On January 12th 1971 television audiences were introduced to the man we called the “lovable bigot”…if there is such a thing. Carroll O’Conner came into our avocado, orange and creme living rooms as Archie Bunker with his dizzy wife Edith, semi-dizzy daughter Gloria and her hippie liberal protesting boyfriend Mike Stivic.
But did you know that legendary producer Norman Lear, known for his edgy writing and brash delivery of controversial topics almost made one of the biggest mistakes of his life. He almost cast Mickey Rooney as Archie Bunker. Rooney went on record saying that the show might not be accepted for the racy topics of rape, homosexuality, racial issues…etc. Obviously he was wrong and although Carroll O’Conner agreed, he thought the role was fascinating and accepted the role. Thank goodness.
O’Conner reportedly argued the most with Normal Lear. In fact during a stalemate over his contract negotiation O’Conner went on a strike. The writers had to write three episodes where Archie disappeared on his way to a convention. He finally showed up in time to appear in the last few minutes of the third episode. Rumor had it that if he hadn’t comeback the writers were ready to kill off the character of Archie Bunker….again thank goodness.
Some other interesting facts: Penny Marshall was considered for the role of Gloira Stivic. Ironic that she married Rob Reiner later.
Speaking of Rob Reiner…Richard Dryfuss was reported to be extremely interested in that role at the time but Lear chose Reiner.
You may remember Betty GArrett who played neighbor Irene Lorenzo. She was on the show from 1973-1975 but resurfaced later in Laverne and Shirley.
All In The Family was the first show to use the sound of a flushing toilet on air.
The Bunkers last name was originally The Justices in the pilot but later changed.
OK…there’s more than you ever wanted to know about the show that broke more ground than any other before its time….and if you don’t believe that remember, it was ranked #4 on TV Guide’s 50 Best Television Shows of all time and was number one yearly from 1971 to 1976. No other sitcom except the Cosby Show has achieved that level of success.
It was and is a classic.
Stay tuned to http://www.waitiknowthis.com/ as we effort a chat with ANY of these stars. It is truly one of our favorite all time shows.