All in the Family pilots (found episodes; 1960s)
|One of the show's title cards.|
|Date found||June 9th 2009|
You'd be an idiot not to know what All in the Family was. Running on CBS for a good nine years (1971-79) and starring Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers, the Norman Lear-created sitcom was the top-rated network television show for five years and has since been regarded as the most groundbreaking comedy of all time, as well as one of the greatest. What many casual fans don't know is that two pilots, which both used the same script, were created and rejected by ABC.
And Justice For All (1968)
On July 22, 1965, Till Death Do Us Part debuted on BBC1 and followed the life of a working-class man and his family. The series ended up doing well in the ratings, and while reading a Variety article on its success, the idea for All in the Family came about to Lear, who considered incorporating his own experiences with his own father into the remake. Around that time, CBS had been considering buying the rights to Till Death Do Us Part and retooling it specifically for Jackie Gleason (one of the three actors Lear originally considered to play Archie Bunker, the other two were Tom Bosley and Jack Warden).
Lear had CBS beat, buying the rights and then selling them to ABC. The first pilot, And Justice For All, was taped in October 1968 in New York City. In it, O'Connor and Stapleton played the roles of Archie and Edith Bunker (as they later would in the final show), except their last name was Justice. Instead of Struthers, Kelly Jean Peters played Gloria Stivic, while Tim Mclntire played her husband, Richard. The pilot has since been regarded as "lost", though it was finally released in 2009 as one of the many extras on The Norman Lear Collection DVD, which also included interviews and the first seasons of his most famous creations (All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Maude, One Day at a Time, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman).
Those Were the Days (1969)
Following the screening of the first pilot, Lear had tried again in February 1969, giving the producers more money to film the second pilot, Those Were the Days (named after the final show's theme song), in Hollywood, California. For this pilot, O'Connor and Stapleton kept their respective roles as Archie and Edith (D'Urville Martin also kept his role as future Jeffersons character Lionel Jefferson, who appeared in both pilots) while Peters and Mclntire were respectively replaced with Candice Azzara and Chip Olivier. Unfortunately, due to the then-recent Turn-On complaints, ABC turned down both pilots because they wouldn't air a show where the lead was "foul-mouthed" and "bigoted."
In an attempt to switch out their "rural" programs for more "urban" shows, CBS happily bought Lear's project and it became All in the Family. Unlike And Justice For All, Those Were the Days still existed (meaning, it wasn't "lost" like the 1968 effort), and as with the first one, it was released as a special feature on The Norman Lear Collection DVD.