Morty Answers:
All in the Family
It's Wednesday, June 07, 2023
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FAQ:  Frequently Asked Questions
Fun Fact:

The "sock and a shoe" scene came from real life. Hear Rob Reiner and Norman Lear explain. 

What are the lyrics to 'Those Were the Days'
Did Carroll O'Connor write the closing theme for the series?
I remember an "All in the Family" album, was there one?
On what episode of 'All in the Family' did Edith die?
What happened to Frank Lorenzo?
What happened to Mike and Gloria, did they stay together?
How much is my 'All in the Family' memorabilia worth?
How did Carroll O'Connor die?

Click for Sounds From "All in the Family"

Since the recent death of Carroll O'Connor, I've received more questions about "All in the Family" than ever before.  I think the most asked question is regarding the lyrics to the theme song:  "What are the lyrics to 'Those Were the Days'?"

I'm not the first to receive this question.  It was asked by thousands of viewers during the run of the series,  so many in-fact, that the theme song was re-recorded by Jean Stapleton and Carroll O'Connor.  The line that gives everyone so much trouble is: "Gee, our old LaSalle ran great."  You'll notice that after the second season, Jean sings it much clearer.  This was to help those of you that didn't catch it the first two season's.  

1940 LaSalle by Cadillac

The problem wasn't as much with diction, as it was with the dated reference.  Many people thought it referred to the LaSalle University track team,  it doesn't.  LaSalle was a division of Cadillac that produced autos from 1927 to 1940. 

There are also other verses of the "Those Were the Days" that are only heard on the "All in the Family" albums.  Here are the lyrics:

"Those Were The Days"
by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse

Boy, the way Glen Miller played. Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.
Didn't need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.
And you know who you were then, girls were girls and men were men.
Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
People seemed to be content. Fifty dollars paid the rent.
Freaks were in a circus tent. Those were the days.
Take a little Sunday spin, go to watch the Dodgers win.
Have yourself a dandy day that cost you under a fin.
Hair was short and skirts were long. Kate Smith really sold a song.
I don't know just what went wrong. Those Were The Days.


Staying on the subject of music,  I get asked: "Did Carroll O'Connor write the closing theme for the series?"  No, he did not.  After the show had been on for a year, Carroll O'Connor went to Roger Kellaway, the composer of the tune, and asked if he could write lyrics to it.  Kellaway agreed, O'Connor wrote the lyrics, and the two shared credit and royalties ever after.   It became the title song to O'Connor's second album.   If you lost your copy of "Remembering You," and didn't tape it when O'Connor performed it on "The Flip Wilson Show," here are the words so you can sing along:

Remembering You
by Roger Kellaway and Carroll O'Connor

Got a feelin' it's all over now - All over now, we're through.
And tomorrow I'll be lonesome, Remembering You.
Got a feelin' the sun will be gone - The day will be long and blue.
And tommorrow I'll be cryin', Remembering You.
There'a a far away look in your eye when you try to pretend to me,
That everything is the same as it used to be.
I see it's all over now - All over now, we're through.
And tomorrow I'll be startin' Remembering You.

So who would buy an album of Carroll O'Connor singing?  Well it's better than Jean Stapleton singing. Jean Stapleton and Carroll O'Connor teamed up for the album "Side by Side, an Evening and Songs and Fun with the Bunkers"  The album featured such toe-tapping tunes as: “Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?” “I’m Sitting on Top of the World,” “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby,” “Hey, Look Me Over,” “Ain’t We Got Fun,” “I Remember It Well,” “Button Up Your Overcoat,”  “You’re the Cream in My Coffee,” and “Side by Side,”  The record, issued on the RCA Victor label, featured 24 songs in all.

I remember an "All in the Family" album, was there one?  The first "All in the Family" LP released was in 1972, also available on 8-track.   It was a collection of some of the funniest moments from the series.  It was a big hit and was followed in 1973 with "All in the Family 2nd Album".  In addition to the LPs, a 45 of the theme song was recorded by the cast.  This was not a success.  Meanwhile, instrumental arrangements by Henry Mancini and Ray Conniff were cropping up on easy listening radio stations.  Click here for SOUNDS FROM ALL IN THE FAMILY

Another top question is "On what episode of 'All in the Family' did Edith die?"  No one remembers this episode,  because it never happened.  After Archie bought Kelsey's,  a lot of the storylines centered around the bar.  Edith was no longer the center of the family.  Jean Stapleton had won three Emmys for her work on "All in the Family," but it was Carroll O'Connor who had the power.  Stapleton stayed on "All in the Family" for it's entire eight year run,  and even went on to play Edith on "Archie Bunker's Place," but it was obvious that her role was diminished.  

