‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About Cheers
“Hey, what’s happening, Norm?”
“Well, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, Sammy, and I’m wearing Milk-Bone underwear.”
Despite the dog-eat-dog world we all live in, we still have reruns of Cheers to make life just a little bit better. Over the span of 11 seasons and 275 episodes, Cheers became one of the most beloved and critically celebrated shows of all time. It was nominated for an astounding 117 Emmys (winning a respectable 28), with every single cast member getting a nod at one point. It’s a show unlike any other, so let’s raise a drink and chug these trivia tidbits about the bar where everybody knows your name, and you’re less likely to get stabbed with a toe knife…
Norm’s first name in the show was actually revealed to be Hillary.
Malone the Mixologist
Ted Danson attended bartending school for two weeks to prepare for the role of Sam “Mayday” Malone.
Cheers to the New Arrivals
During the show’s third season, both Shelley Long and Rhea Perlman got pregnant, but only Perlman’s was incorporated into the show while Long was hidden behind the bar to disguise hers.
Rhea Perlman’s father, Phil Perlman, appeared in nearly every episode as the background character Phil.
John Ratzenberger Created His Own Character
Ratzenberger originally auditioned for the part of Norm. In his audition, he knew he didn’t get the role, but before leaving the room, he told the creators that the show needed a know-it-all Boston local. He then went into a character that became Cliff Clavin. Cliff was a recurring spot in the first season before becoming a regular from Season Two onwards.
Kelsey Grammer Only Signed on for Six Episodes
Grammer was only supposed to play Frasier Crane for six episodes in Season Three, but the character was so beloved that he ended up playing him for the next 20 years on both Cheers and Frasier. He has now revived the character for the Frasier reboot.
John Mahoney, who would go on to play Frasier’s father in Frasier, played a desperate jingle writer named Sy Flembeck in an episode.
Lots More Lilith
Similar to Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth was only supposed to appear in one episode as Lilith, but the writers enjoyed her so much that she kept coming back. She finally joined the opening credits in Season 10, revived her character on several episodes of Frasier and recently appeared in the Frasier reboot.
Too Many Tortellis
While Frasier is the better-known Cheers spin-off, there was another one called The Tortellis starring Dan Hedaya as Nick Tortelli, Carla’s sleazy ex-husband, and Jean Casem as his new wife, Loretta. It lasted just 13 episodes before being canceled, but every one of the Tortelli family members would later appear on Cheers. Carla also popped up in the show’s pilot in a dream sequence.
The Many Names of Paul Willson
It took Paul Willson’s recurring character, Paul Krapence, quite a while to settle on a name. He was called “Glenn” but credited as “Gregg” in Season One, and was also credited as “Tom” at one point. In Season Four, they began calling him “Paul,” which remained his name for the rest of the series.
When Danson decided he wanted to leave Cheers, Woody Harrelson was approached to become the show’s new lead, with Woody buying Cheers and Sam leaving. Harrelson refused.
Kirstie Alley as Diane
To break the ice when joining the cast as Shelley Long’s replacement, Kirstie Alley dressed up as Diane, complete with a blonde wig and a Diane-like dress. The cast thought it was hilarious, and it quickly endeared her to them.
A Tribute to Nicholas Colasanto
Backstage, actor Nicholas Colasanto, who played Coach, kept a picture of Geronimo in his locker. After Colasanto passed away during Season Three, the Geronimo picture was placed in the bar as a tribute. In the series finale, after Sam locks up, he straightens the picture for a final nod to both Coach and Colasanto.
Norm and Cliff Sued Paramount
After the series ended, Paramount opened miniature Cheers bars in airports featuring two animatronic characters named “Bob” and “Hank,” who were clearly meant to resemble Norm and Cliff. As a result, George Wendt and John Ratzenberger sued Paramount — and won — for using their likenesses without their authorization.
One for the Road
The final episode of Cheers was viewed live by 93 million people. Nearly 20 million more than Seinfeld’s finale (though it still places second to the M*A*S*H finale, which had 106 million viewers).