was the a lot of popular display on television. It debuted in 1971. Carroll O'Connor, left, played Archie Bunker. Jean Stapleton played his wife, Edith Bunker.
Updated November 2, 2021 at 12:43 PM ET

It would certainly seem unthinkable by today"s standards: the most well-known character on television was a blue-collar biobtained from Queens, New York — that, despite his prejudices, was frequently thought about lovable at the exact same time.

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But that was the situation for a lot of the 1970s through the character Archie Bunker on All in the Family, which debuted in 1971. For 5 years, it was the most-watched show on television.

The present was groundbreaking for openly talking around significant concerns of the day. While various other reflects featured surface-level plots, All in the Family"s storylines regularly associated deeper discussions of racism, women"s legal rights, the Vietnam War, homosexuality, rape and more.

"I had actually a father who was a bit of an Archie Bunker," says Norguy Lear, who created the display. Lear claims his father would use racist terms for Chinese civilization and Babsence civilization. "He was, in my mind, a long way to what came to be Archie Bunker."

Actor Carroll O"Connor played Bunker for 13 periods, the initially nine on All in the Family and also then an additional four years in the spinoff, Archie Bunker"s Place.

Lear tells Morning Edition that dozens of actors interviewed for the part. When O"Connor walked in, "we sit at this little table and also he reads. You recognize I wish I could express — my entire body felt, "Oh my god. This is Archie." "

Writer Jim Colucci put together the brand-new book All in the Family: The Sjust how that Changed Television, which features interviews with actors and crew members, including Lear"s memories of certain episodes.

Colucci says that despite producers creating the major character the way they did, the actual environment on collection was that of respect, based on what guest stars on the show told him.

"Even civilization who just came in for an episode or two or 3 renoted around just how collaborative the present was," he says. "And it would frequently be actors that themselves were world of shade or LGBT. And they shelp, "As an Afrideserve to Amerihave the right to, I commonly play these duties that are either really small or the dialogue is created in a method that white civilization think that Black human being soptimal." Here they sassist, "We came in and also we gained to do something authentic and also funny." And so I think that it was a mix of, ago then, they kbrand-new how collaborative it was, and they knew just how, also then, exactly how groundbreaking it was."

The development of Edith Bunker


Jean Stapleton and Carroll O'Connor, pictured at the 1972 Emmys, played Edith and also Archie Bunker. Stapleton's character progressed throughout the display.
Jean Stapleton played Archie"s wife, Edith Bunker. The character advanced from a meek housewife to a woguy that became a symbol of the feminist motion at the moment.

"She was arisen to respond to any situation in life the means the a lot of decent good perchild, the method the most Jesus-prefer, if you will, perchild would respond," Lear states. "It was absolutely wonderful the talent Jean Stapleton carried to that character."

Colucci thinks that taking on the role led Stapleton to alters in her very own life.

"She was from the Christian Science background, so she had actually a religious background that was very specific. And I think that she herself had an extremely quiet life in Pennsylvania in the theater. And I think just through expocertain to All in the Family and also the larger people of Hollylumber did she become awakened to some of the women"s problems that were happening in her time and also really prospered as a perboy."

In the 50 years since All in the Family"s debut, plenty of TV reflects have actually pumelted borders with their very own delves into controversial and complex topics. Lear still thinks there"s more room to go deeper on religious beliefs.

"Tbelow is a lot that deserve to be done through conversations that incorporate idea and our stays from a spiritual standpoint," he says.

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Lear is currently 99 years old. All in the Family was simply among the scores of beloved TV shows he"s created, written, occurred or developed. His advice, though, isn"t to spfinish a lengthy time looking ago on points in the past.

"Two little bit words we don"t pay sufficient attention to: over and next," he states. "When something is over, it is over and we are on to next. And I choose to think about the hammock in the middle of those 2 words. That"s living in the moment. That"s the moment I think I"m living as I complete this sentence. And it couldn"t be more essential to me."