Norman Lear’s 100th Birthday Celebration Starts With ‘All in the Family’ Marathon: How to Watch

by Joe Rutland

Norman Lear turns 100 on Wednesday and the TV icon is being celebrated with a marathon of All in the Family episodes. Network getTV is planning to have a few of his classic TV shows’ memorable moments appear. While All in the Family does run on getTV in a regular timeslot, this marathon will pop at a special time. Check out what the network shared on its Instagram account on Tuesday in advance of Lear’s big day.

While All in the Family might seem like some mainstream sitcom fare today, that certainly was not the case when it debuted on CBS. Lear took the idea from a BBC television show titled Till Death Do Us Part and would bring it to the United States.

Carroll O’Connor Starred In Norman Lear Show ‘All in the Family’

Carroll O’Connor starred as gregarious and boisterous Archie Bunker. Archie’s thoughts and attitudes about different racial and social topics would make the character quite popular. In fact, there was a movement by fans to have Bunker be a presidential candidate. One unique aspect about O’Connor the person is that he did not personally carry any of Archie’s beliefs himself. Besides O’Connor, others in the cast included Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, and Sally Struthers.

Norman Lear would use All in the Family as a launching pad for some spinoffs. Two of the more successful ones were Maude and The Jeffersons. Bea Arthur, a veteran of the Broadway stage, would play Cousin Maude in an episode. Well, it was so well received that Lear turned Arthur loose in her own show. Maude tackled a number of at-the-time social issues, which didn’t always endear the character to some of the public.

The Jeffersons would find George and Louise Jefferson, played by Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford, “moving on up” in their lives. The show marked one of the first times that an African American married couple, on the show, would be the lead characters. Hemsley and Sanford played the couple but were not married to one another in real life.

Besides those shows, Lear’s reach would go into One Day at a Time. Bonnie Franklin starred as Ann Romano, a divorced mother of two. Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli would play daughters Julie and Barbara Cooper in there. Topical issues also would find their way into this show. Norman Lear was never afraid of dealing with issues that were considered hot-button ones in the 1970s. Fans of these shows fall in love with the characters and their situations. In recent years, Jimmy Kimmel and Lear have brought back All in the Family and other shows with cast changes. They’ve held fast to the original characters’ traits.