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Carroll O'Connor (1924-2001) - American Actor Best Known as Archie Bunker in "All in the Family"


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On 1/23/2015 at 8:46 PM, DonRocks said:

We all remember "All In The Family's" opening theme song, with Archie and Edith Bunker singing in front of an old, slightly-out-of-tune spinet.

But there were a couple of words that I wasn't sure of (*), and when I got to thinking about it, I didn't quite know the lyrics. After a bit of investigation, I think I stumbled upon a theory as important, and as obscure, as this one or this one.

Here are the lyrics to the theme song - you can find numerous variations all over the internet. But one subtle importance is that I've seen several versions that use the phrase "And you knew who you were then," as opposed to, "And you knew where you were then."

That might not seem like much, but knowing a bit about Jean Stapleton (and having proudly seen her in the 1987 revival of "Arsenic And Old Lace" on Broadway <-- that was a humble brag), I suspect she might have taken the more severe lyrics, "who you were," and substituted the more digestible "where you were." Note that this is the part of the song where she goes into a screech, focusing the audience's attention on her singing style rather than the actual song.

Sadly, I thought it was, "And if you were human then." Honestly, for years, I did.

(*) Perhaps most importantly, does this take a plural or singular? I'm going singular here, but I'm not ruling anything out.

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