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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
All in the Family
Season Eight: 1977-78



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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1977-78: THE EIGHTH SEASON

Year-End Rating: 24.4 (4th place)

In what was originally conceived as the show's final season, the writers pull out all the stops to create a handful of the series's most memorable dramatic episodes--including the departure of Mike and Gloria at the season's end--many of them scripted by Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf, the veteran writing team who signed on as script consultants for the show's final two seasons.

In addition to contributions from the familiar bullpen--including story editors Mel Tolkin and Larry Rhine, and producer Milt Josefsberg--memorable scripts are written by Phil Sharp, Erik Tarloff, Chuck Stewart, and Ben Starr.


158 Archie Gets the Business (one hour)    First Aired: October 2, 1977
Writers: Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Frank Maxwell, Norma Donaldson, Sid Conrad

Archie, desperate to realize his personal dream and buy Kelcy's Bar, forges Edith's signature on mortgage papers.

Archie's graduation from wage earner to entrepreneur opened up a wealth of new story possibilities, even as it changed the essential character of the show. No longer a downtrodden member of the working class, Archie the small businessman had less reason to vent his outrage than in days past, and the show mellowed considerably in its final two seasons.


159 Cousin Liz    First Aired: October 9, 1977
Writers: Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Story: Barry Harmon, Harve Brosten
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Star: K Callan

At the funeral of Edith's cousin Liz, the Bunkers are shocked to learn that she'd been living with a lesbian roommate for years.


160 Edith's Fiftieth Birthday (one hour)    First Aired: October 16, 1977
Writers: Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: David Dukes, Jane Connell, John Brandon, Ray Colella

Edith misses her birthday party when a rapist holds her at gunpoint in her own living room.

Schiller and Weiskopf faced built-in compromises when they chose to depict such a singularly violent crime within the confines of a television comedy, especially when the victim was one of the most beloved figures on prime time. Though the creators were justifiably applauded for their efforts, the episode wasn't entirely successful; the shocking drama and unsettling suspense of the first half hour makes for an uneasy blend with the head-thumping slapstick of Mike and Archie's ill-advised comic relief in the second half hour.


161 Unequal Partners    First Aired: October 23, 1977
Writers: Chuck Stewart, Ben Starr
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Ian Wolfe, Merie Earle, Will Mackenzie

Edith ruins Archie's weekend fishing trip when she stages a wedding in the Bunkers' living room.


162 Archie's Grand Opening    First Aired: October 30, 1977
Writers: Larry Rhine, Mel Tolkin
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Sorrel Booke, Joe Petrullo, Paul Larson, Sam Solito, Grace Lee

The family steps in to serve drinks and tend bar at Archie's tavern after his staff deserts him on opening night.


163 Archie's Bitter Pill (Part 1)    First Aired: November 6, 1977
Writers: Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine, William C. Rader, M.D.
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Arny Freeman, A. Martinez

Archie takes a few pep pills to keep pace with the increased demands of running his own business and winds up with an amphetamine addiction.


164 Archie's Road Back (Part 2)    First Aired: November 13, 1977
Writers: Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine, William C. Rader, M.D.
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: A. Martinez, MacIntyre Dixon

A despondent Archie retreats to his bedroom, until Harry offers to bail him out with a partnership offer for the bar.


165 Archie and the Ku Klux Klan (Part 1)    First Aired: November 27,1977
Writers: Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf, Mort Lachman, Milt Josefsberg
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Dennis Patrick, Roger Bowen, Owen Bush

Archie is nominated for membership in a mysterious fraternal order that turns out to be the local branch of the KKK.


166 Archie and the Ku Klux Klan (Part 2)    First Aired: December 4, 1977
Writers: Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Dennis Patrick, Roger Bowen

Archie devises a plan to prevent the Klan from burning a cross on Mike and Gloria's lawn.


167 Mike and Gloria Meet    First Aired: December 11, 1977
Writers: Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Christopher Guest, Priscilla Lopez

A flashback explores Mike and Gloria's first blind date.

Rob Reiner would cast co-star Christopher Guest as one of the leads when he directed the 1984 rock 'n' roll satire This Is Spinal Tap.


168 Edith's Crisis of Faith (Part One)    First Aired: December 18, 1977
169 Edith's Crisis of Faith (Part Two)    First Aired: December 25, 1977
Writers: Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf (Part One); Erik Tarloff, Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine (Part Two)
Story: Erik Tarloff
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Lori Shannon, Ron Vernan

Edith's religious faith is shaken after her friend, female impersonator Beverly LaSalle, is brutally murdered by street thugs at Christmas.


