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704 Hauser aired from April until May 1994 on CBS.

If the address sounded familiar it was for good reason. More than two decades after the premiere of All in the Family this ghostly echo of that trail-blazing show appeared on the CBS schedule. There was now a black family living in Archie Bunker's old home on Hauser Street in Queens, New York. Ernie Cumberbatch ( John Amos), an auto mechanic, was a blustery , outspoken liberal who had been actively involved in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He had even named his only child, Goodie, after his idol, the first black member of the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall. Much to Ernie's chagrin, college student Goodie (T.E. Russell) had turned out to be a politically active conservative. Not only that, but his girlfriend, Cherlyn ( Maura Tierney), was idealistic, outspoken, white, and Jewish. Ernie and Goodie disagreed about political and social issues as well as Goodie's inability to find a black girlfriend. Rose (Lynnie Godfrey), Ernie's religious wife, was forever trying to keep them from coming to blows. Sound familiar? Joey Stivic (played by Casey Siemaszko ), son of Gloria and Meathead, even showed up in the premiere episode.

For executive producer Norman Lear this was a return to his series roots. He took out ads in newspapers imploring viewers to watch the series and write CBS to keep it on the air, but low ratings resulted in cancellation after a five-week spring tryout. It would prove to be Norman Lear's final TV series.

An Article from the Orlando Sentinel

Television - TV topics
February 23, 1994|By Mark Dawidziak, Akron Beacon Journal

LOS ANGELES — There was a moment when the good times stopped rolling for actor John Amos and producer Norman Lear. Amos was upset about the direction of Lear's CBS comedy, Good Times.

The actor was particularly upset because his character, James Evans, couldn't hold a job and provide an adequate income for his family. He also complained about the increasing attention given J.J. (Jimmie Walker), a scheming teen-ager who might become a dangerous role model.

So, in September 1976, viewers learned that James Evans had been killed in a car accident. After two seasons, Amos took a walk and Walker walked away from Good Times.

''It was a bad thing for me because I had two kids in college at the time,'' Amos said. ''We did have some very strong creative differences as to how James Evans should be portrayed and the part that the children would play in the show.''

It was a tense time for Lear, who had six other series on the air in 1976: All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, Sanford & Son and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. He really was TV's King Lear.

Lear says of the Good Times dispute that they were a pain in the rear end to each other. ''And we elected to conclude the relationship, creatively, at that time, and we maintained a strong personal relationship since.''

So strong, in fact, that Lear is giving the actor Archie Bunker's house as a present. Amos stars in 704 Hauser as Ernest Cumberbatch, a liberal auto mechanic living in the Queens house once owned by America's most famous bigot.

CBS has given Lear a six-episode order for the series, which will premiere later this season.

Cumberbatch? Well, Lear went all the way back to P.S. 67, his New York elementary school, for that name.

''For one year,'' Lear says, ''a great buddy of mine was a fellow by the name of Elwood Cumberbatch . . . and I've never forgotten his name.''

Lear, though, seems to have forgotten how to produce a hit series. His situation comedies of the '90s, NBC's The Powers That Be and CBS' Sunday Dinner, have failed to find an audience.

But he hasn't forgotten how to be controversial, and 704 Hauser will tackle issues facing the black family.

''No one deals with controversial issues better than Norman Lear,'' Amos says. ''The first thing Norman said to me was, 'You know, John, this is going to be very controversial.' Almost as though he were forewarning me that, if you want to step out of the kitchen before the heat gets turned up, now's the time.''

At 704 Hauser, liberal Ernest, a veteran of the '60s civil-rights battles, often is arguing with his conservative son, Thurgood Marshall ''Goodie'' Cumberbatch (T.E. Russell). Ernest's wife, Rose (Lynnie Godfrey), uses her strong religious beliefs to play referee.

An Article from The LA Times

'704 Hauser' Braces for Race Issue : Television: Norman Lear's latest sitcom, from Archie Bunker's old house, may ruffle feathers when it debuts on CBS next week.

