Sunday, November 16, 2014

All in the Family's Courageous Two-Part Holiday Episode Raised the Bar in 1977

Last year's mix featured an excerpt from what I think was the first holiday episode of the hit television series All in the Family. The episode was called "Christmas Day at the Bunkers," and I included it in memory of Jean Stapleton, who died last year at the age of 90. Stapleton played Edith Bunker on the series from 1971-79. There were several additional Christmas episodes during the series' nine-year run, including a two-part storyline that ran during Season 7 in 1977 ("Edith's Crisis of Faith"). I watched these episodes for the first time last week and was especially moved by the touching story they conveyed. I don't want to give too much away, but the first episode features a guest appearance by Lori Shannon as transvestite Beverly LaSalle, a former passenger in Archie Bunker's cab who had become a good friend of Edith's. Including such a character in a prime-time network series was a courageous move in the 1970s, and the writers and cast managed to tell a very difficult story with sensitivity and grace. The two episodes appear below:


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