WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME
Cheers TV Show: From September 1982 to May 1993 on Thursday nights you could visit a little bar on Beacon Street in Boston, Massachusetts “Where everybody knew your name”. This was the catchy opening song of the mega hit television series, Cheers.
The Cheers TV Show , produced by Charles-Burrows-Charles Productions in association with Paramount Television for NBC, was voted “best television show that has ever been” by GQ Magazine. The entire show, for 11 seasons, took place in this little Boston hometown bar with all story lines centered around essentially the same ever popular cast of characters. In fact, in this show perhaps more than any other, the cast was the show.
CHEERS TV SHOW CAST
Sam Malone (Ted Danson) – The Boston bar was owned and operated by an ex Red Sox relief pitcher and recovering alcoholic named Sam Malone. Sam was a very charismatic womanizer. He also could be labeled your typical “dumb jock” as he lacked common sense. Liked by nearly everybody, Sammy could get almost anybody to do anything for him whenever he wanted; Everyone except Diane that is.
Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) – Jilted by her fiance, Diane came into the bar one day looking for a waitressing job. She was accustomed to more professional level jobs, but finding herself in a bind, she decided to settle for a job as a waitress. Diane was almost a caricature of an intellectual and butted heads with Sam as they both appeared to find each other to be annoying. As the season progressed Diane and Sam grew to have bantering, sexually charged exchanges, and they moved in and out of being involved in relationships with each other.
Norm Peterson (George Wendt) – “Norm!” Whenever Norm walked into the bar he was met with a fond greeting from all the patrons. Norm was a likable teddy bear type of guy. He was a beer loving customer. Norm seemed to spend a lot of time at Cheers as he was a struggling accountant, in and out of work. He also had a bit of a love/hate relationship with his wife, Vera, so he would rather not be at home if he had the choice
Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) – Cliff, a socially awkward, middle-aged postal worker is best friends with Norm. Cliff had a strange, at best , clearly enmeshed relationship with his mother. He still lived with her and they were quite attached to each other.
Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman) – Carla Tortelli was a loud mouthed single mother of 8 children. In fact, when the show began, Carla had 5 children. As the show progressed Carla had three more. Carla was divorced at the beginning of the show and eventually married a famous hockey player who ended up getting killed. Throughout the show Carla has a “thing” for Sam although it is never reciprocated.
Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) – A sideline yet popular character is that of Frasier Crane. He was a boyfriend that Diane eventually got into a relationship with after she had dated Sam. He’s an intellectual like Diane and is a psychiatrist. Unlike Diane, Frasier had the ability to laugh at himself a little bit so he had an easier time fitting in with the gang at the Cheers TV Show. Ultimately, Diane and Frasier broke up, and Frasier dated and married Lilith Sternin (Bebe Neuwirth) who was another psychiatrist and a very stiff personality. The two made a very hysterical addition to the cast.
“Coach” Ernie Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto) – Coach, one of the most beloved characters on Cheers was the very first bartender at Cheers. He was just what his nickname implied, an ex baseball coach who used to work with Sam on the Red Sox. Sam’s love and devotion for Coach was obvious. Even though it was clear that Coach wasn’t always playing with “a full deck of cards” and made a decent amount of mistakes, Sam had all the patience in the world for Coach. He was the cornerstone of the Cheers TV Show
Woody Boyd (Woody Harrleson) – Woody Boyd was bartender number two. Woody came along on the show because Nicholas Colasanto died in the third season. Nicholas Colasanto’s character, “Coach” Ernie Pantusso was perhaps the most likable character on the show. When Nicholas Colasanto died, Woody Harrleson took over as bartender. The role was very much a younger version of the Coach role, as Woody Boyd was also not playing with “a full deck of cards”. Woody was a very likable character as well. It was not as though Coach was not missed, but for the show to have a hit with 2 characters in virtually the same role was an amazing accomplishment!
Rebbeca Howe (Kirstie Alley) – If it wasn’t enough to have a hit with 2 characters in the same role one time, how about two times? At the end of season 5 Shelley Long decided not to renew her contract with Cheers. As a result they switched up the show a bit. They had Sam sell Cheers and go out and pursue his dreams of owning a boat. When his dreams didn’t pan out, he came back to working at the bar as an employee.
Cheers was now owned by a corporation and was being managed by a woman by the name of Rebecca Howe. Rebecca was a very success driven workaholic who saw herself as above Sam. Sam was attracted to Rebecca but at the same time saw her as a snob. Rebecca didn’t feel like she had time for Sam. Ultimately, Sam and Rebecca have a very similar banter filled, sexually charged relationship as Sam and Diane did. The exchanges between them, like the ones between Sam and Diane, also made for a very successful dynamic.
Little Known Facts About the CHEERS TV Show
The bar was actually modeled after an actual Cheers bar on Beacon Street in Boston, Massachusetts.
Shelley Long was pregnant during season 3 which is why she never came out from behind the bar.
When we first meet Sam in the first show he walks out of the pool room. The last take of him in the last show he walks back into the pool room.
Sam was originally supposed to have been a football player instead of a baseball player.
Cheers TV Show Theme Song
There is a longer full length version of the show’s theme song, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”. The song was written by Gary Portney and Judy Hart Angelo and performed by Gary Portney.
Norm’s (George Wendt) real life wife played his wife, Vera, in the show.
Cheers had 2 spin offs, Frasier (1993-2004) and The Tortellis (1987).
Cheers was nominated for 180 awards and won 77.
The character of Frasier Crane was originally written for John Lithgow, but he turned it down because he didn’t want to do television.
Hilary Norman Peterson is Norm’s full name.
16 was Sam’s Red Sox jersey number.
Diane’s cat’s name was Elizabeth Barrett Browning after the famous poet.
Sam Malone’s older brother’s name was Derek.
Sam’s Boston Red Sox nickname was Mayday.
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