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