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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
All in the Family
Season Seven: 1976-77



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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1976-77: THE SEVENTH SEASON

Year-End Rating: 22.9 (12th place)

The fury of the early years has largely evaporated by the seventh season as the writers exploit the rich personalities of the central cast in well-crafted character comedies that take full advantage of the show's rock-solid ensemble.

Mort Lachman joins the staff as executive producer for the show's last three seasons, and Milt Josefsberg takes over as producer. The pair also serve as script supervisors. Larry Rhine and Mel Tolkin are executive story editors, and Douglas Arango and Phil Doran are the seventh-year story editors.


134 Archie's Brief Encounter (Part 1--one hour)    First Aired: September 22, 1976
Writers: Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Janis Paige, Scott Brady, Theodore Wilson, André Pavon

Edith leaves Archie when she finds out that he dated a flirtatious waitress while she was volunteering at the Sunshine Home.


135 Archie's Brief Encounter (Part 2)    First Aired: September 29, 1976
Writers: Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Scott Brady, Maxine Elliot, Bella Chronis, Harry Davis

Edith forgives Archie's indiscretion after Mike and Gloria bring the two together for an emotional reunion.

The events of this classic two-parter would color the Bunkers' relationship for some time to come. The subject would arise only on rare occasions--but in the aftermath of Archie's mistake, the couple shared a renewed tenderness that would carry them through the final three seasons.


136 The Unemployment Story (Part 1)    First Aired: October 6, 1976
Writers: Ben Starr, Chuck Stewart
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Jinaki, F. Murray Abraham

Archie's self-esteem takes a beating when he loses his job on the loading dock.


137 The Unemployment Story (Part 2)    First Aired: October 13, 1976
Writers: Chuck Stewart, Ben Starr
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Gerald Hiken, Neva Patterson, Eliza Garrett, Jeannie Linero, Ellen Travolta

A college grad threatens to commit suicide after he loses a janitor's job to Archie.


138 Archie's Operation (Part 1)    First Aired: October 20, 1976
Writers: Milt Josefsberg, Mort Lachman
Story: Calvin Kelly, Jim Tisdale
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Vinnette Carroll, Liz Torres, Milton Selzer

Archie's trip to the hospital is an ethnic nightmare: He's admitted by a Puerto Rican receptionist, treated by a Jewish physician, and is forced to accept a blood transfusion from a black doctor!

Liz Torres makes her first appearance as Teresa Betancourt, who would shortly become the Bunkers' boarder.


139 Archie's Operation (Part 2)    First Aired: October 27, 1976
Writers: Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine
Director: Paul Bogart    First Aired:
Guest Stars: Vinnette Carroll, Frances Fong, Danny Dayton

Archie recuperates in record time after he's called back to work--with a raise and a promotion.

Danny Dayton appears as Hank Pivnik, one of Archie's pals who would frequent Kelcy's Bar and, later, Archie's Place.


140 Beverly Rides Again    First Aired: November 6, 1976
Writers: Phil Doran, Douglas Arango
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Lori Shannon, Eugene Roche, Phoebe Dorin, André Pavon

As a practical joke, Archie fixes up one of his drinking buddies with female impersonator Beverly LaSalle.

Lori Shannon returns for another round of tired theatrics as the showgirl Archie once saved with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.


141 Teresa Moves In    First Aired: November 13, 1976
Writer: Michael Loman
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Liz Torres, Alex Colon

The Bunkers take in a boarder to help revive their battered budget.


142 Mike and Gloria's Will    First Aired: November 20, 1976
Writers: Bill Richmond, Gene Perret
Director: Paul Bogart

The Bunkers are stunned to hear that Mike and Gloria plan to appoint another couple as Joey's legal guardians in their will.


143 Mr. Edith Bunker    First Aired: November 27, 1976
Writers: Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Priscilla Morrill, Phil Leeds, Florence Halop, James Greene, Maxine Elliot, Bella Chronis, Bob Duggan

Edith saves a man's life and becomes the toast of the town, but Archie isn't happy standing in the shadow of her limelight.


144 Archie's Secret Passion    First Aired: December 4, 1976
Writer: Michael Loman
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Estelle Parsons, Mike Kellin

Edith discovers that Archie once had a brief encounter with an old high school friend she's invited to dinner.

Estelle Parsons would be typecast as the show's lady of dubious virtue. After playing the woman with a checkered past in this episode, she returned in the ninth season as Barney Hefner's comically wayward wife.


145 The Baby Contest    First Aired: December 11, 1976
Writers: Larry Rhine, Mel Tolkin
Story: Marion Zola, Ed Haas
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Allan Melvin, Danny Dayton, Jason Wingreen

Archie enters Joey in a newspaper's beautiful-baby contest, against the express wishes of Mike and Gloria.

