Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 12: All in the Family

On this date in History .... 1971:

The first episode of “All in the Family” airs on CBS.  The show is considered ground breaking as it brought to the airwaves topics that were normally considered “unsuitable” for television, such as menopause, the Vietnam War, rape, homosexuality and others. It also lays claim to the first audible toilet flush ever heard on prime time TV!

Creator Norman Lear wanted to film it in black and white but CBS demanded it be in color.  Lear made the set as bland and colorless as possible, going for sepia tones because he wanted viewers to feel like they were looking at an old family album.

It was the first show to be videotaped in front of a live audience, giving it that ‘stage’ look, similar to “The Honeymooners”, a show it is frequently compared to.

The show is only one of three shows to be #1 in the Nielsen ratings for five consectutive years.  (The record was overtaken in the 80s by "The Cosby Show" and later by "American Idol".)

It holds the record for the most number of spin-offs.  Five shows were born from All in the Family, and two of those were spin-offs of spin-offs.  "Good Times", a show about maid Florida Evans, was a spin off of "Maude". Checking In", a show about housekeeper Florence Johnston, was a spin off of "The Jeffersons".

Archie and Edith’s chairs, purchased at a Goodwill store, are on display at the Smithsonian Nat’l Museum of American History.

The show added to America's pop culture by adding to our vocabulary words such as "dingbat" and "stifle".  This video clip is a segment that had all of us touching our head to a wall and trying to pick up a chair!

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