(NEW YORK) -- The groundbreaking sitcom All in the Family, starring the late Carroll O'Connor as the abrasive blue-collar racist Archie Bunker, premiered 40 years ago on Wednesday.
The show, which aired from 1971-1979, is credited as the first sitcom to address sensitive topics, such as racism, homophobia, rape and the Vietnam War. Though it may seem ridiculous now, All in the Family was also the first major American TV show to feature the sound of a flushing toilet, which was generally considered taboo on television until then.
Produced by Norman Lear for CBS, All in the Family was based on the late 1960s British TV sitcom Till Death Us Do Part.
In addition to O'Connor, All in the Family starred Jean Stapleton as Archie's loving but dim-witted wife Edith, Sally Struthers as their "liberated" daughter, Gloria, and Rob Reiner as their son-in-law, Michael "Meathead" Stivic, who was as liberal as Bunker was conservative. All four actors won Emmys for their work on the show.
All in the Family was the top-rated show from 1971-1976. It spawned two successful spin-offs, Maude and The Jeffersons, as well as Archie Bunker's Place and other series.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio