Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Martin Balsam. O'Connor takes his All in the Family character to the next level and Archie opens up a tavern in Queens complete with a liberal new business partner Murray Klein. Guest appearances during the Emmy-nominated first season by Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers as Mike and Gloria add a little flavor to the brew. 24 episodes on 3 DVDs. 1979/color/9 hrs., 50 min/NR/fullscreen.
Archie Bunker's Place
followed Norman Lear's long-running hit sitcom All in the Family
with a largely new cast of characters surrounding Carroll O'Connor's beloved bigot from Queens, Archie Bunker. Jean Stapleton, reprising her role as Archie's wife, Edith, occasionally appeared in the new show for continuity's sake, but was gone by the second season. (Archie Bunker's Place
ran from 1979 to 1983.) Seen much more often was young Danielle Brisbois as Archie's feisty niece, Stephanie, who moved into the Bunker home toward the end of All in the Family
The "place" in the series title is not, in fact, Archie's house but rather the saloon he bought into with barkeep Harry Snowden (Jason Wingreen), a development that also happened toward the conclusion of the previous series. Happy to have his own business, Archie still finds plenty to grouse about, not least of all the opinions and private affairs of his regular patrons (as well as Harry). Among the faces one is likely to find at Archie Bunker's Place at any time of the day or night are old pal and neighbor Barney Hefner (Allan Melvin) and Mr. Van Ranseleer (Bill Quinn), whose blindness seems to intensify his focus on surrounding conversations. (He's good at inserting the uninvited zinger in other people's dialogue.) The Complete First Season begins with something unexpected, however: Harry wants to sell his stake in the bar. Unable to raise the cash, Archie watches with great discontent from the sidelines as Murray Klein (Martin Balsam), a complete stranger, buys Harry out and becomes a partner. Archie and Murray's initially rocky relationship becomes more stable over time, and the two even develop a bond of trust and shared insight. Other highlights of the season include an episode in which kindly Edith takes a job helping patients at a psychiatric hospital (much to Archie's chagrin); a two-part Thanksgiving tale featuring daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) and her husband Mike (Rob Reiner), who pay a visit following Mike's dismissal from his teaching job in California; and stories starring Estelle Parsons (as Barney's sexy ex-wife) and Sammy Davis Jr. in a follow-up to one of the most popular All in the Family episodes. --Tom Keogh