When Did All in the Family Become Archie Bunker’s Place?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: All in the Family was re-named Archie Bunker’s Place once Jean Stapleton left the show.

Probably the most famous episode of Archie Bunker’s Place was the episode where Archie deals with the passing of his wife, Edith.

The scenes of Archie (who has been solemn the whole episode) discovering Edith’s slipper at the end of the episode…

causing him to break down…

were so powerful that it was no surprise that actor Carrol O’Connor won a Peabody Award for his performance.

However, the sheer fame of that episode is likely the “culprit” behind a misconception around Archie Bunker’s Place – that the show got its name (changed from All in the Family) because Edith was no longer a character on the show due to her death.

That is not the case.

It is true that after nine seasons of playing Edith Bunker, Jean Stapleton no longer wanted to do All in the Family anymore. And Norman Lear, also, was fine with the show ending after a long run at the top.

CBS, of course, did not want to lose the show, and they asked Carrol O’Connor if he could keep the show going.

He conferred with Lear, who agreed, under the condition that the show no longer be called All in the Family and the familiar opening no longer be used (with Archie and Edith at the piano that served the original series well for so many years)…

with that change in place, Stapleton actually agreed to remain an ostensible cast member of the new show, with the opening credits going…

then…

and finally the title of the show…

Stapleton would only appear in a half-dozen or so episodes of the first season (with the show taking place mostly at a bar/restaurant that Archie bought into, the titular “Archie Bunker’s Place”) with her being often referred to but not shown on screen.

Stapleton finally quit at the end of the first season, although they kept referring to her offscreen at the end of the season. For the second season premiere, though, they decided to write her off of the show as having died.

Similarly to Stapleton still being on the show after the name changed, there is a misconception that Danielle Brisebois was added to the show WHEN the name changed, but she actually joined in the final season of All in the Family.

Here she is with Edith in a Season 9 episode…

Without Edith, the show went on for three more season, running a remarkable 13 years with O’Connor in the Archie Bunker role!!

Amazingly enough, the British show that All in the Family was based on, Till Death Do Us Part, later ALSO had a sequel series, In Sickness and in Health where they ALSO had to write off the wife character as dying after the first season of the sequel series (the real life actress passed away). That’s a weird coincidence!

The legend is…

STATUS: False

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One Response to “When Did All in the Family Become Archie Bunker’s Place?”

  1. knew jean finaly left the show as the reason the producers wrote one of the most saddest tv deaths ever imo. put to now learn the show all in the family is based one had the same thing happen to them with the lead actress talk about a little errie

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