On January 12, 1971, CBS introduced America to a new family, the Bunkers. Test your knowledge of Archie, Edith, and the rest of the gang with these trivia questions.
What British Television Show was All in the Family Based On? Norman Lear—the famous producer behind shows like Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, and Maude purchased the rights to a British television show called Til Death Do Us Part in the late 1960s. The show ran for ten years and had a strikingly similar plot to All in the Family: Warren Mitchell played a blue-collar conservative named Alf who—along with his doting wife, lovable daughter, and liberal son-in-law—lived in London. Like his successor, Archie, Alf had no problem expressing his disdain for anything he found to be...different. The concept hit close to home for Lear—many of the "Archie-isms" from the show are direct quotes from Lear's own father. Lear felt the Til Death Do Us Part plot could be adapted to suit American audiences, but it took time for the networks to agree.
Why Did ABC Pass on the Show?
Lear adapted the show with an original script called Justice for All (the Bunkers were originally going to be the Justices). Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton were both signed on to star as Archie and Edith, but their television daughter and her husband went through several iterations before landing on Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner. ABC passed on the initial pilot due to a lack of chemistry between the older and younger generation of actors. Lear recast the two younger roles, renamed the show Those Were the Days, shot another pilot and ABC passed on it again. It wasn't until 1969 when CBS realized advertisers were more interested in appealing to a younger demographic that All in the Family got the green light.
What Actors were Considered for the Archie Character Before Carroll O'Connor Landed the Role? A number of big-name actors were considered for the role of Archie, including Mickey Rooney, who famously told Norman Lear that "they're going to kill you, shoot you dead in the streets," for putting the offensive, foul-mouthed Archie on the air. Tom Bosley, Jack Warden, and Jackie Gleason were all also considered for the role, but ultimately it went to Carroll O'Connor, who even after landing the job told Lear he thought the show would get canceled in six weeks.
What Shows Became Spin-offs of All in the Family?
All in the Family holds the record for most spin-off shows from any television program. Two of those—Maude and The Jeffersons—were huge successes produced by Norman Lear. Both of those shows also had spin-offs of their own: Good Times and Checking In respectively. There was Gloria, the spin-off about Archie's recently-divorced daughter moving back to New York from California. Then came 704 Hauser about an African-American family that moves into the old Bunker residence. And of course, Archie Bunker's Place, which was technically a spin-off, but really just a continuation of the All in the Family plot.
Perhaps the most interesting of all, however, is that Til Death Do Us Part creator, Johnny Speight, brought the series full-circle and created a spin-off to Til Death Do Us Part inspired heavily by Archie Bunker's Place called In Sickness and In Health.