In Norman Lear's new series "704 Hauser," the punch lines come fast and furious, and the studio audience sounds as if it's having a rollicking good time roaring at the antics of the combative Cumberbatch family.

The show even has a comic pedigree: The title address is the same house where Archie Bunker fought son-in-law Meathead during the 1970s on Lear's "All in the Family."

But many African Americans who tune in may find their funny bones rubbed in the wrong direction.

Some of the people associated with "704 Hauser" predict that black viewers might be less than pleased with the political views expressed by one of the main characters--an ultraconservative who disdains liberals, believes blacks are too promiscuous, claims black people blame too much of their problems on white people, and proclaims that the black church focuses too much on victimization and injustice rather than on motivation and self-empowerment.

Oh, and the character espousing the views is black: Thurgood Marshall (Goodie) Cumberbatch (portrayed by T. E. Russell), a college student who lives at home with his liberal parents.

He is the flip side of Rob Reiner's Meathead character in "All in the Family," constantly arguing with his blue-collar father, Ernie Cumberbatch (John Amos), over his political views and his relationship with his idealistic white Jewish girlfriend, Cherlyn Markowitz (Maura Tierney). Trying to hold the family together, even though she also disapproves of her son's interracial relationship, is Rose Cumberbatch (Lynnie Godfrey), a caterer with strong church ties.

One of the show's key behind-the-scenes players and one of the models for Goodie says it will suit him just fine if the character angers black viewers.

"Black people need to be made mad," said Armstrong Williams, a prominent African American conservative who is a creative consultant on "704 Hauser," which premieres Monday on CBS. With Williams, Spike Lee's motto, "Do the right thing," takes on a whole different flavor.

"The truth always hurts," Williams said by telephone from Washington, where he hosts a twice-weekly radio show, "The Right Side With Armstrong Williams."

"Black people need to be made uncomfortable. This show never forgets it's a comedy, but it also looks at how black people can complain about their problems. There's too much focus on victimization and 'blame whitey,' and not enough focus on helping ourselves and self-motivation."

Williams and producer Lear say that while Goodie may initially provoke black viewers, he ultimately will be accepted and admired by the audience.

"Goodie has something to believe in and he stands by it," said Williams, who also writes columns for USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.

"He believes in abstaining from sex. He doesn't smoke or drink. He doesn't see himself as a victim. Even though some of his belief system is not fully developed yet because of his youth, I think it is Goodie's ideas that will move black people forward. Most Americans in the long run will identify more with him than with his father."

Williams and Lear may look, at first glance, to be strange bedfellows to collaborate on a series. Lear is one of the more prominent liberals in the entertainment industry, lending his name to numerous causes. But both men said they truly respect each other's views, and that all the characters in the show--liberal and conservative--come across as strong and truthful.

"Certainly a lot of this will anger some people, but I don't think folks will turn it off," Lear said. " 'All in the Family' got people mad too, but they were interested in engaging in debate."

Russell, who plays Goodie, said he did not have difficulty relating to the character even though he is not affiliated with any particular party.

"Goodie just wants what's best for African Americans, and I agree with him on that," the 23-year-old actor said.

But Russell does part from his character in one major respect--he is not a member of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' fan club.

"I really don't know what that brother's problem is," Russell said. "Sometimes I wonder what country he's grown up in. I don't know about his decisions. But Goodie really looks up to him."

Despite his identification with Goodie, even Williams has trouble with aspects of the character--particularly his white girlfriend and his shaved head, a style that is not considered typical for young black conservatives.

"I'm really not so high on him having a white girlfriend," Williams said. "My parents had a problem with interracial dating, and even though it's the wrong way to think, it's deeply embedded in me."

Nevertheless, he said he understood Lear's reasoning that a white girlfriend would provide even more potential for conflict in the household.

Williams would also prefer that Goodie had a conservative haircut rather than no hair at all. "A lot of us have a problem with that. But, hey, nothing is ever going to be perfect."

Russell said he shaved his head as a concession to Lear and network executives who felt his receding hairline made him look too old for the part. "Goodie is just a regular brother who doesn't come in any prescribed package," the actor explained.