The series had become much less topical in later years, and many stories--like this one--revolved around the classic domestic situation of two married couples who are best friends and next-door neighbors. The show's occasional resemblance to I Love Lucy--albeit with the roles reversed and the focus now on the older couple--wasn't entirely coincidental. Many of All in the Family's current writers had formerly scripted the redhead's video misadventures. Lou Derman and Bill Davenport even wrote for Lucy's earliest radio sitcom, My Favorite Husband, before joining Milt Josefsberg many years later on Here's Lucy. And Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf, who joined All in the Family in the eighth season, were two-fifths of the writing team on the original I Love Lucy.


146 Gloria's False Alarm    First Aired: December 18, 1976
Writers: Phil Doran, Douglas Arango
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Star: Michael Mann

Gloria insists that Mike get the vasectomy he's talked about for years.


147 The Draft Dodger    First Aired: December 25, 1976
Writers: Jay Moriarty, Mike Milligan
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Eugene Roche, Renny Temple, Liz Torres

Sparks fly when Mike invites a former draft resister to the Bunkers' Christmas dinner, where the guest of honor is the father of a vet who was killed in Vietnam.

The war returns as a topic of controversy in an unexpected homage to the kitchen-table fireworks of the earliest episodes, now invested with the deeper emotional coloration typical of the show's later period. Instead of contributing to the predictable battle of clashing viewpoints, the bereaved father surprises everyone with an impassioned plea for amnesty.

Try as he might, even Archie can't remain unmoved. He agrees to mull the issue over in his mind and then, in frustration, retreats to the front porch to berate a festive chorus of carolers. But the singing continues, and in the final shot of this classic episode, Archie stands alone, a bewildered Scrooge, unable to snuff out the last candle of hope.


148 The Boarder Patrol    First Aired: January 8, 1977
Writers: Larry Rhine, Mel Tolkin
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Patrick Cronin, William Lanteau, Juan De Carlos

The Bunkers return home unexpectedly to find Teresa in bed with her boyfriend.

Much as the producers tried to establish Teresa as the Bunkers' surrogate daughter, the chemistry just wasn't there--and the boarder quietly moved out at the close of the season.


149 Archie's Chair    First Aired: January 15, 1977
Writers: Phil Doran, Douglas Arango
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Michael Pataki, Allan Rich, Doug Robinson, Colin Hamilton, Tyler McVey

Archie's beloved easy chair ends up in an art museum after the repair shop accidentally sells it to a modern artist.

Archie's chair actually did end up in a museum: no less than the Smithsonian Institution. At the request of a Congressional committee, Norman Lear donated the Bunkers' living-room ensemble to the Smithsonian's permanent collection at the close of the eighth season.


150 Mike Goes Skiing    First Aired: January 22, 1977
Writers: Ben Starr, Chuck Stewart
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: John Karlen, Rod Loomis, Tom Fitzsimmons, Mark Lonow

Mike asserts his independence by leaving Gloria behind while he joins his friends on a weekend skiing trip.


151 Stretch Cunningham, Good-Bye    First Aired: January 29, 1977
Writers: Phil Doran, Douglas Arango, Milt Josefsberg
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Charles Siebert, Jay Gerber

Archie reluctantly agrees to deliver Stretch Cunningham's eulogy, unaware that his departed friend was Jewish.


152 The Joys of Sex    First Aired: February 5, 1977
Writer: Erik Tarloff
Director: Paul Bogart

Edith sneaks a peek at a best-selling sex manual and decides that her romantic life could stand a little perking up.

Archie's squirming--and Edith's squeamishness--aside, All in the Family was the first TV series to openly acknowledge a healthy sexual relationship shared by a middle-aged couple. As incredible as it seems, before the Bunkers, television's married couples--young or old--always slept in twin beds.


153 Mike the Pacifist    First Aired: February 12, 1977
Writers: Phil Doran, Douglas Arango
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Wynn Irwin, Nita Talbot, Sudie Bond, Richard Lawson, William Lanteau, William Pierson

Mike feels guilty for punching a man on the subway, even though he acted in defense of Gloria.


154 Fire    First Aired: February 19, 1977
Writers: Michael Loman, Larry Rhine, Mel Tolkin
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Star: Roger C. Carmel

Archie tries to collect on a fraudulent insurance claim after a small fire breaks out in the upstairs bathroom.


155 Mike and Gloria Split    First Aired: February 26, 1977
Writers: Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine
Story: Mort Lachman, Milt Josefsberg
Director: Paul Bogart

Mike spends a night with Archie after a fight with Gloria.


156 Archie the Liberal    First Aired: March 5, 1977
Writers: Ben Starr, Chuck Stewart
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Star: James McEachin

When his lodge comes under fire for discrimination, Archie tries to knock off two quotas at once by courting a black Jew for membership.


157 Archie's Dog Day Afternoon    First Aired: March 12, 1977
Writers: Chuck Stewart, Ben Starr
Story: Mort Lachman, Milt Josefsberg
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Bill Hunt, Vanda Barra, Tracy Bogart

Archie accidentally runs over Barney Hefner's dog.

 

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