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Weekend Viewing: “Those Were The Days,” aka “All In the Family, Version # 2.0”


 

You can find a number of unaired pilots on YouTube, not just ones that never got picked up (like the semi-famous “Nobody’s Watching”), but pilots for shows that did eventually get picked up with big changes. One of the most famous examples of a hit show with failed pilots was All In The Family; the first U.S. pilot based on the British series was made in 1968, the second in 1969, and the show didn’t get on the air, with a third pilot, until 1971.  Norman Lear simply would not give up trying to get a version of Till Death Us Do Part on the air. This is the second pilot, entitled “Those Were the Days.” Lear’s script is pretty much the same as the final pilot, and they had Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton in place as the Justices (they were renamed “Bunker” in the final version), but there are different actors in the other three roles: Chip Oliver (as the son-in-law), Candy Azzara (as Gloria) and D’Urville Martin (Lionel Jefferson). None of the three are as good as the three people who replaced them in the final pilot that got picked up; casting, as usual, makes all the difference in TV. Also, note that the set they went with in the final version is more spacious than the one in this pilot: instead the set being one big room as in the unaired pilot, Archie and family were given a bigger living room with a dining-room table, with the kitchen separated and used for “private” conversations. The final version is a better set in terms of comedy possibilities.

Part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtUmvtdAtLQ

Part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKKUroYlneI

Part 3:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcT2k4ZWExg


 

Weekend Viewing: “Those Were The Days,” aka “All In the Family, Version # 2.0”

  1. I was 9 years old when this show debuted. The entire family watched it and my parents explained the references the kids didn’t get. This is not the kind of television experience families have now, for the most part.

  2. What’s remarkable is how much Archie and Edith seem like themselves. It’s weird to see them with these bizarro versions of the other characters, of course, but they both emerge fully formed.

  3. I have this on tape, from when it aired on TV Land. But seeing the beginning of it just made me sad. “The Museum of Television and Radio Showcase.” It reminded me of how far TV Land has fallen. They used to be so good at showing rarities and, really, celebrating TV’s heritage.

  4. I still recall the British original – till death us do part – it was also very good.

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