170 Archie and the Super Bowl    First Aired: January 15, 1978
Writers: Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Art Metrano, Louis Guss, Gloria LeRoy, J.J. Johnston, Raymond O'Keefe

Archie's Place is robbed on Super Bowl Sunday, the busiest day of the year.


171 The Commercial    First Aired: January 8, 1978
Writers: Ben Starr, Ron Bloomberg
Story: Ron Bloomberg
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Alan Hamel, Frank Aletter, Darryl Hickman, Thomas Middelton

Edith has a chance to appear in a TV commercial but finds herself unable to lie when she begins to doubt the quality of the sponsor's detergent.


172 Aunt Iola's Visit    First Aired: January 22, 1978
Writer: Albert E. Lewin
Story: Michael Loman
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Star: Nedra Volz

Archie refuses to let Edith's elderly aunt move into their spare bedroom, even after she's been turned away by every other relative.


173 Love Comes to the Butcher    First Aired: February 5, 1978
Writer: Phil Sharp
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Theodore Bikel, Sarina C. Grant

Archie is jealous when a lonely butcher lavishes attention on Edith.


174 Two's a Crowd    First Aired: February 12, 1978
Writer: Phil Sharp
Director: Paul Bogart

Mike and Archie have a long talk when they find themselves locked in the storeroom of Archie's Place.

Carroll O'Connor and Rob Reiner are splendid in this compelling exploration of their frequently tempestuous relationship. Locked in the quiet solitude of a cold cellar, each reveals a part of himself that's always been well guarded. And in the shadows of the dark basement, they begin to see each other in a new light. In Archie's touching monologue, he recalls the reverent devotion he always felt toward his father, and then dozes off in sorrow at the painful realization that he never earned the same respect from his own daughter. Michael doesn't say a word, but quietly reaches over to cover him in the warmth of the cellar's lone blanket. The sleeping King Lear never stirs when he finally earns a small gesture of fatherly respect--bestowed not by a daughter--but a son.


175 Stale Mates    First Aired: February 19, 1978
Writers: Larry Rhine, Mel Tolkin
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Stars: Judy Kahan, Terry Kiser

Mike and Gloria are convinced that the romance has gone out of their marriage when even a weekend in the Poconos fails to reignite the spark.


176 Archie's Brother    First Aired: February 26, 1978
Writers: Larry Rhine, Mel Tolkin
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Star: Richard Mackenzie

Archie's estranged brother returns, after twenty-nine years, to smooth things over before he enters the hospital for a serious operation.


177 Mike's New Job    First Aired: March 5, 1978
Writers: Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Star: Sherman Hemsley

The Stivics prepare to move to California when Mike is offered a teaching position in Santa Barbara.


178 The Dinner Guest    First Aired: March 12, 1978
Writers: Mel Tolkin, Larry Rhine
Director: Paul Bogart

Edith is crushed when Mike and Gloria make other plans after she's prepared a special farewell dinner in their honor.


179 The Stivics Go West    First Aired: March 19, 1978
Writers: Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director: Paul Bogart
Guest Star: Clyde Kusatsu

The Bunker house is the scene of many tearful good-byes when Mike and Gloria finally leave for California.

When the cast concluded taping this classic episode, there was hardly a dry eye in the house, onstage or off. The sentimental ceremonies that attended the season's final show were originally planned as a wrap party for the entire series. When Reiner and Struthers first announced their intention to leave at the end of the season, Norman Lear couldn't conceive of carrying on without them. "I'm confident you are watching the last full season of All in the Family," he told reporters in January, as he announced his own plans to leave television and return to the greener pastures of feature-film production.

Carroll O'Connor was equally adamant about his own retirement. "Television's like a good neighborhood gone bad," he told columnist Marilyn Beck, "and I'd like to get out." But that was before CBS stepped in with an eleventh-hour offer to keep the ratings powerhouse going at least one more year.

"I don't see why we should deprive the American public of one their favorite shows," was CBS president Bob Daly's public rationale for luring Carroll O'Connor back to the fold with a salary that exceeded $100,000 per episode--in addition to a lucrative production deal with the network. The actor helped convince Jean Stapleton to return, and to everyone's surprise, All in the Family entered a ninth and final season--without Mike, without Gloria, and without Norman Lear.

 

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