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How All In The Family’s Norman Lear Tried To Put A Stop To Archie Bunker’s Place


“Archie Bunker’s Place” was far from “All in the Family” with a different name. Besides the new setting, Archie’s doting wife Edith (Jean Stapleton) only appeared a few times in season 1 before dying at the beginning of the second season in 1980. Meanwhile, other progressive-minded characters were introduced to butt heads with Archie, filling the hole left by The Meathead, with Archie and Edith’s daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) only showing up a handful of times (and Mike even less than that). Mind you, this only came to pass after Lear spent “some months” trying to stop the series in its tracks.

In the end, though, Lear gave in, not wanting to put a whole lot of people out of work:

“The only time I met Mr. [William] Paley, who owned the network, was when he called to ask me to lunch, nine years later, to talk about wanting ‘Archie Bunker’s Place’ on air. The only way it got on was when [he] called me to his office and had four or five pages of names of people who would be out of work if the show didn’t go on. And so the show went on.”

It seems Lear’s issues were creative. “All in the Family” worked thanks to the unique alchemy of its cast and characters; take a piece or two away, and it just wasn’t the same. As unforgettable as O’Connor was as Archie, he could only hold the ship together for so long by himself. That was enough to keep “Archie Bunker’s Place” on the airwaves for four seasons, which is nothing to sneeze at. Still, there’s a reason the series didn’t enjoy anywhere near the lasting cultural impact as its parent show.

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