People love going where everyone knows their name. Well, at Cheers, the bar from the wildly popular classic television show named after the sud-slingin’ spot, they do! Amazingly, when Cheers first hit the air, television viewers didn’t exactly take to it as quickly as producers hoped. However, it eventually solidified itself as one of the greatest shows of all time.
Of course, a show that sees so much success doesn’t come without a hefty amount of behind-the-scenes secrets and little-known facts. By the time you brush up on this Cheers trivia — along with some great then-and-now photos of the stars — you’ll feel like a regular at the bar…
1. The outside camera shot of the bar was an actual Boston establishment called The Bull & Finch Pub. Once the pub’s owners realized Cheers was driving up the business like mad, they officially changed the name to… Cheers!
2. One frequent complaint from viewers was the excessive volume of the show’s laugh track. Amazingly, though, the show didn’t actually have one. The studio audience was genuinely belting out incredibly loud laughter.
3. The casting director of Cheers certainly didn’t have to stretch too far to find Woody Harrelson’s character’s name, Woody Boyd. The country-turned-city-boy role helped launch Harrelson’s very successful career.
4. Something that played a major part in several storylines throughout the series wasn’t a character at all, but a car. Ted Danson’s red corvette proved vital in helping his character finance the bar.
5. When Cheers finally came to an end in 1993, Ted Danson was the highest paid star on television. Since his role as Sam Malone, the Red Sox pitcher-turned-bar-owner, he’s kept extremely busy with popular shows like C.S.I. and The Good Place.
6. The notoriously-obvious hairpiece Danson wore in the show wasn’t to be ignored by the writing staff; they actually had Danson tear it off to Perlman in a startling but hilarious scene.
7. When Cheers first started, Norm was only supposed to be an extra meant for one or two jokes in the pilot episode. However, audiences genuinely enjoyed the warmth George Wendt gave the character, and he became part of the main cast.
8. Actress Rhea Perlman played the sharp-tongued waitress Carla Tortelli, and her character was frequently in different relationships. However, in reality, the actress has been happily married to Danny DeVito for many years.
9. Actor Jay Thomas who played Rhea Perlman’s love interest, Eddie, had himself a pretty sweet gig until he ruined the whole thing on his radio show. After making cruel comments about Perlman, Thomas was never seen on the show again.
10. Cliff Clavin, the man who loved to drink alongside Norm, was played by John Ratzenberger, who went on to have a very successful voiceover career, especially with Pixar movies. Can you believe the know-it-all mailman from Cheers also voiced Hamm from Toy Story?
11. Cliff Clavin was also famous for spewing random facts to his fellow bar patrons. While a script was always provided, writers grew comfortable with Ratzenberger improvising many of the “facts” in later seasons.
12. The character of Frasier Crane quickly became a regular cast member after actor Kelsey Grammer brought him to life. Once Cheers ended, Frasier landed a massively successful spin-off series that earned him four Emmy awards.
13. When the Frasier spinoff debuted, creators wanted the title character’s father to play a role, but there was one huge problem: writers killed him off during the Cheers run. They cleverly avoided the pitfall by having Frasier claim he merely told people his father was dead out of anger.
14. Cast members from Cheers would make frequent appearances on Frasier; that is, everyone except Kirstie Alley. A Scientologist, she didn’t align herself with the show’s heavy psychiatric theme.
15. The chemistry between actress BeBe Neuwirth’s character, Lilith Sternin, and Frasier Crane was immediately felt by audiences, and the Tony-winning actress appeared frequently on Frasier after Cheers ended.
16. Ted Danson’s character was once a baseball player, but the original script called for him to be an ex-football player. The writers felt baseball better matched the physical build of Danson once he was cast.
17. One major storyline that never saw the light of day was an HIV scare between Danson’s character and an ex-girlfriend at the very end of the sixth season. However, due to a writer’s strike, the storyline was canceled.
18. The creators of the show were very much aware of unintentionally promoting drinking and driving, so they always made sure to include designated drivers and cabs throughout the episodes.
19. It’s hard to picture a person other than Kelsey Grammer pulling off Frasier Crane’s personality, but the role was originally written with John Lithgow in mind. Lithgow declined, and Grammer stepped up to own the role.
20. Fans had their doubts the show could survive the sixth-season replacement of Shelly Long’s character by newcomer Kirstie Alley, but Alley was a welcome addition. She also went on to become a spokesperson for the wildly popular Jenny Craig weight loss program.
21. Actress Shelley Long played Ted Danson’s love interest for the first five seasons and was an integral part of the show. However, when she quit to pursue a movie career, she never hit the level of fame people thought she would.
22. The United States Treasury Department tried to promote the use of savings bonds through Cheers by hiring a creative team to make a mini-episode about the bonds. However, it was never aired and is contained in none of the DVD collections.
23. Just because a show ends doesn’t mean the fans don’t still crave more from it. Cheers may have stopped its run 25 years ago, but in 2016, the first season was adapted into a two-hour stage play.