No matter what the public perception of "704 Hauser" ends up, Williams believes the show is a step forward from images presented on television shows such as "Martin" or "In Living Color."

"Those shows have no redeeming social values," Williams said. "I hope parents sit down with their kids to watch our show. They can point to Goodie and say, 'Kids, you have a new role model.' "

* "704 Hauser" premieres Monday at 8:30 p.m. on CBS (Channels 2 and 8).

A review from Variety

April 11, 1994 12:00AM PT
704 Hauser

By Tony Scott

Norman Lear’s name suggests a hot property, but the opening seg of “704 Hauser,” the Archie Bunkers’ old address, wavers between tepid and lukewarm in the pilot created by Lear and Mark E. Pollack and written by Lear and Kevin Heelan.

The hearty bursts of laughter on the soundtrack are inexplicable in light of the prop characters, dated dialogue and stale ideas, such as blacks’ attitudes and Jewish traditions. Unless the second episode dishes up something smarter and has something to say, the Hauser house will soon be vacant.

The black Cumberbatch family now lives at the Bunkers’ old address (and in a slot previously held by “Dave’s World,” which shifts to8 p.m.). Dad Ernie (John Amos), a Vietnam veteran and ex-civil rights fighter, stumbles along his liberal route; loyal wife Rose (Lynnie Godfrey), who tangles with Ernie over religion and over their conservative, 23-year-old son, Goodie (T.E. Russell), arbitrates arguments between the two men.Goodie’s another matter. While Ernie’s a top auto mechanic, Goodie, local Young Republicans chief, is appearing today on “Face the Nation.” An ultra-conservative, he’s in love with white, Jewish Cherlyn Markowitz (Moira Tierney), whose prime purpose in visiting 704 Hauser is that she’s supposed to be crazy for Goodie. Seems more like she’s the writers’ comedy fodder.

Adding a desperate connection to the Bunkers, Joey Stivic (Casey Siemaszko), son of Gloria and Meathead, drops by, introduces himself and is banished summarily to the kitchen because yet another verbal brushfire’s broken out in the living room.

Lear directed, but the results are anemic. Amos draws on considerable experience but can’t pull much out of this hat. Russell’s Goodie so far is tough to figure. Tierney forces the character of Cherlyn; Godfrey admirably limns strong Rose. Siemaszko’s Joey doesn’t have a chance.

All to the good, art director Bob Breen and production designer Don Roberts have changed little of the Bunker house interior. Archie’s spirit is all but tangible in the new series, committed to six episodes. Now, he’d have something to say!

704 Hauser

CBS, Mon. April 11, 8:30 p.m.

Production: Taped at Sunset Gower Studios by Act III TV, Castle Rock Entertainment and Columbia Pictures TV. Executive Producers/Creators, Norman Lear, Mark E. Pollack; Co-Executive Producers, John Baskin, Roger Sc

Cast: Cast: John Amos, Lynnie Godfrey, T.E. Russell, Moira Tierney, Bob Schieffer, Casey Siemaszko.

A Review from The New York Times

Review/Television; In Archie Bunker's Old House, a New Family Spins Jokes

Published: April 11, 1994

Norman Lear loves to be provocative. Back in 1971, he turned a lovable bigot named Archie Bunker and his shrewdly dizzy wife, Edith, into enduring pop-culture icons. Now he's giving the "All in the Family" format an updated spin in "704 Hauser," making its debut tonight on CBS. The family currently living in Archie's old house, 704 Hauser Street in Queens, is black. Bigotry, it seems, has no color boundaries, at least as far as ingrained sitcom shtick is concerned.

The head of the house in this instance is Ernie Cumberbatch, an auto mechanic played by John Amos, the actor whose father character in Mr. Lear's "Good Times" was summarily dispatched in a 1976 auto accident. Ernie's wife is Rose (Lynnie Godfrey) who, when not working for an upscale catering service, spends much of her time warning Ernie to have more respect for their church minister.

