Mickey Rooney as Archie Bunker and Other TV Casting Almosts
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For much of the series, the Stivics live in the Bunkers' home to save money, providing even more opportunity for the two men to irritate each other. When Mike finally finishes graduate school and the Stivics move out, it turns out to be to the house next door. The house was offered to them by George Jefferson , the Bunkers' former neighbor, who knows it will irritate Archie.
In addition to calling him " Meathead ", Archie also frequently cites Mike's Polish ancestry, referring to him as a "dumb Polack ".
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The show is set in the Astoria section of Queens , one of New York City's five boroughs, with the vast majority of scenes taking place in the Bunkers' home and later, frequently, the Stivics' home. Occasional scenes take place in other locations, most often especially during later seasons Kelcy's Bar, a neighborhood tavern where Archie spends a good deal of time and which he eventually buys. Lear bought the rights to Till Death Us Do Part and incorporated his own family experiences with his father into the show. Lear's father would tell Lear's mother to "stifle herself" and she would tell Lear's father "you are the laziest white man I ever saw" two "Archieisms" that found their way onto the show.
Three different pilots were shot for the series. Different actors played the roles of Mike, Gloria, and Lionel in the first two. Lear initially wanted to shoot in black and white. While CBS insisted on color, Lear had the set furnished in rather neutral tones, keeping everything relatively devoid of color. As wardrobe designer Rita Riggs described in her Archives of American Television interview, Lear's idea was to create the feeling of sepia tones, in an attempt to make viewers feel as if they were looking at an old family album.
All In The Family was the first major American series to be videotaped in front of a live studio audience. In the s, most sitcoms had been filmed in the single-camera format without audiences, with a laugh track simulating audience response. Lear employed the Multi-camera format of shooting in front of an audience, but used tape, whereas previous multi-camera shows like Mary Tyler Moore had used film. Thanks to the success of All in the Family , videotaping sitcoms in front of an audience became common format for the genre during the s. The use of videotape also gave All in the Family the look and feel of early live television, including the original live broadcasts of The Honeymooners , to which All in the Family is sometimes compared.
For the show's final season, the practice of being taped before a live audience changed to playing the already taped and edited show to an audience and recording their laughter to add to the original sound track. Thus, the voice-over during the end credits was changed from Rob Reiner's " All in the Family was recorded on tape before a live audience" to Carroll O'Connor's " All in the Family was played to a studio audience for live responses". Typically, the audience would be gathered for a taping of One Day at a Time and get to see All in the Family as a bonus.
Throughout its run, Norman Lear took pride in the fact that canned laughter was never used mentioning this on many occasions - the audience laughter heard in the episodes was genuine. The series' opening theme song "Those Were the Days",  written by Lee Adams lyrics and Charles Strouse music , was presented in a unique way for a s series: Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton seated at a console or spinet piano played by Stapleton and singing the tune on-camera at the start of every episode, concluding with live-audience applause.
The song dates back to the very first Justice for All pilot, although on that occasion O'Connor and Stapleton performed the song off-camera and at a faster tempo than the series version.
Several different performances were recorded over the run of the series, including one version that includes additional lyrics. The song is a simple, pentatonic melody that can be played exclusively with black keys on a piano in which Archie and Edith wax nostalgic for the simpler days of yesteryear. A longer version of the song was released as a single on Atlantic Records , reaching No. A few perceptible drifts can be observed when listening to each version chronologically: In the original version, Jean Stapleton was wearing glasses, and after the first time the lyric "those were the days" was sung over the tonic root chord of the song's key the piano strikes a Dominant 7th chord in transition to the next part, which is absent from subsequent versions; Jean Stapleton's screeching high note on the line "And you knew who you WEEERRE then" became louder, longer, and more comical, although it was only in the original version that audience laughter was heard in response to her rendition of the note; Carroll O'Connor's pronunciation of "welfare state" gained more of Archie's trademark enunciation, and the closing lyrics especially "Gee, our old LaSalle ran great" were sung with increasingly deliberate articulation, as viewers had initially complained that they could not understand the words.
Also in the original version: the camera angle was shot slightly from the right side of the talent as opposed to the straight on angle of the next version.
Lear and his writers set the series in the Queens neighborhood of Astoria. The address of the Bunkers' house at Hauser Street was completely fictitious no Hauser Street exists in Queens and factually incorrect with the way address numbers are assigned in Queens they are all hyphenated, beginning with a block number representing the nearest preceding cross-street, keeping in line with Queens' predominantly numerical street-naming system.
Many real-life Queens institutions are mentioned throughout the series. For example it is revealed that Archie attended Flushing High School, a real high school located in Flushing, Queens although in the " Man Of The Year" episode of ''Archie Bunker's Place'', it is revealed that Archie attended Bryant High School in Long Island City, graduating in , while Edith mentioned several times throughout the series that she shops at Gertz Department store, a then-existing department store located in Jamaica and Flushing, Queens.
Additionally, the episode " The Baby Contest " deals with Archie entering baby Joey in a "cutest baby" contest sponsored by the Flushing Tribune , a then-operating local newspaper now known as the Queens Tribune. At different times throughout the series, the telephone exchanges Ravenswood RA and Bayside BA were used for the Bunkers' telephone number.
Both exchanges were, and still are, applicable names for phone numbers in the neighborhoods of Astoria and Bayside.
Mickey Rooney Actually Turned Down the Role of Archie
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Rob Reiner was passed over for the original pilot. He was passed over for the second one as well. It was the third time that proved to be the charm, when Lear gave him yet another chance.
If you ever wondered what happened to Reiner after the show ended, sleep easy knowing he became an Oscar nominated director. While Edith might have met an untimely end, the woman who played her did not: Jean Stapleton died in at the age of The lights of Broadway dimmed in her honor as she had begun her career on the stage. Her coworkers also spoke highly of her. Lear, in particular, stated that she could have given lessons on how to be a human being.
The world lost a special person the day she left this world. Unfortunately, it proved to be short-lived, lasting only a season. She was on the game show circuit for a time before going back to mainstream on shows such as Gilmore Girls. He also starred in dozens of films before his death in He was a former member of the United States Air Force as well as a jazz keyboardist he even released a few singles. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame the same year he passed away. Years before she appeared on the show, however, Garrett was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee for her affiliations with the Communist Party and as a result, it was difficult to find work.
So landing the role of Irene was a big break in her acting career. Eventually, other blacklisted actors and writers would return to work as well. By the end of its run, he had been nominated for eight Emmy Awards and six Golden Globe Awards, winning once for each. A lot of people at the time thought that All in the Family was too controversial of a show. One of those people was actress Lucille Ball, who reportedly hated All in the Family.
CBS knew that All in the Family would cause a stir among more conservative viewers and took some precautions to ease the shock. While writing the first episodes, Lear received a notice from the CBS Program Practices department that warned him to avoid writing in certain words and phrases. Lear ignored the request.
He envisioned the show as a look into real life. Censoring harsh words and phrases would have stripped away the realism of the show. Knowing that All in the Family was bound to offend the average American viewer, CBS posted a disclaimer prior to the first episode.
They even hired extra operators at the switchboard to handle calls from outraged viewers. Surprisingly enough, the viewers were not offended as CBS thought they would be and they actually embraced the brazen figure that was Archie Bunker. Today, the character is still remembered for his blunt brazenness and toxic masculine demeanor. But for those born in later decades, Arthur was better known as Dorothy, the dry-humored widow on The Golden Girls.