All in the Family (1971–1979): Season 6, Episode 6 - Chain Letter - full transcript

Edith is busy mailing a series of chain letters thinking that good luck will befall her if she sends them and bad luck with pursue her if she doesn't. Archie thinks she crazy and then receives one himself, which he promptly throws in the wastebasket. Irene warns him about the dangers of throwing the letter away but Archie scoffs her suggestion. Almost immediately bad things begin to happen, the worst of which takes place at Kelcy's when Archie accidentally drinks beer from a glass that was previously used by Bert Munson - who has hepatitis. In a panic, Archie goes to the emergency room and not only runs afoul of a smart-Alec black doctor but a nurse without a sense of humor.

♪ Boy, the way
Glenn Miller played

♪ Songs that made the hit parade

♪ Guys like us, we had it made

♪ Those were the days

♪ And you knew
where you were then

♪ Girls were girls
and men were men

BOTH: ♪ Mister,
we could use a man

♪ Like Herbert Hoover again

♪ Didn't need no welfare state

♪ Everybody pulled his weight

BOTH: ♪ Gee, our
old LaSalle ran great

♪ Those were the days ♪

I'm home, Edith, and I'm hungry.

Oh, hello, Archie!

Jeez, I feel like I'm
being mugged here, Edith.

Just kiss me nice, huh?

Did you have a nice day?

No, I had a lousy day.

That's why I'm looking
forward to a beautiful dinner.

What have we got
tonight? Chicken.

I hate it.

We had it roasted on Tuesday.

Wednesday, we had it creamed.

Thursday, it had come
back hiding in a salad.

Tonight, we're gonna
have croquettes.

I hope it's making its
farewell appearance, Edith.

That chicken's been
doing more things dead

than it's ever done alive.

All right, get it on, get
it on, Colonel Sanders.



Hold it, hold it, hold
it. Get back here.

What's all this?

Chain letters. Chain letters?

Yeah. Listen to this.

"According to Saint
Timothy of Nicaragua

"who... who... who
originated this chain,

"if you send out
20 copies to friends

"by midnight tonight,

"good luck will visit
you within four days.

"But if you don't
send out the letters,

"ill fortune will move
into your home."

The Meathead just
moved out of here.

Come on, don't tell me
you believe in that junk.

You wanna hear what
happened to Carl Schultz

when he broke the chain?

No, I don't wanna hear what
happened to Carl Schultz.

"Carl Schultz... Oh, jeez.

"an animal trainer in the
Berlin Zoo broke the chain

"and two days later,
he got eaten by a tiger."

Now, Archie, that's bad luck.

Well, for Schultz,
not for the tiger.

You wanna hear what
happened to my Uncle Walter

when he broke a chain letter?

Don't tell me.

Uncle Walter lived
in San Francisco...

She tells me anyway.

On top of a hill.

And one day, he
tripped over his little dog

and he broke his hip.

So when the ambulance came,

and they wheeled Uncle
Walter out on a stretcher

and put him in the back,

they forgot to close the door.

So when the ambulance...

Uncle Walter rolled
down the back,

down the hill, across
Fisherman's Wharf

and into the bay.

Just missed the ferry, huh?

He was the fourth
uncle in my family

that died an unusual death,

but he was the only one
that got buried at sea.

Oh, that is nice.

What are you trying
to tell me, Edith?

That Walter wouldn't
have drowned

if he had sent out
20 chain letters?

Well, he was alive before
he didn't send them out.

I'm surprised that a woman
with all your education

is being so superstitious.

Oh, I ain't.

I just don't believe
in taking chances.

Like when we was kids

and we used to
walk on the sidewalk,

we'd say, "Step on a crack,
break your mother's back."

So I was always very careful
and never stepped on a crack.

But that is superstitious.

No, it ain't. I just
love my mother.

And she lived to be 78,

and she never had no
trouble with her back.

Knock wood.

What are you knocking wood for?

Nobody feels back
trouble in the ground.

I've been stepping on
cracks all my life, Edith.

