Facts About The Iconic Show ‘Cheers’ That’ll Make You Love It Even More
Sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name. But instead, you turn on the TV show Cheers, where nobody knows your name, because they’re just actors on a TV show and not your actual friends, even though they seem like it. They know each other’s names, but they don’t know your name, because even if you shout it at the TV screen, they can’t hear it. That’s how TV works. You can hear and see the people on it, but they can’t see you. If Cheers was a play instead of a TV show, and you started yelling your names at the actors, then maybe they might know your name. And you’d also probably get kicked out.
Even if you’re a huge fan of the show, there’s probably a lot your don’t know about it. Sure, you know all of the character’s names, but do you really know them?
It's A Real Bar
The bar used in the exterior shots of Cheers isn’t a soundstage, like the interior is.
The bar that we see on TV is a real bar in Boston that used to be called the Bull and Finch Pub.
After the show starting airing, people began to flock to the actual bar that they saw on TV. The owners of the bar decided to capitalize on the popularity and changed the name of the bar to Cheers.
The Show Didn't Have A Laugh Track
Some TV shows used canned laughter to make the in studio laughter to seem a little bit more robust.
But some people in the at home audiences heard more laughter than they were happy with and complained about the excessive use of canned laughter in the show.
It turns out that the show actually didn’t boost the laughs with a laugh track. The laughter heard on the show is actually and only from the in studio audience.
Ted Danson Was The Highest Paid Actor On TV
Cheers was a super popular TV show, so much so that it was able to pay its actors really well.
When the show ended in 1993, Ted Danson was the highest paid actor on TV at the time.
Of course, Danson hasn’t done too bad for himself since. The actor later appeared on shows like Becker, The Good Place, and C.S.I. Although, were’ re pretty sure the actor doesn’t need to work another day in his life because of Cheers.
Ted Danson Wore A Hair Piece
Sam Malone has a great head of hair, but that’s because Ted Danson got a little help thanks to a hair piece.
The hair piece was actually pretty obvious, so much so that the writers decided to include it in an episode.
In one episode, Danson actually took off the hairpiece when he was acting against Rhea Perlman. He broke the first rule of hair pieces which is that you never, ever take off your hairpiece in public.
Norm Wasn't Supposed To Be In The Show
We can’t imagine the show without Norm, but the creators of Cheers actually did at one point.
Norm wasn’t supposed to be in the show as much as he ended up being in it. Norm was supposed to have only a few jokes in the pilot episode.
But George Wendt did such a great job playing Norm that the writers decided to keep him in the show. And we’re glad that they did, because Norm is the best.
Rhea Perlman's Love Interest Got Himself Fired
Rhea Perlman’s character, Carla, had a many love interests during the show’s run, but one was pretty bad.
The character was named Eddie, and he was played by the actor Jay Thomas. Thomas made mean comments about Perlman on his radio show and ruined his whole run on Cheers.
After Thomas talked about Perlman, he never appeared on the show again. Yeah, so maybe don’t criticize the person you’re playing opposite of when you’re appearing in a popular show?
Some Of Cliff's Facts Were Improvised
Cliff Clavin, played by actor John Ratzenberger, was known for spouting off random facts in the bar.
At first, the writers wrote facts for Ratzenberger to say when he was in character, but as the show grew, the writers began to trust Ratzenberger more and more.
They eventually let Ratzenberger improvise many of his classic Cliff facts. After he left Cheers, Ratzenberger would go on to have a successful voice over career. Do you think they let him improvise in Toy Story, too?
Fraser's Dad Wasn't Actually Dead
When he was on the show, Fraser, played by Kelsey Grammer’s, father was actually dead.
But when Fraser got his own spin off, the writers wanted us to be able to see his dad, who was much different than both Niles and Fraser.
They had a very simple explanation. They said that Fraser told everyone that his dad was dead out of anger. It’s not a nice thing to do, but it’s totally beleieveable and that’s what matters.
Sam Was Supposed To Be A Football Player
In the original script for Cheers, Sam was supposed to be an ex-football player, not an ex-baseball player.
But once Ted Danson was cast in the part, they ended up changing Sam’s past in order to match the actor.
They felt that with Danson’s figure, it would make more sense for the actor to have been a former baseball player instead of a former football player. We totally get it. Danson looks like he has a better pitching arm.