Ernie's 20-something son is Goodie (T. E. Russell), named for Thurgood Marshall but, much to liberal Ernie's consternation, bearing a stronger ideological resemblance to Clarence Thomas. Goodie's white Jewish girlfriend, Cherlyn Markowitz (Maura Tierney), is a kind of visiting anthropologist, listening to the family arguing in one-line-joke bites and then gushing over their ability to express feelings. "It's terrific," says Cherlyn.

Dropping in occasionally for a free meal is teen-aged Joey Stivic (Casey Siemaszko), Archie's grandson who, for some reason, is still curious about the site of his childhood. And so, the characters are in place, all too predictably.

Conservative Goodie gets to appear on "Face the Nation" so that he can preach abstinence to teens. Neither Ernie nor Rose is too happy about their son's relationship with a white woman, but then Cherlyn's parents aren't too happy about Goodie because, we're told, they can't stand his politics.

The series wanders widely but rather confusingly over the political landscape. The Jewish and black routines are especially queasy. When Goodie tells him he's going to synagogue with Cheryln to experience "a part of her life I don't know anything about," liberal Ernie responds: "Here's two bucks, go see 'Yentl.' " The underlying concept is out of kilter.

Next week's episode edges into more promising territory when Ernie and Goodie go shopping for clothes in a local store, only to have the store detective follow blue-collar Ernie around as if he were a thief. Worse, Goodie ends up apologizing for his father. "How are you going to reconcile all your theories with that?" the justifiably aggrieved Ernie asks his son; "704 Hauser" needs to do more of that kind of connecting with 1990's realities and attitudes. Jokey zingers are no longer enough, especially when they are not terribly funny. "All in the Family" invariably produced belly laughs. Two episodes of "704 Hauser" barely merit a smirk. 704 Hauser CBS, tonight at 8:30 (Channel 2 in New York) Created by Norman Lear and Mark E. Pollack; director of photography, Dan Kuleto; editor, Vince Humphrey; production designer, Bob Breen; produced by Patricia Fass Palmer for Act III Television in association with Castle Rock Entertainment and Columbia Pictures Television; co-producer, Walter Allen Bennett Jr.; co-executive producers, John Baskin and Roger Schulman; executive producers, Mr. Lear and Mr. Pollack. Ernest Cumberbatch . . . John Amos Rose Cumberbatch . . . Lynnie Godfrey Thurgood (Goodie) Marshall Cumberbatch . . . T. E. Russell Maura Tierney . . . Cherlyn Markowitz Joey Stivic . . . Casey Siemaszko

An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on April 15, 1994

Television News
Old Hat?
Norman Lear's new sitcom ''704 Hauser'' -- Set in the Archie Bunker House, just like ''All in the Family,'' Lear's newest sitcom still has a message of its own

By Benjamin Svetkey

I knew when I created this show that someday a journalist would come in here and accuse me or repeating myself, of stealing from my past, of reversing the All in the Family formula.'' Norman Lear slumps into the arms of his office chair. ''And here you are.''

Sorry about that, Norm. But the similarities between Lear's old Archie Bunker show and his latest sitcom, 704 Hauser, are kinda tough to ignore. For starters, the new series takes place in the same tacky tract house-704 Hauser Street in Queens, N.Y.-where Archie Bunker resided from 1971-1983. And while the show isn't about a loveable bigot and his left-wing, meathead son-in-law, it does feature a '60s-liberal African- American dad (John Amos) who's locked in ideological combat with his ultraconservative, Clarence Thomas-loving son (T.E. Russell). It also has a feisty, anti-Edith mom and a hot-to-trot potential daughter-in-law who happens to be-Socially Relevant Plot Point!-white and Jewish.

For Lear, 71, moving a black family into Archie's old abode is more than a gimmicky stroll down memory lane-it's a return to the territory that turned him into a TV legend. The success of All in the Family, the first sitcom to take on such TV taboos as racial prejudice and anti-Vietnam War protest, started a string of groundbreaking spin-offs that made Lear one of the most ace-high producers in TV history. Edith's cousin got her own show, Maude, in 1972. Maude's maid got a series, Good Times, in 1974. The Bunkers' neighbors moved on up to The Jeffersons in 1975. At one point in the mid-'70s, Lear was juggling seven series at the same time (including Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, and Mary Hartman, Mary Harman).But that was then. These days Lear is better known for his lefty advocacy organizations (People for the American Way,) The Business Enterprise Trust) and his reported $100 million 1987 divorce form his wife, Frances. His recent TV offerings-a.k.a. Pablo (1984), Sunday Dinner (1991), The Powers That Be (1992)-have all tanked. Question is, will his latest All in the Family riff recapture that old Bunker magic?

