All in the Family got rid of ''live laughs'' and the live studio audience

The show changed for its ninth season. Apparently, people in the live audience didn't enjoy the jokes.

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There are always mixed reactions when popular sitcoms begin to change. Some viewers loathe the changes and stop watching the show; others love the new additions. Some changes are so minor that fans would only notice once it has been pointed out. However, sometimes things can make or break a show.

All in the Family had "live laughs" for almost all of their seasons and then decided it was time to switch things up. In an interview with The Cincinnati Post in 1978, Carroll O'Connor talked about the changes that were made for its then-upcoming ninth season.

The show would no longer be taped in front of a live studio audience, which was common for Norman Lear-produced series. "When we've finished an episode, we'll screen it for a studio audience and add the audience laughter," O'Connor began. "What we've been doing is re-writing the show for an audience of 250 people bused in from a retirement home who didn't enjoy a joke."

To the actor, this new method made more sense. He said, "It was stupid. Also, we'll be able to tape the show in four days and cut the cost so I can get as rich as everyone thinks I am."

For the ninth season, fans also had to deal with another major change: Gloria and Mike finally left the nest. "It's a familiar void [that] gives us a wealth of material, both funny and sad," O'Connor said. "We already have storylines for 18 shows, so there is no shortage of stories. We're also expecting Rob and Sally to come back for four shows."

The hope was that parents/grandparents worldwide would feel a connection with the fictional daughter and son-in-law moving away with their child. In reality, the two actors went away to pursue other gigs. "But they probably will come back to us for four episodes. A baby has to visit his grandparents," O'Connor said.

In the article, Carroll O'Connor also responded to critics who claimed all he could play was Archie. "Some critics have said that all I can do is Archie, but if an actor gets one big hit in his career, he's lucky. I'll probably never play a better role."

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68 Comments

JJ614 15 months ago
"The greatest evils in the world will not be carried out by men with guns, but by men in suits sitting behind desks." -C. S. Lewis-
HerbF 15 months ago
They would playback the completed episodes to the audience waiting for the taping of ONE DAY AT A TIME...on small 25" Monitors above the stage area!
LoveMETV22 15 months ago
Thought this was in interesting share posted on the Svengoolie Website-Several AITF fans over there.
The cast of AITF arriving at work, just as any other, well arriving at the studio that is.
LoveMETV22 LoveMETV22 15 months ago
Some filming of AITF.
Antenna2 15 months ago
My parents (early 60s at the time) liked the show. I thought it was just okay, Archie mostly funny but sometimes too over the top with his form of ignorant behavior, and Edith just too irritating, "Here's your beer, Archie." I've never been comfortable when it came to jokes about sensitive topics and just as soon leave that alone, but Norman Lear was the "ground-breaking" sitcom guy and was given a lot of latitude, perhaps too much. A distant cousin of mine was a popular stand-up comedian on the east coast in the 1980s, but even with that in my blood, I never found making jokes at the expense of someone else acceptable.
JJ614 15 months ago
I don't know if everyone here ever watched Boston Legal. One of my fave episodes is "Juiced," in which the Betty White character sues TV networks for 'ageism' - never producing new series older viewers would enjoy!
cperrynaples JJ614 15 months ago
Well there is a network for old people and the address is CBS...LOL! Yes,I saw that episode!
JJ614 cperrynaples 15 months ago
I swear, if CBS/VIACOM/Paramount doesn't get their act together and give us Star Trek 4 with Pine/Quinto/Saldana/Urban/Cho, I'm not leaving! They keep bleeding directors. Both Pine and Quinto both have directing chops now - why don't the powers that be just hire one of them as actor/director - they won't disappear. I mean, Nimoy and Shat acted in/directed ST movies.
UGA2021 15 months ago
I’m regards to mitz , would you find it funny to have a black family making fun of white people on tv like Archie ?? Change the roles and see how funny it is to you before you start calling people names !! Just another dumb ass boomer , I’m sure you support what DeSantis is doing as well ! Stay in your Lilly white world you poor little man
Andrewl16 UGA2021 15 months ago
Another whiney lib thar has to spew his political crap on a good site here.And if you paid attention to the show every time Archie made racist comments it bit him in the ass and made him look stupid.
JJ614 Andrewl16 15 months ago
That doesn't make sense. AITF is nothing BUT political. So comments just naturally would be too.
UGA2021 Andrewl16 15 months ago
I was replying to the whiny old white Republican if you dare pay attention !! Must be time for a nap , Andrew maybe turn off Fox News and EDUCATE yourself !!
mitz123 15 months ago
Disappointing but not surprising to see all of the negative remarks about this show. Given the times we live in today, with the snowflakes and PC police, too many just have no clue. This program is a true classic in every sense of the word. And it's timeless. I laugh just as hard when I see it today as I did when I watched it 50 years ago.
JJ614 mitz123 15 months ago
Why are you 'disappointed' others don't like this show? That makes no sense to me. I'm not disappointed others like it. I have no disappointments or excitement about what others like or don't like to watch. Our likes or dislikes don't affect you in any way.
LoveMETV22 15 months ago
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 15 months ago
Sorry, I meant to clear this up. The "I can't believe he said that. I think he was just being factious." 😉 Applies to Carroll O'Connor talking about the retirement home audience (and nothing to do with your fun dialogue balloons!). The live laughter (where ever it comes from) is used to mark the timing of the jokes. What falls flat, they'll tweak with a different approach, if they can.
Charlotte 15 months ago
I thought this was a poor move on MeTv to put such a controversial show on for these times. There are so many more shows & movies to enjoy instead of listening to Archie & his annoying wife's voices. Rob Reiner was just as annoying too!! In the 70's this may have been entertaining. My family watched it, but it's out of date now. Please put back Perry Mason or another show my elderly mom can look forward too!
JJ614 Charlotte 15 months ago
LOL - and I bet elderly mom (as well as I) can think of a hundred shows we'd be happy to watch to replace it some day. I've always enjoyed everything METV has shown on Sunday nights during the 7-9p time period (my time zone). Each and every one. This is their first choice that I just can't stand. And in fact, I love almost everything else METV shows, 7 days a week. And the ones I don't love, I can at least tolerate. AITF is the first thing they've scheduled that I literally can't tolerate.
CoreyC 15 months ago
All In The Family should have ended when Gloria and Mike left for California. In fact AITF jumped the shark when the Stivics moved next door to The Jeffersons old home.
timothys71 15 months ago
I would say this is the point where this show jumped the shark.
JJ614 15 months ago
Gee. I'm shocked.

