Clip | Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me - Norman Lear on how Sammy Davis, Jr. Broke Barriers on Television

Norman Lear talks about Sammy Davis, Jr.’s guest appearance on All in the Family and how it became an iconic television moment.
Premieres Tuesday, February 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with exclusive bonus performance footage. Available on DVD February 19 via PBS Distribution. Streams Wednesday, February 20 via pbs.org/americanmasters and PBS apps.
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- Television at the time was still a very conservative medium, and there weren't that many shows at the time addressing racial issues.

- Guess what famous and important personality I carried as a pass in my cab today - Oh tell us - Oh no you ain't gonna get it outta me that easy.

Come on you gotta guess for this one.

- Alright, let's try I'll go first.

Living or dead?

(audience laughing) - Sammy was a great fan of the show and he hounded me.

He just had to do the show.

He loved the show.

And I said to him we don't do guest stars or there are no guest stars.

- Mr. Bunker.

(audience clapping) - [Norman] Once we had a good reason why he would be in the show, I was comfortable with it.

- Come on in Mr. Davis.

Come on - Mr. Davis it's an honor - I should tell you that a lot of what occurred was a result of Sammy.

- You're being colored, well I know you had no choice in that.

(audience laughing) But whatever made you turn jew?

- He was as much a writer as he was a performer.

And the kiss was his idea.

- One, two, three (audience laughing) - Goodbye Mrs. Bunker.

Peace and love.

- Well to the extent that that kiss is an iconic television moment.

A black man was putting his lips on a white cheek.

Now, as silly as that sounds that that should be a national incident, it was then because nobody had ever seen that before.