike writes a letter to the White House protesting the
sorry state of the Union, prompting Archie to take pen in hand for his
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."
Archie refuses to donate blood because he's afraid that
his vital fluids might get mixed in with those of a different race.
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.
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.
Let's Be Strangers
Mike invites one of his hippie friends to spend the night
in the living room, despite Archie's strenuous objections.
Archie does his best to keep a black family from buying
the house next door, only to discover that the prospective buyers are
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.
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
Gloria leaves the house in a rage after Mike refuses to
recognize her as an equal partner in their marriage.
Archie reevaluates his definition of success after he
meets an old Army buddy who's become wealthy in the used-car trade.
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.