Those were the days.
As a part-time cab driver, Archie Bunker would be considered an essential employee during the coronavirus pandemic, but for those not leaving home, “All in the Family” can still provide entertainment more than 40 years after going off the air.
Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. the CW airs a pair of episodes of the iconic 1970s show that frankly discussed social issues, often pitting Bunker, a conservative, against his liberal son-in-law, Michael Stivic, more commonly known as Meathead. The show can also be seen online at crackle.com.
The creation of Norman Lear, the iconically Queens show became an instant hit as Carroll O’Connor played Bunker, a character based on Lear’s father. Jean Stapleton played Archie’s wife, Edith, known as “Dingbat” to Archie. Rob Reiner played Stivic and Sally Struthers played his wife, Gloria.
The Bunkers lived at 704 Hauser St. in Astoria, though the house seen in the opening credits is actually 89-70 Cooper Ave. in Rego Park. The show itself was filmed in front of a live studio audience in California.
Critics and viewers alike praised the show, which delved into topics including racism, homosexuality, rape and war, among others that had long been avoided on television.
Lear would become shocked at how popular Bunker, who was written to be disliked by audiences, became.
One classic exchange came in the first episode of the series, as Michael argues with Archie about minorities not having the same job opportunities as whites.
Michael: “Now I suppose you’re going to tell me that the black man has had the same opportunity in this country as you.”
Archie: “More. He’s had more. I didn’t have no million people out there marching and protesting to get me my job.”
Edith: “No, his uncle got it for him.”
“All in the Family” broke ground for a medium that was known for not letting Lucy and Ricky sleep in the same bed.
Fans bought “Archie Bunker for President” merchandise, and the show’s popularity led to several spin-offs, including “The Jeffersons,” “Maude” and “Archie Bunker’s Place.”
One classic episode to be on the lookout for is “Sammy’s Visit,” which sees Sammy Davis Jr. come to the Bunker house after accidentally leaving his briefcase in Archie’s cab. The show famously ends with Davis planting a kiss on Bunker’s cheek.
An underrated episode is “The Bunkers and the Swingers,” in which Edith answers a magazine ad for a couple to be friends with only to find out something about them she didn’t expect. Character actor Vincent Gardenia and future Golden Girl Rue McClanahan play the couple who likes to swing on and off the dance floor.