When my mother died, she was
just as healthy as your dead mother.


Chain letters is only
sent out to dummies.

This one came for you.

Well, let me show
you what I'm gonna do

with this here one
right now. There.

Oh, it's not a bad
shot for a white guy.

Well, I ain't gonna
take no chances.

I'm gonna mail out my
letters by midnight tonight.

You're wasting your time.

Chain letters is sent out

by nutty people to
other nutty people there.

Now who sent them out?

Irene Lorenzo.

Oh, the top nut on a fruitcake!

I don't wanna hear
no more about it,

and I ain't gonna
have no bad luck.

Hi, Arch. I spoke too soon.

Don't you ever stay
in your own home?

Well, I asked him to
have dinner with us tonight.

Is Gloria eating here, too?

Well, if she gets through
with the store in time

to take an inventory.

How long is she
gonna keep on working

in her enormous condition?

Oh, modern mothers
work right up to the time

they become mothers.

See, Meathead, you got an
answer for everything, huh?

Ma, I see you've
got your chain letters

all stamped and
ready to go. Yeah.

If we put a stamp on you,
will you be ready to go?

You know, I wish
I had a hearing aid

so I could turn you off.

And whenever you
wanna turn you on me.

Mike, did you and Gloria
send out your chain letters?

No, no, Ma. We threw ours away.

What about you, Arch?

No, I sent mine on airmail
right into the basket there.

Of course I ain't got a
superstitious bone in my head.

Archie, when we took
a walk the other night

and you saw a black cat,

you made us walk the other way.

Well, that ain't superstition,
that's self-preservation.

You can't see a
black cat at night.

You could trip over a
black cat and kill yourself

like your dead Uncle
Walter had done.

Did I ever meet your
Uncle Walter? No, Mike.

He died before you met Gloria.

Yeah, he missed the San
Francisco ferry by six inches.

You see, Uncle Walter
lived in San Francisco

on top of the hill and one...
Ma, Ma, Ma, Ma, Ma, Ma,

is... is this gonna
be a long story?

Well... 'Cause I gotta
go to the bathroom.

Oh, well, go ahead.

I'll tell you later.

I'll remind you.


Can I come in?

Why didn't you ask us
that when you were still out?

Edith, can I borrow
a can of peas?

Oh, sure, Irene.

Hold it! Hold it!

Don't you already
owe us a can of corn?

Well, that's all right. We
owe her a can of asparagus.

So that'll even us out.

No, it won't. Asparagus
gives you body odor.

Well, go ahead. Sit
down if you have to.

Archie, you know, someday
I'm gonna walk in here

and you're gonna say,
"Hello, Irene" nice and sweet

and I'm gonna drop dead.

Hello, Irene.

Hey, hey, easy
on the couch there.

What do you think that is, huh?

That ain't no trampalone.

You're a nut, Irene, sending
out them chain letters.

You know, you got my
wife worried half to death.

What am I worried about, Archie?

About the chain letter I
chucked into the basket.

Oh, Edith, don't be worried.

I just sent those for laughs.

And you never can tell,
maybe they will bring good luck.

It did for Sara Selkirk.

BOTH: Who's Sara Selkirk?

You know, she's the one that
tried for years to have a baby.

And then she got a chain letter

and she made 20 copies,
gave it to the mailman,

in six weeks she was pregnant.

Oh! And you think the
chain letter had done that?

I think the mailman
had done that.

Excuse me!

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Look at this.

His whole life is racing
from the john to the kitchen,

from the kitchen
back to the john.

To him, the living
room is only a pit-stop.

Excuse me. Hold it. Hold it.

What do you got there,
a Polish swizzle stick?

No, a bigot's toothbrush.

You wanna help me there?


Uh, Mike! Mike, what happened?

MIKE: The toilet overflowed.

You need any help?

I think I can manage.

Oh, listen to that.

He lives next door,
he eats over here,

he ain't even got
the human kindness

to bust his own toilets.