btw METV. It's hard enough on those of us who loved the Perry Mason movies on Sunday nights that you replaced with this horrible, divisive, toxic 'sitcom.' But you're STILL running ads for the PM movies during late night. I've personally seen at least 6 reminding me to watch on Sunday nights. Reminding me how much I resent you removing the PM movies after only one run. I had been looking forward to watching them a 2nd time. I always catch more details the 2nd time. You chose not to let us have that. so please stop running commercials for PM Sunday night movies.
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CoreyC lee224 15 months ago
Carroll said he wanted to portray Archie Bunker as an uneducated bigot which he was. Television in the early 70's wanted to shred the saacherine era from the 50's to 60's. Without AITF, M*A*S*H and others television would not evolve to what it to become.
JJ614 CoreyC 15 months ago
Don't know. Never watched whatever that person was in.
JJ614 CoreyC 15 months ago
OK, I looked it up. I never watched Married ... with Children. Probably because there was something I already watched whenever it was on.
JJ614 lee224 15 months ago
BTW lee - Archive Bunker is NOT a boomer. So when did you just start inaccurately labeling everyone older than you, who does not agree with you, a "boomer"? You know, the vast majority of people don't get our definitions from "urban dictionary." There is a REAL definition.
Boomers are the children of those adults of the WWII era - babies born 1946-1964. Archie himself was FATHER of a boomer, which Gloria would qualify as. Boomer is not just a term you slam at anyone older than you with whom you disagree.
Plus - I know Norman Lear's endgame. Do you? Because you can actually google it (and the real definition of 'boomer') and learn in mere seconds.
And finally - we boomers wear the label proudly. It is our parents who kept you from being under the rule of Hitler or some Japanese emperor. We owe the parents of boomers our very lives. Boomer is a proud badge! (And Boomers invented your phone and computer and microwave.)
FLETCH 15 months ago
Funny, groundbreaking show that unfortunately ran too long. Should have pulled the plug after season 8
Steve2021 15 months ago
As a teenager then, I didn't like the show. Today Archie makes sense.
ecarfar Steve2021 15 months ago
Like a lot of things...he was right all along.
trainer1158 ecarfar 15 months ago
Then you totally misunderstood this show.
roncraw 15 months ago
His interview and excuse for removing the laugh track is a load of crap. Is it a coincidence that once they stopped “editing the show for a 250 person retiree audience” that they were cancelled, having dropped from Number 1 for five straight years to Number 9? If you can bear to watch season 9, you will see the “jokes” Are no longer funny. A classic case of a series that ran too long. They should have stuck to their core audience (and writers).
AgingDisgracefully 15 months ago
Was the sound of a toilet in mid-flush funnier to the Live or Tape-Watching audience?
Jon 15 months ago
Was he able to find audiences better than 250 people bussed in from a retirement home who didn't enjoy his jokes when he played a tape back to an audience for live responses? I'd rather see a live show myself. I did notice though, when I finally had a chance to be in a few of these audiences starting in the late 1990s, that several scenes were done just that way, pre-filmed & shown to us for our responses. Only scenes on the main sets were filmed live in front of us.
Jaguartech 15 months ago
Archie and Edith were funny, the meathead is just irritating. Is a good show to watch an episode here and there, but blocks of this show just makes me change the channel
Wish they'd put something different on.
ecarfar Jaguartech 15 months ago
I like every character; they all played a pivotal role in what was going on in the country at the time.
CoreyC Jaguartech 15 months ago
The whole point of AITF is the sparing of the conservative bigot Archie and liberal Mike aka Meathead.
JJ614 CoreyC 15 months ago
See, and that's part of it too. Hollywood has for decades made a point of portraying all conservatives as bigots. I've been a conservative all my life and no conservative that Hollywood portrays is anything like me or the many conservatives in my life. So many new series (and old ones) make a point of mocking conservatives and Christians in their very first episodes. OK - at least they let me know, they don't need nor want my viewership. At least they're upfront about it! But then when I refuse to watch, they get all up in a wad that I'M the bad guy. Sorry - they can't have it both ways. Why would anyone waste their time watching something that shows they openly mock and hate almost half of Americans? Life is too short for that.
JHP 15 months ago
And here I absolutely despise the laugh track
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