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Archie Bunker's Place

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Archie Bunker's Place
Archie Bunkers Place Opening 640x480
Archie Bunker's Place opening screen

Starring

Carroll O'Connor
Jean Stapleton
Martin Balsam
Danielle Brisebois
Barbara Meek
Jason Wingreen
Allan Melvin
Anne Meara
Denise Miller
Barry Gordon

Production Company

CBS Television City

Country  

USA

Network

CBS-TV  

First Original episode aired  

September 24, 1979

Last Original episode aired

April 4, 1983

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Archie Bunker's Place is an American sitcom originally broadcast on the CBS network, conceived in 1979 as a spin-off and continuation of All in the Family. While not as popular as its predecessor, the show maintained a large enough audience to last for four seasons, until its cancellation in 1983. In its first season, the show performed so well that it knocked Mork & Mindy out of its new Sunday night time slot. A year before, Mork & Mindy had been the No. 3 show on television during its first season.

BackgroundEdit

Archie Bunker's Place continued on from All in the Family. Although the Bunker home, the primary setting for the original series, was featured, the new series was primarily set in the titular Archie Bunker's Place, the neighborhood tavern in Astoria, Queens which Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) purchased in the eighth-season premiere of All in the Family. During the premiere of Archie Bunker's Place, Bunker 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 business, 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 a service window. The regular patrons include Barney Hefner (played by Allan Melvin), Hank Pivnik (Danny Dayton), and Edgar Van Ranseleer.[1]

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 finds a new business partner, Gary Rabinowitz (Barry Gordon), whose views were liberal, in contrast to Archie's political conservatism.

ProductionEdit

Unlike All in the Family's first eight seasons, Archie Bunker's Place was not videotaped before a live audience, with the exception of a few select episodes (including "Thanksgiving Reunion" and "Archie Alone"). 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.

Production of the first three seasons of Archie Bunker's Place took place at Studios 31 and 33 at CBS Television City in Hollywood, the original production home of All in the Family for that show's first six seasons. The final season was taped at Universal City Studios in nearby Universal City, just north of Hollywood. By 1982, most, if not all, of the Norman Lear-produced situation comedies still on the air by this point relocated from Television City or the now-defunct Metromedia Square to Universal City.

The theme song for Archie Bunker's Place was a re-scored instrumental version by Ray Coniff of "Those Were the Days," the long-familiar opening theme to All in the Family. The closing theme, "Remembering You," was a re-scored version of All in the Family's closing theme. Both versions featured a Dixieland-styled arrangement. The opening credits featured a view of the Queensboro Bridge, which connects Manhattan to Queens, followed by shots taken along Steinway Street in Astoria.

Carroll O'Connor was angered about the show's cancellation, maintaining that the show ended with an inappropriate finale. He vowed never to work in any type of show with CBS again, although he starred in In the Heat of the Night, which aired on CBS in that show's last three seasons.

The series was briefly rerun on TV Land in 2002 and 2003, including the unaired Gloria pilot. The last episode did air in a marathon along with the final episodes of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Gloria.

Whereas All in the Family had been inspired by a British series, Till Death Us Do Part, Archie Bunker's Place would eventually inspire creator Johnny Speight to produce a sequel to the British series. In Sickness and in Health aired in the UK from 1985 to 1992. Several of the episodes were adapted from the American series.

Broadcast HistoryEdit

Archie Bunker's Place aired Sundays at 8:00-8:30 PM on CBS for nearly its whole run from September 23, 1979 to March 20, 1983. The last two episodes aired Mondays from March 28 to April 4, 1983.

EpisodesEdit

Main article: List of Archie Bunker's Place episodes

Nielsen RatingsEdit

NOTE: The highest average rating for the series is in bold text.

Season Rank Rating
1) 1979–1980 #11 22.9
2) 1980–1981 #13 21.4
3) 1981–1982 #12 21.6
4) 1982–1983 #22 18.3 (Tied with That's Incredible!)

Notable episodesEdit

Template:Original research The series' most notable episode among critics was "Archie Alone," which originally aired November 2, 1980 as a one-hour special to open the second season of the series. In that episode, viewers learn that Edith had died of a stroke a month earlier (Jean Stapleton had resigned from her role), and Archie is unable to grieve. His refusal to let go of his emotions takes its toll on Stephanie, until one day Archie finds a single slipper of Edith's (overlooked when friends came to collect her clothes for charity) in the bedroom. Holding the shoe, Archie laments aloud that Edith slipped away before he could tell her he loved her, and finally breaks down and cries. Later, after a talk with Stephanie, he agrees to take her to visit Edith's grave, fulfilling the request Stephanie had made to Archie at the beginning of the episode. 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 had died from natural causes. This was not a case of one series copying another; both series were forced to write these deaths in for similar reasons.

File:ABPThanksgiving79.jpg

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 a college professor after his participation in a nude protest of a proposed nuclear power plant becomes public. This puts a further strain on his already troubled marriage to Gloria (who at the episode's end lets it slip to Archie that Mike participated only because Gloria didn't want to march alone), and foreshadows the Stivics' 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. Later, when Sammy chokes on some food, Archie uses the Heimlich maneuver to save Sammy's life. At the end of the episode, Archie kisses Sammy, just the opposite of what happened in the parent show's 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. Eventually, the Rickles character is exhausted by the constant chatter and decides to rest. 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. Because sales figures did not match Sony's expectations, it is unknown if the remaining three seasons will ever be released. Some third season episodes were available on Hulu, but the content license has since expired.

ReferencesEdit

External links Edit

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