Archie, do you think bad
luck is starting to come to us

because you threw your
chain letter in the basket?

Listen to this, listen to this.

You're making a nervous wreck

out of this poor,
simple woman here.

Good night, Irene.

Or in other words, get
your can out of here.

Hey, what do you know, Edith?

It's his own private brand.
The Jolly Green Grouch.

Say, don't it ever strike you
that that woman don't like me?

Archie, I wish
you wouldn't argue

with Irene so much.

She and me is best friends.

Well, what are we?

Well, we ain't
friends, we're married.

I couldn't fix it. I
better call the plumber.

You better pay the plumber, too.

Oh, I better get the mop.

Hey, Ma, something burning?

It's the chicken croquettes!

Burn, baby, burn!

How do you like that?
The plumber's line is busy.

The plumber's
line is always busy.

I'll call Irene. Oh, well,
you're gonna call Irene,

I'm gonna get the
hell out of here.

I'm going down to
Kelcy's. That's what I...



Ma, are you all right?

Oh, yeah, yeah,
yeah, I'm all right.

The oven door fell off
and I dropped the hot pan.

Gee, what else can happen?

Nothing. Edith's run
out of dead uncles.

Oh, Mike.

First, the toilet,

then the chicken,
then the oven door.

I think our bad
luck is really startin'.

Yeah, and what's worse
is that this here chain letter

come from Saint
Timothy in Nicaragua

telling everybody how
to have good luck, see?

Some luck he's got
stuck in Nicaragua.

Call me superstitious, Arch,
but I believe in chain letters,

especially a
religious one like that.

That is stupid.

I'm with Arch.

I didn't get any chain letter
but I had good luck today.

Picked up 28 fares and not
one of them pulled a knife on me.

I don't know, fellas,

but a customer of mine
broke a chain last year,

and you know what
happened to him?

No, and I don't wanna know.

Okay. I'll tell you what
happened to his widow.

Blow it out your
barracks bag, huh?

All them chain
letters is a racket.

They make millions on that.

And this one being
a Catholic one, see?

Saint Timothy in
Nicaragua there,

don't you think the church in it
for a big rake off on the stamps?

Are you awake?

Are you telling me the Pope
gets a kickback on chain letters?

I didn't say that, but
figure it out yourself.

He lives in a big
palace, don't he?

Got about $1,000
worth of paintings

on his ceiling alone.

Yeah, way bigger than
Elizabeth Taylor's is.

And he dresses better
than Jackie Monassis.

You don't pay for all that
stuff selling meatballs.

Okay, fellows, come on,
take your seats. Chug-a-lug.

Oh, here goes the
chug-a-lug there, Muns.

Come on, come on.
Get you money out.

Put your money
where your mouth is.

And you gotta take it all
in one breath, too, Muns.

I'll be watching your
Adam's apple there.

Oh, do I have
to, Arch? I don't...

Come on, Muns, sit down here.
Come on. You can get a round here.

Come on, come on.
Let's get through this.

Put your money up. Here we go.

Muns, you lost, you go first.

One, two, go.

ARCHIE: Take it easy.


Hey, Muns, you better
take out your teeth,

they're slowing you down.

I can't take anymore.

Sheesh! You didn't do
so good tonight, Muns.

Yeah, what's the
matter with you?

Like I told you, I've
been feeling lousy lately.

So, yesterday, I went to the doctor for
some tests to see what's wrong with me.

I'll tell you what's
wrong with you.

Your mouth is bigger
than your bladder.

Okay, Arch, your turn.

All right, here we
go, here we go.

One, two, go.


A humming bird could beat this.


Uh, one moment, let
me check the crowd.

Oh, yeah. He's here.
Hold on. Hey, Muns.

Muns, it's for you. A
dame. At least I think it is.

She got a voice like Godzilla.

That's my wife.

There's no sense in
going on. It's no contest.

Look, I got him
beaten already here.

Yeah, what do you want, Ramona?


Holy gee, I'm... I'm
leaving right away.

I'll call you later.

Hey, Muns, look how
easy Arch beat you.