The Show Didn't Promote Drinking And Driving
The show is set at a bar, so it makes sense that we’d see a lot of people drinking on TV.
But we didn’t see anyone drinking and driving, and that’s because the show didn’t want to promote anyone driving themselves home after hitting the bar.
The writers included the details of characters taking cabs home or having a designated driver so that people would know that they weren’t driving after a night of drinking at the bar.
John Lithgow Almost Played Fraser
Kelsey Grammer did such a great job as Fraser that he earned himself his own spin off show – and a successful one at that.
But Grammer wasn’t the person that the show creators had in mind for the part initially.
John Lithgow was up for the part of Fraser. We know that Lithgow would have knocked it out of the part, but honestly, we prefer him playing a closeted alien on Third Rock From the Sun instead.
There Was Supposed To Be An Episode That Promoted Bonds
Having a designated driver wasn’t the only thing that Cheers was supposed to promote on the show.
The U.S. Treasury Department wanted to use the popularity of Cheers to promote the use of savings bonds, weirdly enough.
The Treasury Department hired a creative team and they made a mini-episode centered around the subject. The episode never ended up airing, and you can’t find it in any of the DVDs of the show. We’ll never know the importance of savings bonds.
It Was Turned Into A Play
The show ended in 1993, but Cheers will forever live on in our hearts, and also on the theater stage.
In 2016, someone actually turned Cheers into a two hour stage play, a departure from the 30 minute TV show.
Honestly, if this show was anything like Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, we would go see it on opening night. For some weird reason, we want to see Norm and Cliff fly around on wires and crash into things, but not Sam and Diane.
It Was Also A Video Game
Cheers wasn’t just turned into a stage play. It was also, for some weird reason, turned into a video game.
The creators of Fallout 4 actually designed a fully rendered version of the bar from Cheers.
We’re not sure that a bunch of people sitting around and drinking and having personal problems makes the most exciting video game, but then again, it’s probably more fun than a lot of games out there. And a 12-year-old isn’t going to insult you through a headset.
Ted Danson Went To Bartending School
If it looks like Ted Danson knows what he’s doing behind the bar, it’s because he does.
Before they began filming on Cheers, Ted Danson went to bartending school in order to prepare for his role playing a bartender.
So if you’re ever at Ted Danson’s house and you ask him to make you a drink, he’ll totally know how to do it. Even if you just ask hi for a beer, he’ll totally know the right way to take the cap off.
The Cast Watched The Last Episode At The Cheers Bar
When the show was ending, the whole cast got together and actually watched the final episode together.
They watched the final episode at the Bull and Finch bar, which was the actual bar that was used for the exterior shots in Boston.
Since they were in a bar, the cast ended up getting quite drunk, and then went on the Jay Leno show right after. We can’t imagine how entraining that must have been. We hope they all got DDs.
Shelly Long Wasn't A Fan Of Kelsey Grammer
When Kelsey Grammer joined the cast as Fraser, Shelley Long wasn’t a fan and wanted him gone from the show.
“Shelley’s efforts to get me off the show were relentless,” Grammer wrote in his autobiography. “I learned after read-throughs she would insist the writers took out every laugh I had.”
Long denies the fact that she wanted Grammer off the show. Who knew that there was a feud going on between Shelley Long and Kelsey Grammer of all people?
The Show Was Very Popular
Cheers ended up being a hit show, although you wouldn’t have known that from the way the first season did.
The first season of the show didn’t do so well in the ratings. They ended up getting it together, and the show had one of the highest watched season finales in all of TV history. A whopping 84 million people tuned in to see the ending of Cheers.
It turns out everyone wants to go where everyone knows your name.
John Ratzenberger Got To Make Up His Character
Not only did Ratzenberger get to improvise his lines, he got to make up a lot of his character, too.
“None of the creators was from New England. They were were all Hollywood-centered,” Ratzenberger told Ability Magazine.
“And I said, ‘Well, every local bar in New England has got a know-it-all — someone who pretends to have the knowledge of all mankind between his ears and is not shy about sharing it.’”
A Cheers Reunion Isn't Going To Happen
We all want to see everyone at the bar get back together, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
“We never even considered doing any kind of reunion show,” producer Glen Charles said. “Sam alone at the bar was the last image we wanted. That’s where the show started and where it ended.”
We wish that they’d change their mind, but we totally get it. JK. We totally don’t.