'' I'll tell you how the show came about,'' Lear offers while fielding phone calls in his sparsely furnished Hollywood office. ''I've been keeping the sets for All in The Family in storage since it went off the air. Every year my accountant calls and yells at me for spending money on storage bills. The last time he called, I happened to be reading Thomas Sowell, who is perhaps the most listened-to voice of black conservatism in the country. A true scholar. And the next day it just hit me-there's a show in a black liberal father and his conservative son living in Archie Bunker's old place.''

Being neither black nor conservative didn't daunt Lear in the least. To give 704 Hauser a dose of political verisimilitude, he hired right-wing black radio host Armstrong Williams as a creative consultant (''I make sure Lear's liberal writers don't turn the characters into conservative stereotypes,'' Williams says). Lear also cast Amos, who years earlier had left Good Times because of conflicts with him over creative and racial issues.

''At Good Times, I thought we should've had more black writers on staff,'' Amos recalls. ''I felt I should've been more involved in the development of scripts. But we don't have those fights on 704 Hauser. Lear is more willing to listen nowadays. He's mellowed. We've both mellowed. We actually enjoy working together.''

What they're working on, Lear makes a point of stressing, should not be construed as All in the Family: The Next Generation. ''I chose to set it in the Bunkers' house because I couldn't resist the theatricality of it,'' he says. ''But I could have set it anywhere. Its characters are totally different from All in the Family. Archie and Mike were fools-wonderful and delicious, but fools. The people in 704 Hauser are much more responsible. They know what they're talking about when they argue. That's one of the show's biggest differences.''

It may also turn out to be one of its biggest weaknesses. Some reviewers are already complaining that the show is too earnest for its own good, with its characters delivering more speeches than punch lines. Nevertheless, CBS is clearly putting its muscle behind Lear's project: The network has given the show a prime time slot, leading into Murphy Brown.

"I want the series to be entertaining, above all else," says Lear. "But I also want the show to have meaning. I'm a grown man. I don't play with toys. I'm a serious person. Everything I've ever done has been serious. This is a serious show."

Maybe so, but it would be a shame if Lear dusted off the formula for his most enduring masterpiece only to leave out a crucial ingredient-laughs.

A Review from the Deseret News


By Scott D. Pierce, Television Editor
Published: April 11, 1994 12:00 am

There's something familiar about "704 Hauser," and it's more than just the house.

This is indeed the home once occupied by Archie, Edith, Mike and Gloria. But producer Norman Lear's "704 Hauser" is more than just a sequel to his "All In the Family." In many ways it's a remake.The differences are obvious. The new occupants, the Cumberbatches, are black. They have a son whose girlfriend - a white Jew - they don't approve of, as opposed to Archie's disapproval of his daughter's husband.

And, politically, the generations have been reversed - father Ernest (Ernie) Cumberbatch (John Amos) is a liberal, while son Thurgood (Goodie) Marshall Cumberbatch is a conservative.

What's the same is even more obvious, however - the intergenerational conflict and sheer volume of those disputes.

Their discussions have a tendency to reach the point where Ernie is calling Goodie a skinhead or "Uncle Clarence Thomas Jr."

There's no dingbat at "704 Hauser" anymore. Rose Cumberbatch (Lynnie Godfrey) is a strong-willed, intelligent woman who speaks her mind.

"If I had the '70s to live again, in terms of `Good Times' and `The Jeffersons' and `Sanford and Son,' I'd have had a character in each show that spoke of his or her strong religious connection, because that is such an important aspect of black family life in our culture and always has been," Lear said. "And we didn't deal with that sufficiently at all in those years. With Lynnie's character in this show, I believe we will."

