A Fan Favorite All In The Family Scene Was Completely Improvised


Reiner said that, even decades after it aired, fans will approach him saying that the sock-shoe scene remains their favorite “All in the Family” moment. He recalled the bit well, relating the dialogue. Reiner said:

“Most people come up to me — after over 200 shows! — they’ll say the scene I remember most is when you and Archie discussed how you put socks and shoes on. We had this scene that just happened. It was improvised. I was I was putting my socks and shoes. He walked in and he goes ‘What are you doing?’ This was all improvised. He said ‘What are you doing? You don’t put your socks and shoes on like that. I says ‘What are you talkin’ about? He says ‘You don’t put a sock and a shoe and a sock in a shoe! You put a sock and a sock and a shoe and a shoe!’ […] And we just improvised the whole thing.” 

Watching the scene, it’s hard to tell that it was improvised. Reiner and O’Connor speak in a quick, extemporaneous fashion, but they speak with such clarity and confidence, that one might swear that it was scripted. Reiner went on to explain how they shot “All in the Family” in front of a live audience, and how, by the end of the series, everything clicked. Each member of the central cast was, by that point, so savvy at reading each other and so comfortable with their characters, that improvisation became natural for them. Indeed, Reiner recalled an instance in the show’s eighth and final season when everyone was able to invent an entire scene on the spot.

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