Fun Fact:

Carroll O'Connor tested for the role of The Skipper on "Gilligan's Island"

Now here's where stories are starting to get distorted as to what really happened.  I want to set the record straight here before the truth is forgotten.  After playing the dingbat for nine years, this seemed like the right time to move on,  but she had no intention of leaving the show permanently, she agreed to make appearances from time-to-time.    O'Connor felt that episodes without Edith,  would be compared to those with,  leading the audience to be disappointed with any episode without Stapleton.  During the summer of 1980 Carroll called Norman Lear and told him he wanted Edith written out of the show, in a way that would provide closure, Edith would die.  Norman Lear didn't feel that O'Connor's show, "Archie Bunker's Place," was his and gave the creative control to O'Connor to do as he pleased.  O'Connor called Stapleton and asked how she felt about his proposed plot.  She was shocked, but since she only intended to appear on the show out of obligation,  she told O'Connor it was fine with her.  When "Archie Bunker's Place" returned in the fall of 1980,  the curtain opened on a family grieving over the loss of their beloved Edith.  

So there you have it,  Edith never died on "All in the Family."  Part of the confusion seems to center around an episode titled "Too Good Edith" (sometimes incorrectly listed as "Too Good Faith" on TV Land) where Edith collapses after making the food for a Saint Patrick's bash at Archie's bar.  This was aired on April 8, 1979, it was the last episode of "All in the Family".    But Edith must have gotten better over the Summer,  because she was back in the Fall in "Archie Bunker's Place" and even gets hired at the bar in the fourth episode.

Another departure that causes confusion is "What happened to Frank Lorenzo?"  Vincent Gardenia was an experienced stage and film actor.  He didn't adjust well to the way TV shows were made.  He grew impatient sitting around all week waiting to make an entrance, deliver a joke and out again.  He asked to be written out.  Because his role was so small,  they intended to just have him be the unseen husband of Irene Lorenzo (Betty Garrett).  To explain his absence, Irene said things like "Frank's on the road selling plumbing supplies."  However,  with all the laughs,  the shows always ran a little longer than expected.  Irene's explanations often ended up on the cutting room floor.  Most people didn't miss Frank and it didn't become an issue until Irene starting getting chummy with Stretch Cunningham.  After a couple nights out on the town,  people started asking, "Isn't Irene a married women?" So the writers dropped the Irene and Stretch storyline.  After a while the stories involving Irene were running out and in 1975 Betty Garrett left the show.  As you must know, she went on to play Edna Babish on "Laverne & Shirley."     She found a unique difference between the two shows.  Both had her in a contract where she would be paid, regardless of whether she appeared on screen.  Unlike "All in the Family," Tony Marshall, producer of "Laverne & Shirley" would have her pop in on every episode to earn her pay,  if only to ask for the rent, or deliver a quick joke.  On "All in the Family" she only appeared when it would move the plot along or provide grist for Archie's tirades. 

Another popular question is: "What happened to Mike and Gloria, did they stay together?"  As you may recall,  Archie and Edith go out to California to see Gloria, Mike and Joey for Christmas ("California Here We Are" episodes 195 & 196 December 1978).  At this point Mike and Gloria are living apart.  They pretend to be together for the Holiday visit, but a 2am argument brings out the truth.   The two-part episode ends with them agreeing to try it again.   But then what?  Well,  we can assume things were OK for a while, but a few years later, after Edith's death, Gloria shows up at "Archie Bunker's Place," single and ready to start a new life. Mike left her to live in a commune.  With Sally Struthers back in her role as Gloria Bunker-Stivic, on September 26, 1982 the series "Gloria" debut.  In the series, Gloria worked as a veterinary assistant in up-state New York. "Gloria" was cancelled after the first season. Christian Jacobs played Joey Stivic.  Jacobs is still acting, in addition to being the lead singer of California based band "The Aquabats."   

By 1973 the series was in full merchandising.  You could get an official "Mr American Beer Mug"  There was a complete line of "Archie Bunker for President" campaign merchandise including beer mugs (Archie was running under the "beer party" banner), posters, t-shirts, buttons.  The best item was the life-size  posters of Archie holding up a copy of "Time" magazine honoring him as the man of the year. My Archie for president poster is still hanging in my laundry room.

