1973: Archie Bunker Meets George Jefferson
On this day in 1973, All in the Family's "lovable bigot" Archie Bunker finally met his next-door neighbor, the equally prejudiced George Jefferson. Bunker, played by Carroll O'Connor, and Jefferson, portrayed by Sherman Hemsley, remain two of television's most recognizable characters.
The Jefferson family moved into the house next door to the Bunkers during the popular CBS show's first season, and George's son and wife, Lionel and Louise (Mike Evans and Isabel Sanford) — as well as George's brother, Henry (Mel Stewart) — are frequently seen on the show. But, while often mentioned, George doesn't appear until the show's fourth season, in an episode titled "Henry's Farewell." (It is the only episode in which the Jefferson brothers appear together.)
George Jefferson's late arrival to the show was the result of Hemsley's commitment to the Broadway musical, Purlie. Hemsley was All in the Family creator Norman Lear's top choice for the role of George Jefferson, and Lear chose to hold the role for Hemsley until he was available.
On January, 18, 1975, less than two years after George's first appearance on All in the Family, the Jeffersons would "move on up" to their own long-running spinoff series, The Jeffersons.