Tonight's pilot (7:30 p.m., Ch. 5) does tie "704" to `Family." Who should show up at the front door but a grown up Joey Stivic. He's back to visit the neighborhood, unsure that this is the right house.

But then he's witness to this exchange between the Cumberbatch father and son.

". . . Drives his father up the wall and the Oreo never even breaks a sweat," Ernie says.

"I am not an Oreo, Pop - and you are a bigot," Goodie responds.

"A black man can't be a bigot, son. Ha!"

"Tell that to a Korean, Dad. Ha! Ha!"

"Yeah, this is the right house, all right," Joey says.

(Joey's appearance is a one-time-only event.)

For all his obvious attempts to tie his new show to his old one, Lear firmly rejects the appraisal of "704 Hauser" as a modern version of "All in the Family."

"I don't consider it to be that at all," he said. "Neither Archie Bunker nor Michael Stivic really took responsibility for understanding their passions. Archie was all over the place, politically, in his thinking, and it was the intention for Mike to be the same. Nobody really did the homework.

"We're looking at this father and son differently. (Ernie) is a liberal because he understands what his liberal philosophy is all about and will take responsibility for that. The son, in this new breed of African-American conservatism, really knows what he's talking about and can speak to it quite eloquently. That is something totally different from the Bunker and Stivic characters."

That's a bit of subterfuge, however. The dynamics of the new show are patterned closely on the old, as are the characters.

Ernie is a smarter version of Archie, but he's much the same guy - even down to the wordless double take Amos employs in tonight's pilot that is exactly what Archie used to do.

And, like "All in the Family," "704 Hauser" tries to shock. Goodie's girlfriend tries to get him in bed, and he resists. Ernie mocks the minister at his wife's church and insults Jewish people.

"The first thing Norman said to me when the show was in a very nebulous stage was, `You know, John, this is going to be a very controversial show.' " Amos said.

But . . . it really isn't. This was the sort of thing that stirred things up when "All In the Family" debuted 23 years ago, but network TV has changed in the past two decades. Archie himself wouldn't cause much of a fuss these days.

Which is not to say that "704" doesn't work well. It is what it is - an updated, at this point lesser version of "All in the Family."

But the characters are good. The writing is pretty good. And the possibilities are there.

Maybe it can live up to its forefather. Maybe.

WHERE'S ARCHIE? Lear isn't sure where Archie Bunker is these days, but he knows he's out there.

"I don't think Archie Bunker's dead," he said. "I don't think we'll see him coming back to Hauser Street, because I don't think it would be our election to do so, but if we did, I don't think it would be Carroll's (O'Connor) election to go back to that character.

"But for me the character's alive someplace."

An Article from the CSM

`704 Hauser' Gives Archie Bunker Insight

New Norman Lear sitcom shows greater sophistication
By Marilynne S. Mason, Special to The Christian Science Monitor April 11, 1994

DENVER — WRITER/PRODUCER Norman Lear has done it again. His new sitcom, ``704 Hauser'' (which premieres tonight), is up to his old standards of social sagacity and wit. It's an ``All in the Family'' for our own time - just as funny, but more intelligent, perceptive, and ambitious in its arguments.

Mr. Lear sets a black family in Archie Bunker's old house. The father, Ernest Cumberbatch (John Amos), is a liberal; his wife, Rose (Lynnie Godfrey), is an independent thinker and a deeply religious Christian; their son, ``Goodie'' (T.E. Russell), is a neoconservative; and the son's girlfriend, Cherlyn (Maura Tierney), is white, liberal, and Jewish. Arguments between father and son, unlike those between Archie Bunker and his son-in-law, Mike Stivic, of ``All in the Family,'' are well-reasoned, informed, and reflective of provocative contemporary political and economic thinking.

In a recent phone interview, Lear spoke of the conception of the show. ``I could never bring myself to destroy the `All in the Family' set,'' he says. ``I had it in storage. I have an accountant who would call me every six months and say, `Why are you doing this? It's throwing money down a rat hole....''