Also in 1973, "Mad Magazine" "honored" the show with a special "Gall in the Family" issue that included Mad's first parody record.

In 1976 Ideal toys made the first anatomically correct male doll from a TV series.  The 14" Joey Stivic  doll was sold as "Archie Bunker's Grandson" and came with a bottle and two diapers.

Which brings us to the question:  "How much is my 'All in the Family' memorabilia worth?" 

This is a question I don't like to answer.  I'm not really qualified to appraise collectibles, however I'll give you some reference prices: 
The "Archie Bunker's Grandson" doll is a nice item.  Expect to pay about $75 for one in mint condition, in the box, with diapers and bottle, never played with.

A set of six "Archie for President" buttons should run about $10.  A ceramic "Mr. American" mug is worth about $30.  A green or amber glass goblet with a gold "Archie Bunker for President" logo can be yours for about $25. A life-size "Archie for President" poster is worth about $25,  in mint condition, $15 for the "Foist Family" poster.  "Archie for President" t-shirts,  in good condition, are a rare find.  Expect to pay as much as $75 for this two color silk-screened shirt.  The Archie patch (shown at left) is worth about $8, same for the one that reads "I'm a dingbat for Archie Bunker". The "All in the Family, Archie Bunker Card Game" by Milton Bradley is about $50. There were also drinking glasses of the cast members, not very attractive, single color printing,  you can find these for about $3 each.  A nice rare find is the Archie Bunker candle, it was a white rectangle with blue lettering that reads: "It Might as Well be a Bunker,"  worth about $30.  

Autographed photos range in price from $45 to $150.  Be very careful before you buy any photo from a dealer.  There are lots of counterfeits that come with COAs (Certificate of Authenticity).  The certificates are as easy to forge as the signatures.  Your best bet is to buy from the estate sales of collectors that could have personally met the cast member.  If bidding in an on-line auction, do not be shy, ask where the photo came from.  It the seller does not know the history, shop elsewhere. 

Hugh & Carroll O'Connor on the set of "In the Heat of the Night"  
On June 21 2001, Carroll O'Connor died of a heart attack, brought on by complications from diabetes, in the Brotman Medical Center,  Culver City, California at 3:20pm.  Many people feel O'Connor died not of a heart attack, but rather by a broken heart.  On March 28, 1995, Hugh O'Connor, 32, called his father to tell him he was going to end his life because he could not face another drug rehabilitation program. When O'Connor and his wife reached their son's Los Angeles home, Hugh O'Connor had shot himself in the head. Police later determined that cocaine was in Hugh O'Connor's blood at the time he committed suicide. Hugh O'Connor left a note that said "I leave all my worldly possessions to my son Sean. Angela (O'Connor's wife) I can't believe you. Mom and Pops so long. Love Hugh."

Within hours of the suicide, O'Connor told reporters that an alleged drug dealer named Harry Perzigian was responsible for his son's death. "Now we have to get rid of the Harry Perzigians," he said.

Carroll's wife, Nancy O'Connor.  Carroll died just months before celebrating  50 years of marriage. 

Fun Fact:

Carroll O'Connor is a trained Shakespearian actor.

The next day, police arrested Perzigian after a search of his apartment turned up cocaine and drug paraphernalia. Perzigian was tried and convicted of cocaine possession and furnishing cocaine to Hugh O'Connor. Perzigian was sentenced to a year in prison, three years probation. He was also ordered to pay a fine and perform community service.

Perzigian alleged that O'Connor slandered him by publicly blaming him for Hugh O'Connor's death. Perzigian also alleged that O'Connor intentionally caused him emotional distress by calling him a "sleaze ball" and threatening him during press interviews. Perzigian said that O'Connor's accusations invaded his privacy and made him an object of ridicule in his community.

Perzigian asked for general damages for the mental distress caused by being branded as the man who "murdered" Hugh O'Connor. Perzigian claimed he gets hate mail, crank calls and lives in fear for his life. He also requested punitive damages.

O'Connor was instrumental in the passage of the Drug Dealers Civil Liability Act in California. The Act states that citizens can sue drug dealers whom they feel are responsible for the drug-related deaths of family members. 

O'Connor was victorious in court, but he never got over the loss of his son. 

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