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Archie Bunker's Place
Archie Bunkers Place
The title screen as seen in the opening credits.

Format

Sitcom

Created by

Norman Lear (based on Till Death Us Do Part created by Johnny Speight)

Starring

Carroll O'Connor
Jean Stapleton (1979-1980)
Danielle Brisebois
Martin Balsam (1979-1981)
Anne Meara (1979-1982)
Barry Gordon (1981-1983)

Opening theme

"Those Were the Days"

Ending theme

"Remembering You" by Roger Kellaway and Carroll O'Connor

Original channel

CBS

Original run

September 23, 1979 - April 4, 1983

Preceded by

All in the Family

Followed by

N/A

Archie Bunker's Place is an American sitcom originally broadcast on the CBS network, conceived in 1979 as a continuation of All in the Family. While not as popular, the show maintained a large enough audience to last four seasons, ending its run in 1983. The first season performed so well that it knocked Mork & Mindy off its new Sunday night home. A year before, Mork & Mindy had been the #3 show on television during its first season.

All in The Family series creator Norman Lear was initially against the spin-off. Carroll O'Connor, however, rebuffed Lear, saying that the character of a middle-aged bigot from Queens was his creation and Lear had worked the series around that theme. The spin-off was given a green light and bought by CBS. Template:Citation needed

The major difference in the continuation is that, although some of the scenes were set in the Bunker home long familiar to viewers, most of the stories were set at Archie Bunker's Place, the neighborhood tavern Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) purchased in 1977 (in the eighth-season premiere of All in the Family). He had purchased what was then known as Kelcy's Bar[1] from former proprietor Tommy Kelsey (see "Kelcy" or "Kelsey") when Kelcy's health declined. During the premiere of Archie Bunker's Place, he takes on a Jewish partner, Murray Klein (Martin Balsam) when co-owner Harry Snowden decides to sell his share of the business. Early in the first season, to increase his clientèle, Archie and Murray build a restaurant onto the bar; the additions include a separate seating area for the restaurant and a well-equipped kitchen with service window. The regular patrons are Barney Hefner, Hank Pivnik, and Edgar Van Ranseleer[2].

Archie Bunker's Place was the sounding board for Archie's views, support from his friends, and Murray's counterpoints. Later in the series, after Murray re-marries and leaves for San Francisco, Archie hires a business partner, Gary Rabinowitz (Barry Gordon), whose views were liberal in contrast to Archie's political conservativism.

Archie Bunker's Place, like All in the Family before it, was set in the borough of Queens. The opening credits featured a view of the Queensboro Bridge, which connects Manhattan to Queens followed by shots taken along Steinway Street in Astoria.

The theme of Archie Bunker's Place was "Those Were the Days". It was a re-scored version of the long-familiar opening theme to All in the Family, sans vocals from Archie and Edith. The closing theme, "Remembering You," was a re-scored version of All in the Family's closing theme.

The series was briefly rerun on TV Land in 2002 and 2003 but mainly the first 25 episodes. The last episode did air in a marathon stunt along with the final episodes of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Gloria.

CharactersEdit

  • Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker, a bigoted blue-collar worker whose ignorant stubbornness tends to cause his arguments to self-destruct. By the time of Archie Bunker's Place, however, the character has mellowed somewhat and is no longer as explicitly bigoted as he had been during All in the Family, even agreeing to go into business with a Jewish man.
  • Jean Stapleton continued to play Archie's wife Edith Baines-Bunker when Archie Bunker's Place premiered. The show featured Edith occasionally during the first season, but Stapleton decided to leave the series late in 1979; her character was referred to but unseen during the rest of the 1979-1980 season. The writers and producers addressed Stapleton's departure in the Season 2 premiere, explaining that Edith had died of a stroke. Archie reflected on his wife's passing, and eventually, began dating other women.
  • Danielle Brisebois as Stephanie Mills, the 10-year-old Jewish daughter of Edith's niece and nephew-in-law, Floyd Mills. Archie and Edith take Stephanie in after her father, a chronic unemployed drunk, abandoned her during the final season of All in the Family. Stephanie loved to sing and dance, and her talents were showcased in several episodes.
  • Celeste Holm as Estelle Harris, Stephanie's wealthy grandmother, who would often be at odds with Archie over his rearing of Stephanie.
  • Allan Melvin as Barney Hefner, one of Archie's best friends and a regular at the bar. Their friendship was first established in 1972 during an episode of All in the Family. He was then married to a woman named Mabel but Mabel died (somewhere around the 1975-1976 season) and Barney married Blanche (played by Estelle Parsons), a friend of Edith's some time around 1977. Blanche left Barney numerous times, always for repairmen and exterminators. Barney divorced her in 1979, but Blanche was the only one to gain anything out of the divorce, with Barney being ordered to pay alimony.
  • Danny Dayton as Hank Pivnik, another regular and good buddy of Archie's. First appeared in 1976 on All in the Family. Hank disappeared with no explanation given after the 1979-1980 season.
  • Bill Quinn as Edgar Van Ranseleer[2], a blind patron and regular at the bar. He was almost never referred to by his first name. First appearance was in 1978 on All in the Family.
  • Jason Wingreen as Harry Snowden, Archie's former business partner who continued to work at the tavern as a bartender. Another holdover character from All in the Family, in which Wingreen joined in 1976.
  • Abraham Alvarez and Joe Rosario as Jose Perez and Raoul Rosario, two Latin American immigrants employed as assistant cooks at Archie's bar. Archie later learns they are illegal immigrants after they refuse to give a statement to police after having witnessed a mugging.
  • Anne Meara as Veronica Rooney (1979-1982), the cook at Archie Bunker's Place. She often made wisecracks and gave Archie a hard time. She insisted that Archie also hire her openly gay nephew Fred as a waiter to help him pay for law school. She was an alcoholic and deep down pined to get back with her ex-husband, Carmine (who appeared in a few episodes and was played by Meara's real-life husband, Jerry Stiller), but knew it wasn't going to happen. Meara appeared sporadically throughout the show's third season and left the show before the fourth and final season.
  • Barbara Meek as Ellen Canby (1980-1982). Ellen was a black housekeeper who was hired by Archie after Edith's death. She also took care of Stephanie, and kept Archie's views in check. Though Archie still harbored some resentment toward black people by the time she arrived on the scene, he deeply respected Ellen and was grateful for the job she did in helping to raise Stephanie.
  • Denise Miller, who joined the cast in 1981 as Archie's 18-year-old niece, Barbara Lee "Billie" Bunker. Billie — who worked as a waitress at Archie Bunker's Place — was the daughter of Archie's "estranged" brother, Fred (and sister of Linda, who appeared once on All in the Family). Her principal love interest was Gary Rabinowitz (see below).
  • Barry Gordon, another 1981 addition to the cast as Jewish lawyer and business manager Gary Rabinowitz. Gary would quickly begin dating Billie, who was 15 years younger than he was. Just like Mike Stivic and Murray Klein before him, Gary's liberal beliefs often contrasted with those of conservative Archie.
  • Sally Struthers returned as Archie's daughter, Gloria Bunker-Stivic, for a few episodes. In addition to the 1979 episode "Thanksgiving Reunion," Struthers returned in the 1982 two-part episode, "Gloria Comes Home," where she returns home from California with her son, Joey after divorcing Mike (who had run off to a commune with a comely co-ed). The character eventually moved on to her own spin-off series, Gloria. (Note: The original unaired pilot episode to the TV series which begins with a short cameo by Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker was later repackaged as an Archie Bunker's Place episode).