Who cares? The
doctor just told my wife

that my tests came back
and I got infectious hepatitis

and I gotta get to the
hospital right away.



Poor Muns.

Boy, I sure feel sorry for him.

But as Doris Day used
to sing Que Seru Seru.

It goes to prove my point.
See, he didn't get no chain letter

and there he is with
infectious hepatitis.

I got a chain letter
and I busted it.

Look at me. Hey, I'm
sitting here like a king.

I'm gonna have a buck of head,
drinking a nice, big, cold beer.

From a pitcher which
Munson infected.

Edith, get in here! Get in here!

Oh, Archie, thank goodness!

No more bad luck, you're home...

I want you to stay away from
me, Edith. Stay away from me.

I got infectious
hepatitis, Edith.

I caught it drinking
beer with Munson.

Well, how did you do that?

If I live, I'll
explain it to you.

Don't ask me no
more questions now.

Get on the blower over
there and call a doctor.

All right. I gotta
lay down here.

Should I call Dr. Morgan
or Dr. Shapiro?

Morgan's only good for
headaches and colds.

When you're really
sick, call a Jew.

Okay, honey.

Oh, jeez.

I was a healthy man

till Irene Lorenzo mailed
me the kiss of death.

Hello, Dr. Shapiro,
this is Edith Bunker.

704 Hauser Street.

Would you please call
us as soon as you can

because my...

Hello, Dr. Shapiro,

this is Edith Bunker,
704 Hauser Street.

Would you please call
us as soon as you can

because my husband Archie Bunker

thinks he got infectious...

Hello, Dr. Shapiro...

Edith, what the hell are
you doing over there?

I'm talking to a tape recorder.

They say, "Give the
message when it beeps,"

but they don't give you
enough time between beeps.

Give me that telephone!

I got a beep for you Shapiro.

I ain't got time to
wait for the doctor.

I better get over
to that freebie,

hippie clinic on the boulevard.

Oh, Archie.

They say that hepatitis
can be very serious.

My Uncle Stanley died from it.

Don't be plantin'
me in the boneyard

with your dead
uncles. I ain't gone yet.

Now get away from me.
Stay away, Edith! Stay away!

Oh, jeez, look who's here.

Our friendly
neighborhood hit lady.

Stay away from me,
stay away from me!

Oh, Archie!

Will you call me as
soon as it's all over?

ARCHIE: If it's all over,
Edith, they'll call you.

Hey, nurse, I gotta
see a doctor right away.

You'll have to wait your turn.

Well, nurse, this
is an emergency.

They're all emergencies.
You'll have to wait your turn.

Listen, you don't know...

Hey, do like the
nurse says, pops.

Come on, sit down, man.

What, you a wise
guy or something?

You wanna be sitting next to
a man with infectious hepatitis?

It's better than what I got.

Stay away from me, you!

Oh, hey, hey, hey. Wait...
Wait a minute there, pal.

You gotta take your turn
over there with everybody else.

It's all right.

What do you mean "all right"?
What makes you so special?

I'm the doctor.

Oh, the doctor. MD.

Oh, well, listen, even so,
you gotta take me first and fast.

I can't do that.

But, Doctor, I've got
infectious hepatitis.

I'm a walking
bouquet of germs here.

What do you want me to do?
Start oozing bugs all over your joint?

Okay, follow me. Yeah, yeah.

Here I am. What do
you want me to do?

Uh, take off your
coat and have a seat.

Oh, yeah, yeah, I'll do
that right away, yeah.

Jeez, I hate these tables.

What makes you think
you have hepatitis, Mr...

Bunker, A. Bunker.

Uh, well, I'll tell you,
it... it started out this way.

See, I broke a chain letter.

And that gave you hepatitis?

Oh, I didn't have
it before I broke it.

And then right after that,

I was drinking beer
out of the same pitcher

with a buddy of mine who
is loaded with hepatitis.

Well, how do you
know your friend has it?

His wife Ramona told him.

