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Trivia / All in the Family

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  • Dye Hard: Rob Reiner actually wore a wig for most of his run as Mike due to his baldness advancing quickly.
  • Fake Nationality: Downplayed; Carrol O’Connor, an Irish American, is partying Archie Bunker, of Anglo-Saxon/English heritage.
  • I Am Not Spock:
    • Try to imagine Jean Stapleton as anybody other than Edith Bunker. Just try it. (She could have avoided this fate if she had accepted the lead role on Murder, She Wrote - she was the producers' first choice - but she bizarrely declined and forced them to go with Angela Lansbury instead).
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    • Oddly enough, the only one out of the core foursome to fully escape this was Sally Struthers, who put on quite a bit of weight, and then became widely known and ridiculed for those commercials shilling correspondence diplomas (you know the ones) and later, narm-laden appeals for children-oriented charities.
    • Even Rob Reiner, who became a successful director, has often said that if he were to win the Nobel Prize, all the headlines would read "MEATHEAD WINS NOBEL PRIZE". It was a double trumping as he was first known mostly as Carl Reiner's son.
    • Somewhat averted with Carroll O'Connor, thanks to the TV version of In the Heat of the Night. That said, Gillespie is essentially a more intelligent Archie with a different accent - his basic character arc (bigot who gradually becomes more accepting of others) is identical to Archie's.
  • Missing Episode: Several, though none were "episodes" in the traditional sense of the word.
    • Both the first and second pilot never aired, as the roles were re-cast and the sets rebuilt. All three pilots, including the aired "Meet the Bunkers", use largely the same script.
    • In 1975, in response to the FCC instituting the Family Viewing Hour (similar to the Watershed in most other countries), the cast performed a sketch showing what All in the Family would be like (as the show aired at 8:00 - it was moved to 9:00 in the following season specifically to avoid having to lighten its tone or content). The sketch is notable as the first example of the many "All in the Family could never work today" parody sketches that have been made over the years - but as performed by the actual cast. This was followed by a reworking of the iconic theme tune called "These Are The Days". This sketch was never aired, though it was performed before the live studio audience (presumably as a warmup for a taping of a real episode).
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  • Post-Script Season: The show wrapped up its eighth season with Mike, Gloria, and Joey moving to California. Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers had announced they were leaving the show, and producer Norman Lear couldn't imagine continuing it without them, so having the Stivics say goodbye to Archie and Edith was conceived as a perfect Tear Jerker ending to the show... until CBS executives offered Carroll O'Connor $100,000 an episode to come back as Archie, and he agreed. Not only did the show continue for a ninth season (without Reiner, Struthers, or Lear), it got an After Show in Archie Bunker's Place.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: By all reports, what sealed the casting of Sally Struthers for the role of Gloria (over stronger, more assertive actresses like Penny Marshall) was her resemblance to Carroll O'Connor.
  • Society Marches On: The show was the first in television history to feature the sound of a flushing toilet (aka "a terlet", according to Archie.)
  • Technology Marches On: While it would certainly still be sad, the Stivics' move to California would have been a lot easier on the Bunkers in today's age of free long-distance calling, text messaging, social networking, and Skype. Could also work as a bit of Fridge Sadness for young viewers when they stop and think how hard it really must have been on the Bunkers for the kids to move across the country without all of today's technology to keep them close.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: With its storylines almost always centered around the current events and culture of the time, it's a pretty insightful look into the things going on in the '70s.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The pilot episode, "Meet the Bunkers", was actually the third pilot produced (becoming the first show with three separate pilots - a few years earlier, Star Trek had been the first with two). In both pilots prior to the one that was greenlit, Michael was an Irish-American named Dickie and the Bunkers' last name was Justice. The first pilot, produced in 1968 for ABC, not CBS, was entitled "Justice for All" and was actually filmed in New York; the second pilot, filmed in Hollywood in 1969, was called "Those Were the Days". ABC turned the project down out of fear over what happened regarding the infamous sketch comedy Turn-On. "Dickie" and Gloria were recast twice; the same actor (D'Urville Martin) played Lionel in both original pilots but was replaced for the final 1970 pilot.
    • Harlan Ellison wrote that he saw the filming of the pilot for the show then called Those Were The Days and planned for ABC, and it included the famous scene where Archie explains that "God damn it" isn't really swearing.note  Ellison said the show had "rare good humor and extraordinarily good taste.", was "adult, funny and presumptuous", and "would have made a dynamite series." When Lear asked the audience for comments, Ellison asked him if, given what happened with ABC's Turn-On, Lear really thought ABC would go for it. Lear was sure they would, and of course they didn't, and Ellison wrote his Glass Teat column for that week shaking his head regretfully over Lear's "belief in Santa Claus".
    • Two famous casting tidbits: Mickey Rooney was the first choice to play Archie, and Harrison Ford was actually cast as "Dickie", but both backed out because they found the playing of Archie's bigotry for humor to be too offensive.
    • Jackie Gleason turned down the role of Archie Bunker.
    • According to the actor himself, Gavin McLeod was the last considered before the producers went with O'Connor for the role of Archie.
    • Long before she became Laverne, Penny Marshall was up for the role of Gloria. Had she gotten it, she could have worked alongside then-husband Rob Reiner.
    • Had O'Connor won the part of the Skipper it's very likely he wouldn't have been considered for Archie.
    • Jean Stapleton was originally considered for the role of Mike Teavee's mother in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, but turned it down as it would've interfered with the schedule for shooting the All in the Family pilot (the role went to Dodo Denney).
    • Carroll O'Connor was absent from several episodes during the show's fifth season as a result of protracted contract disputes with the producers. This was explained within the show as Archie having gone missing while attending a convention. If O'Connor and the producers had failed to renew his contract, he would have been gunned down at the convention and his best friend "Stretch" Cunningham would have moved in to help look after the family. (Cunningham, played by James Cromwell at the very beginning of his career, made his first onscreen appearance after years as The Ghost earlier that same season, to anticipate the possibility of his becoming the new lead.) After his contract was successfully renewed, O'Connor, understandably not fond of Cromwell's continued presence on the show, put his foot down and demanded that Cromwell be fired, which eventually resulted in the famous "death of Stretch Cunningham" episode. According to Cromwell, other members of the cast liked him and pushed for him to stay on, but to no avail.
  • The Wiki Rule: The All In The Family Wiki, and another All In The Family Wiki.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Allan Melvin appeared as a cop in one episode (season 1's "Archie in the Lock-Up") before taking on the recurring role of Barney Hefner.
    • Vincent Gardenia played different characters in a couple of early episodes before becoming a semi-regular as Frank Lorenzo in season 4.
    • Roscoe Lee Brown appeared twice as two different people. As Archie's French hospital roommate Jean Duval in "Archie In The Hospital" and as Hugh Victor Thompson III in "The Elevator Story".
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: A real life example. Archie, an enthusiastic proponent of "Richard E. Nixon" (sic), praised him to anyone who would listen. According to the Watergate tapes, Nixon was not amused.


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