``About 10 months ago, he called for the umpteenth time.... I was reading Thomas Sowell, a black conservative philosopher, and Shelby Steele. I woke up one morning and thought, why don't I use that set again and with a black family living there now - a liberal father, a veteran of the civil rights struggle of the '50s and '60s, who names his only son after his hero, Thurgood Marshall. [The son] is, ironically, growing up to be a Clarence Thomas.''

As soon as he thought of the father and son, Lear realized that he should set the story in another location, but he so enjoyed the theatricality and continuity of extending the life of the ``All in the Family'' set, he couldn't resist it. The first episode has Gloria and Mike's grown-up son, Joey Stivic, returning to the old homestead to look around. It works especially well for viewers who came of age watching ``All in the Family.'' It's interesting and often amusing to reflect on the changes in our society as reflected by the two shows. Those changes appear every day in the newspapers, as Lear points out.

``Since the holidays,'' he says, ``I have cut easily 30 articles out of the newspaper and thrown them in a file for references for further episodes should the show get picked up. Every day's paper and every week's magazines are full of ... topics [for] this show. Whether it's another attack on affirmative action, or [Louis] Farrakhan, or the desecration of a Jewish temple, or the welfare system, it's endless. Then Newsweek did a big story on middle-class blacks still battling racism. I was deeply touched by it - people asking themselves, will they ever realize in their lifetimes, a time when it won't matter that they are black - no matter how successful they are.''

``704 Hauser'' is far more complex than most sitcoms, and it is the challenge that excites Lear, he says. ``Neither Archie nor Mike really took responsibility for knowing what they were talking about. Archie got it all wrong, and Mike really argued out of a reflexive liberal passion. [``Goodie''] knows what he's talking about, and the same is true for his father.''

``704 Hauser'' ``is more difficult to make funny than `All in the Family' was, because we could rely on the outrageousness of Archie - his malaprops and his misinformation. But Ernest Cumberbatch is not misinformed, and he is not going to get laughs from saying things incorrectly.''

Working with Lear on the show are three African-American writers. Lear says the days the group spent combing their own lives for stories were wonderfully fascinating and educational for him. They all became quite close, and he learned a great deal about the frustrations of being an African-American.

Out of those frustrations comes one of the most poignant episodes in the show, Lear says. Ernest and Goodie go shopping for a sports coat at a fancy store and come home with two different versions of a confrontation between Ernest and the store detective - Ernest claims he was harassed and Goodie claims Ernest overreacted. Cherlyn knows the store owners, disappears for a while and returns with the security video tape. What the video tape reveals is more complex than a simple resolution of the disagreement.

Though Ernest's arguments are stronger in this episode, Lear really wants an equality of give-and-take. Father and son are both intelligent and knowledgeable, but they see things differently, and they each believe in different solutions. Still, the lively discussions reflect some of the hottest topics in America today.

Lear lays out his ambitions for the show: ``Over time, I hope the mother's deep religious feeling comes across,'' he says. ``And also Ernest's. Though he views it quite differently and has less patience with it, he is deeply religious.''

``I hope that the son's fresh thinking about social and economic matters from his conservative point of view will come across, too. I trust we will be faithful to the essence of that point of view.''

``I just think the discussion between liberal and conservative is a major discussion in our country. It has already affected the way we think.''

To watch some clips of 704 Hauser go to

For more on 704 Hauser go to

For a Page dedicated to 704 Hauser go to

For a look at the connection between All in the Family and 704 Hauser go to

To look at Archie Bunker's House go to

For some 704 Hauser-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to

To watch the opening credits go to
Date: Sun September 3, 2006 � Filesize: 20.1kb � Dimensions: 320 x 260 �
Keywords: 704 Hauser: Cast Photo


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  • To request any photos be removed, please use the "Report Photo" link that is the bottom of every photo if you are registered and logged in. This is the quickest and easiest method. You can also send an e-mail with the url(s) of the photo(s). We will also gladly credit or link to any site that is the original source of any photos.

  • User uploaded photos are used for promotional, informational and educational purposes. All images, logos, and other materials are copyright their respective owners. No rights are given or implied.

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