ProductionEdit

Unlike the preceding show, Archie Bunkers Place was not videotaped before a live audience, with the exception of a few select episodes (including "Thanksgiving Reunion" and "Archie Alone").Template:Verify source Instead, the show was shot on a closed set with multiple cameras, with the best takes being edited together. The finished product was then shown to live audiences attending tapings of One Day at a Time, thus providing real laughter for the show.Template:Verify source

Nielsen RatingsEdit

  • 1979-1980: #11
  • 1980-1981: #13
  • 1981-1982: #12
  • 1982-1983: #23

Notable episodesEdit

The series' most notable episode among critics was "Archie Alone" (the 1980-1981 season premiere). In that episode, viewers learn that Edith had died of a stroke a month earlier (Jean Stapleton had resigned from her role), and Archie refuses to grieve. His refusal to let go of his emotions takes its toll on Stephanie, until one day Archie sees Edith's slippers while in their bedroom. Archie finally breaks down and cries. Later, after a talk with Stephanie, he agrees to take her to visit Edith's grave. Notably, the British TV series In Sickness and in Health, the continuation of Till Death Us Do Part on which All in the Family was based, had a similar episode in which Edith's British counterpart Else Garnett died from natural causes. This was not a result of one series copying the other; both shows were forced to write these deaths in for coincidental reasons.

The first season episode, "Thanksgiving Reunion," marked the final time the original ensemble from "All in the Family" – O'Connor, Stapleton, Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner – appeared together. In that episode, Mike announces that he has lost his job as college professor after his participation in nude protest of a proposed nuclear power plant becomes public. This puts a further strain on his already troubled marriage to Gloria (who also admits she participated in the protest), and will foreshadow the Stivics' imminent divorce.

Another notable episode was "The Return of Sammy" when Sammy Davis Jr. comes to the bar and restaurant after Archie calls up his talk show. He, like Murray, is surprised that Archie has a Jewish niece. At the end of the episode Archie kisses Sammy. Just the opposite of what happened in the parent show episode "Sammy's Visit".

Later, comedian Don Rickles guest starred as a crusty boarder named Al Snyder, who rented a room from Archie's friend and neighbor Barney, whose wife Blanche had left him sometime earlier. Highlights of this episode are exchanges combining Rickles' insult humor and his character's curmudgeonly disposition with Archie's sincere but misguided efforts to resolve disputes between Snyder and Barney ("Okay, there whaddyacallit, you and me's gotta have a talk." "Hey, I don't wanna talk to you; take a hike." "Don't tell me to take a hike; I ain't goin' anywheres."). Eventually, the Rickles character is exhausted by the constant chatter and decides to rest ("I need a nap. When I wake up, Barney, I'll give you back your bathrobe. You can tear in half and use one half as a bed for your dog and the other half to clean out your dirty oven."). The Rickles character drifts off to sleep and dies. The episode ends with Barney pondering whether he'll wind up like Mr. Snyder: "Sore at the world, 'cause I'm all alone."

DVD releaseEdit

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released The Complete First Season of Archie Bunker's Place on DVD in North America on January 31, 2006. Due to poor sales, it is unknown if the remaining three seasons will ever be released. However, some third season episodes are available on Hulu.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Archie Bunker's Place - The Complete First Season 24 January 3, 2006

ReferencesEdit

External links Edit

simple:Archie Bunker's Place

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