And she got it straight
from their own doctor,

a regular white guy.

Nothing personal, I
mean, you understand me.

Oh, sure, I
understand you. Yeah.

Them white doctors,
they sure knows their stuff.

Boy, that Marcus Welby,

he must be make 15
million house calls a week.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.


Uh, you got a diploma?

From Harvard.

I won it in a crap game.

Well, Mr. Bunker, it's not likely
that you contacted hepatitis

just drinking from a
pitcher, but let's have a look.

Skin color looks good.

You, too, Doc.

Thanks, I always liked it.

Well, hold on. What are
you looking in my eyes for?

The beer is in my belly.

I'm... I'm looking
for signs of jaundice.

Well, hold on, hold
on. What is jaundice?

It's yellow discoloration.

Hold on, hold on, yellow.

You mean my eyes are
liable to chink up on me?

You're not exactly a liberal
thinker, are you, Mr. Bunker?

Oh, hey, I wouldn't say that.

I got respect for everybody,
irregardless of race or color or creed,

especially doctors working
on my personal body.

What's this?

I'm preparing a
gamma globulin shot.

Well, ain't they got
little pills for that?

I'm afraid not.

Does that cure me?

Well, it should.

But if you wants to make sure,

why don't you rub
my head for luck?

Come on, Doc. Gee, I
ain't believed in that in years.

Doctor, the ambulance has
just pulled up with an emergency.

Oh, okay, Blake. Uh,
give Bunker his shot.

Oh, the nurse is gonna
give it to me, huh?

Oh, jeez. Look at
the size of that needle.

Well, I bet you can almost
harpoon a whale with that, huh?

Oh, it's not so bad. Yeah.

All right, Mr. Bunker,
let's have our shot.

Oh, yeah, sure.

Not there.

Oh, well, all right.

Oh, wait a minute.

I mean, if it's gonna
go any place else,

you better get the
doctor back in here.

Turn around and drop your pants.

Come on, you're a lady.

I'm a registered nurse.

Believe me, yours
won't be my first.

Drop 'em.

You mean, all the way down?

Mr. Bunker, I have
patients waiting out there.

All right, all right!
Don't yell at me, huh?


Now the shorts.


I hate to say this but a nice girl
would shoot me through the shorts.

The shorts!

I feel like a flasher.

Don't be embarrassed,
Mr. Bunker.

To me it's just another
face in the crowd.

Oh, please, Archie, call.

Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring!

Well, Ma, Irene did it
again, she fixed the john.

Oh, thanks, Irene.

Any word from Archie?

No, and I'm so worried.

I hope it don't take four days

for my luck to turn good again.

Now, Edith, don't
blame yourself.

Oh, I ain't blaming myself.
I ain't blaming nobody,

'cause them chain letters
don't bring good luck or bad luck.

All they do is scare
people half to death.

You're right.

And I ought to kick myself
for starting all this nonsense.

But I'm sure when
Archie gets home,

he'll be glad to do it for me.

Edith, I'm back. Oh!

Archie, how do you feel?

It feels awful, Edith.
Oh, awful, Edith.

You're gonna die when I tell
you what they'd done to me.

Oh, look who's back again.

Dracula's plumber.

I'm sorry to disappoint
you, Irene, but I'm still alive.

Oh! Gee, oh!

Well, why are you
walking that way?

'Cause if I walk
this way it hurts me!

Archie, I... I gotta
say something.

I should never have
sent you that silly letter.

I was wrong.
You're always wrong.

And I missed my supper.

I'll go out here to the kitchen
and scrounge for something.

I hope you got something I
can eat standing up, Edith.

That's all I can say to you.


Why did you open that door?

Well, that's the only way to
get in here from the kitchen.

Hey, Arch, did you
hear the good news?

Irene fixed the toilet.

Why should that be
good news to me?

I ain't gonna be able
to sit on it for a month.

Get out of the way!
Get out of the way!

You're always doing
the wrong thing!


Help! Edith, help me up!

the Family was recorded on tape

before a live audience.