Let’s Celebrate The 50th Anniversary Of ‘All in The Family’
By Richard Lederer
Back in January 1971 (has it really been that long?), a path-breaking sitcom lit up the tubes of our television sets. Created and written by Norman Lear, “All in the Family,” depicting a bigoted blue-collar working stiff and his family “changed the face of television,” as one critic put it, by infusing game-changing elements into a situation comedy—realistic characters, mature themes, frank dialogue, and socially sensitive issues.
A great part of the show’s success must be attributed to the personality and power of the main character as interpreted by the inimitable Carroll O’Connor. The series so touched the hearts and minds of the American viewing public that the name Archie Bunker has entered our language as the label for a lovable blue-collar bonehead. The name Bunker and the humorously illiterate misuse of words are, as Archie himself expressed it, like “two peas in a pot.” Trust me, the following genuine, authentic, certified Bunkerisms ain’t no “science friction” or, as Archie put it, a “frigment” of my imagination:
- This woman could be a kidnapper, making you an excessity after the fact. • I give ya the biggest build-up since Grant took Richard.
- There’s something rotten in Sweden, Edith. Call it a father’s intermission, but I smell a rat.
- Why don’t you write a letter to Dear Abie? • Forget it. It’s irreverent. It ain’t German to this conversation.
- Don’t you never read the papers about all them unflocked priests running around? This here priest ain’t kosher and never was.
- (about Meathead) Listen to our world traveler, will ya. Ain’t never been past the Chicago stock yards, and now he’s a regular Marco Polish.
- She’s hanging around my neck like an albacross. • Just who the hell are we entertaining here tonight? The Count to Monte Crisco?
- Whoever sent ‘em obviously wanted to remain unanimous
.• The Mets winning the pennant, that would be a miracle. Yeah, like the immaculate connection.
- If you was half as sick as me, you’d be laying on that floor waiting for Rigor Morris to set in.
- You’ve been standing on that phone like a pillow of salt.
- “Sorry” ain’t gonna clench my thirst.
- The Bunkers is going to Florida as pre-deranged.
- I don’t see why you had to drag me to her doctor, this groinocologist guy
. • That there is for your condition, Edith, for when you get one of them hot flushes. • (Sniffing a cigar) Edith, this is the nectarine of the gods.
- It’s a proven fact that capital punishment is a known detergent for crime. • All you gotta know is I wouldn’t go near her with a 10-foot Polack.
- Nobody gets arrested in this country. If he don’t yell “pig” or any of them other epaulets, he’ll be okay.
- It smells like a house of ill refute.
- They want people like your mother on juries because they know she don’t have pre-conscrewed ideas.
- You think he’s nice after coming in here, making suppository remarks about our country. And calling me prejudiced while I was singing, “God Bless America,” a song written by a well known and respected Jewish guy, Milton Berle
.• Well, goodbye and good ribbons.
“All in the Family” still shows up in reruns, and the spirit of Archie’s Bunkerisms continues to suffuse our lives. His contributions to our language are legionary for posteriority, the very pineapple and pinochle of fractured English.
About the Author:
Dr. Richard Lederer is the author of more than 50 books about language, history and humor, including his newest books, “A Treasury of Halloween Humor” and “A Treasury of Christmas Humor.” To order signed copies, explore his website, verbivore.com or write him Richard Lederer at email@example.com.