Life’s Playlist…. All in the Family Theme performed by Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton

On this date in 1971, television changed forever…. at least in the Rumsey household.

On January 12, 1971, the first episode of All in the Family premiered on CBS.

In addition to all the hilarity that would take today’s professionally offended into overdrive, the very first episode featured something else that had never been on TV before…. a toilet flush.  (The sound of the flush anyway.)

All in the Family would never make it onto television today, a shame that we can’t laugh at ourselves any longer without someone being offended.

All in the Family made household names out of Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner.  It was the first of a trilogy that included other shows that were just as politically incorrect Maude and The Jeffersons.

As a family we laughed at All in the Family, we laughed at the jokes and we laughed when “Archie” made fun of people just like us.  We laughed when the shows first aired, for years we laughed in re-runs and my brother even got the full series on DVD for Christmas this year and as we watched a couple of episodes on Christmas night, we laughed again.

All in the Family shined a light on our society, it was often ugly, it was usually inappropriate, but it was always done in humor.

We could all use a bit of All in the Family in our world today.

Life’s Playlist….. The Candy Man by Sammy Davis Jr.

One of my father’s favorite TV shows was “All in the Family.”

This comedy that featured a family living in the suburbs of NYC aired in the 70’s.  Aired weekly on CBS, there is no way the show could be made today as it was filled with political incorrectness….. and it was AWESOME!

“All in the Family” was an equal opportunity offender, no one was off-limits with Archie Bunker and his family.  In our house, “All in the Family” was must see TV, my daddy would laugh so hard that his cackle could be heard all over the house.

The great Carroll O’Connor, who played Archie Bunker, was born on this date in 1924, he passed in 2001, but his comedic genius lives on.

In the 70’s race relations were tense, one of my dad’s favorite episodes featured a visit to the Bunker house by Sammy Davis Jr., if you have never seen the episode or any of the other landmark episodes of “All in the Family,” I encourage you to find it and watch!

In honor of the show, Carroll O’Connor’s birthday and the great Sammy Davis Jr., today’s Life’s Playlist is “Candy Man,” with a special bonus….. Archie Bunker Meets Sammy Davis Jr.

RIP ~ Jean Stapleton


Jean Stapleton

1923 ~ 2013

Growing up in my house, All In the Family was appointment television.  We used to laugh that daddy was Archie and mama was Edith.   While the Bunkers were more political than we were, they brought laughter and tears to millions each week while maneuvering a changing world.

Mama “favored” Jean Stapleton in looks and while there wasn’t much my mama couldn’t do…. she never had a talent for singing.

The off-key slaughter of the show’s theme song performed by Archie and Edith is a permanent childhood memory for me.  Hearing daddy laugh and say “sing mama sing” as Edith warbled the words.

Edith is now gone… so is mama.  As I remember back on those days of turbulent change, of laughter and family time around the television, I can’t help but think…. those were the days.