Sammy Davis Jr. gave Archie Bunker the kiss of a lifetime on All in the Family

Archie Bunker doesn't kiss and tell, but his reaction is worth a thousand words.

Image credit: The Everett Collection

Sammy Davis Jr. could do much more than just a little song and dance. With a career expanding across six decades, he was one of the most versatile artists of his time. 

Davis Jr. was a singer, a dancer, an actor and an impressionist. But perhaps the most impressive skill of them all was being able to charm Archie Bunker.

When Davis Jr. planted a kiss on the cheek of Archie Bunker in his 1972 guest appearance on the All in the Family episode "Sammy's Visit," it created history for the hit '70s sitcom.

This season two episode featured Davis Jr., who played himself. In the episode, Davis Jr. forgets his briefcase in the back of Archie's cab, and then pays the Bunker household a visit to get it back.

But of course, the episode's most memorable moment became known as the "kiss of infamy."

This is Archie's reaction to the quick kiss:

The scene was filmed in front of a live studio audience and became one of the show's longest standing ovations, estimated at 38 seconds. This moment also gathered some of the biggest laughs in TV history. 

"The comedy and the way it attacks prejudice really appeals to me," Davis Jr. said in a 1972 interview with Calgary Herald. "But we haven't seen Archie in contact with a black celebrity. He fawned all over me in the show but his prejudice still comes through."

With each sarcastic or offensive statement Archie dished out to Davis Jr. throughout the episode, Davis Jr. gave it right back.

According to the interview, Davis Jr. had this to say to Carroll O'Connor, who played Archie Bunker, after the episode had finished filming: 

"Even though you play that man your goodness comes through like an arrow. You're not that good an actor."

In an interview with The Television Academy, John Rich, the director of All in the Family, said Davis Jr.'s appearance in All in the Family was a one in a million story.

According to the interview, Davis Jr.'s appearance stemmed from his guest spot on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he expressed interest in coming on All in the Family. Rich said Davis Jr., cast and crew all counted to three and the shot began.

One, two, three, and...

"... Bang! He's kissing, and we went in and Archie took that look of surprise," Rich said. "And then the audience just went beserk. We had to cut the laugh, it was so long."

Producers thought the audience would love Archie Bunker's unexpected reaction to the kiss, and they weren't wrong. Archie's reaction turned into one of the best reactions from a live audience ever. 

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Stefanie24 15 months ago
You just took me on a trip down memory lane! I used to have this 45 when I was a kid and played it all the time. Haven't heard it in ages. Thanks for posting!
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Dario 15 months ago
No. 1 in the spring of 1972 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart
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Flash4001 15 months ago
What the hell.... He said it was in his contract
Flash4001 15 months ago
Sammy, do you take cream & sugar in your eye?
cperrynaples Flash4001 15 months ago
Yep, that's after Archie told Mike about Sammy's glass eye!
Flash4001 cperrynaples 14 months ago
He told Edith
kb7rky 15 months ago
Easily, the best episode of All In The Family ;)
gerardarcade 15 months ago
I thought some of Sammy's 'comebacks' in that episode were kinda snarky - the writers should have gone for subtlety, instead of making the lines so blatantly obvious to the audience, while Archie's character remains completely oblivious. And they needn't look any further than the exchanges between Archie and his next door neighbor's son, Lionel.
cperrynaples gerardarcade 15 months ago
No, Sammy's jokes were perfect! I love it when he said, "Archie, you ain't better than nobody!"
kkvegas cperrynaples 15 months ago
I liked his comeback to Archie explaining that the races should be separate -- his reasoning: God put Black people in Africa and everyone else in the white countries. Sammy Davis, Jr. replied, "Well, he must've told 'em where we were because somebody came and got us."
cperrynaples kkvegas 15 months ago
Yep, he sure did!
tootsieg 15 months ago
Very funny episode. The “kiss” was the icing on the cake.
harlow1313 15 months ago
"... from his guest spot on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Carson, ..." I saw that episode. Jim McMahon was Jimmy's cohost.
cperrynaples harlow1313 15 months ago
Yep, the one-time Chicago Bear was his sidekick! "YOU AREN"T CORRECT, SIR" meaning the MeTV staff...LOL!
Andybandit 15 months ago
That episode was funny. I was wondering how Archie was going to react when Sammy Davis Jr. kissed him on the cheek.
McGillahooala 15 months ago
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Carson. Sheesh.
McGillahooala 15 months ago
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cperrynaples daDoctah 15 months ago
That's only the Late Late Show! There was Kilborn [original host of The Daily Show] followed by Ferguson [Drew Carey's gay boss]!
justjeff 15 months ago
This was one of my favorite episodes from the series, along with the one where Archie gets locked in the basement, gets drunk and thinks he hears the voice of God when a workman eventually opens the door to the basement. When Archie sees a Black face, he's throughly confused and wonders "if" God is Black...
madvincent justjeff 15 months ago
the Jeffersons were
Coldnorth 15 months ago
I remember that episode.. was that rehearsed or ad libed? How can you rehearse that very funny facial reaction. So real looking
LoveMETV22 15 months ago
Archie along with Stephanie ( Danielle Brisebois ) Got to return that kiss on "Archie Bunker's Place."
Maverick66 15 months ago
I don't remember The Tonight Show with Jimmy Carson. Was he the guy who hosted before Ray Leno? 😅🤣😂
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Pacificsun justjeff 15 months ago
It was a 𝙟𝙤𝙠𝙚 😉
justjeff Pacificsun 15 months ago
Yeah... I picked up on that in the second reading... the first time around I was kind of quickly glancing over the posts...
madvincent 15 months ago
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cperrynaples Splenderella9 15 months ago
Yes, and i was joking about Paar [you missed the LOL], but I bet MAD used that name back in the day! And when will they admit that Edith said that line and not Gloria?
Runeshaper 15 months ago
2 GREATS sharing the screen = EPIC!
cperrynaples Runeshaper 15 months ago
Yep, and I can't say the playing card Archie compared him to! Let''s just say it's a good one to have playing Texas Hold 'Em....LOL!
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