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Family Ties found its comedy through a suburban family made up of free-spirited liberal parents, their ultra-conservative son and other kids clashing in the Reagan era. Remember that simpler time when we could laugh about the differences between the left and the right without it turning into a nasty polarizing fight? The show ran from 1982 to 1989 and won multiple awards, including three consecutive Emmy’s for Michael J. Fox, who played the suit-wearing Alex P. Keaton to perfection. Here are some things you might not have known about NBC’s powerhouse Thursday night sitcom.

1. Matthew Broderick was actually the first choice to play Alex

Matthew Broderick was first offered the role of Alex but turned the part down because he didn’t want to move to Los Angeles. Gary David Goldberg was not initially interested in Michael J. Fox for the role but was convinced to see him read again. “So, [Weiner] calls him in, and I say, ‘Anything you want me to tell you?’ He goes, ‘No, just do it better, huh?’ And he gives me this little smile, and I’m thinking, ‘Matthew who?’ It was like ‘boom.’ He nailed it. He just played who he was, he played another side. He was Mike. And as soon as he left, I turned to Judith and I said, ‘This kid’s great. Why didn’t you tell me about him?’”

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