24. Cheers hit long before video games became popular, but that didn’t stop the creators of Fallout 4, the wildly successful PlayStation game, from designing a fully rendered version of the bar. The place has clearly seen better days.
25. Even though he was only an actor, you probably got the impression Ted Danson felt comfortable behind the bar serving drinks. This is because he actually attended bartending school prior to the show — so he knew exactly what he was doing.
26. While the first season didn’t pull in high ratings, the Cheers creators quickly found a working formula, and the series finale was one of the most watched in history (nearly 84 million people!).
27. The cast of the show watched the series finale at The Bull & Finch Pub and heavily indulged in alcohol. Later that night they all appeared on Jay Leno’s late-night show and drunkenly entertained everyone in the room, including themselves.
Shows about groups of friends like the ones on Cheers make for great TV fodder and so do TV shows about family. When Cheers was making us laugh until our sides hurt, so was another show about life for the average American family…
1. The show’s original name: Before settling on the now-iconic name, producers used another name for what would eventually become Married… With Children: Not The Cosbys.
2. The show made people mad: Certain circles of folks weren’t exactly jumping for joy when they saw Kelly’s skimpy outfits and flirtatious behavior broadcasted into their living room at prime time. They filed several formal complaints.
3. These complaints made the show popular: Married… With Children really took off once a family activist started a letter writing campaign to condemn the show for anti-family values. Once in the media spotlight, the show flourished.
4. Ed O’Neil’s killer audition: To win the role of Al Bundy, O’Neil was given a simple task: walk through the front door of the Bundy home. Before doing so, O’Neil slumped his shoulders and sighed, and that sealed the deal.
5. Don’t mess with Al: You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but Ed O’Neil could probably kick your butt. The actor has a black belt in Brazilian jujitsu!
6. Katey Sagal’s audition: When trying out for the part of Peggy, Sagal wore a short dress, tons of makeup, and her hair up all big and tall. In other words, she dressed as she envisioned Peggy, and producers appreciated that.
7. The other Al Bundy: Before producers awarded Ed O’Neil the iconic role, there was another in contention for the part of Al Bundy, Michael Richards! Had he earned the role, he might not have ever played Kramer on Seinfeld.
8. Producer’s other choices: Ed O’Neil and Katey Sagal were not the first choices for Al and Peggy. Producers originally selected Sam Kinison and Roseanne Barr for the roles, but apparently, those selections fell through.
9. It was expensive to produce: Every episode of the show cost Fox $1 million to make, an exorbitant fee given that episodes weren’t exactly brimming with special effects and explosions.
10. Ed O’Neil’s birthday surprises: A true man of the people, O’Neil often called fans on their birthdays or holidays; a man true to his character, O’Neil only made these calls collect, meaning the recipient had to accept the charges.
11. The Dodge’s secret: Al Bundy frequently referred to his “mighty Dodge,” but the car wasn’t actually a Dodge at all. It was a 1972 Plymouth Duster.
12. The lost episode: Fox refused to air a season three episode titled “I’ll See You In Court” after a powerful anti-obscenity activist got advertisements pulled from the show. The episode, which features Al and Peggy being unknowingly recorded in a motel room, was eventually released in 2003.
13. Kelly and Bud swap: Ed O’Neil never met the actors who were first cast as Kelly and Bud. When he did finally meet them, he didn’t like them and demanded a change. That’s when Fox found Christina Applegate and David Faustino.
14. Episode one re-shoot: Before O’Neil realized the original Kelly and Bud actors were as pleasant as a kick to the shins, the cast had already filmed the pilot in its entirety. When the actors were replaced, they had to re-shoot the entire first episode.
15. Christina’s side hustle: As her popularity skyrocketed thanks to the show, Applegate took on modeling and other acting gigs. Producers agreed to give her time off every now and then (she made a guest appearance on Friends) — and fans weren’t happy!
16. Kelly’s hair: In taking on those other roles, Christina Applegate dyed her hair a brunette color. This wouldn’t work for her blonde character, so while filming later seasons, she wore a wig.
17. The on-set feud: On-screen, Al and Peggy got along well with their neighbors, Marcy and Steve. In reality, Ed O’Neil had great contempt for Marcy-actress Amanda Bearse. He was the only cast member she didn’t invite to her wedding.
18. Hooray for the dog: The family dog, Buck, was played by the same pooch for 10 seasons! After that, producers felt the aging dog earned his retirement, so they threw him a party as a sendoff.
19. Ed O’Neil’s vision for the ending: The actor had thoughts on how the show should end. He wanted the Bundys to win the lottery! Only to have a tornado tear through town and wipe out their home — and the winning ticket — during a celebration.
20. News of the show’s demise: While out for a meal on vacation, Ed O’Neil overheard a couple talking about a newspaper article announcing the show had been canceled. This was how he learned he was out of a job!
21. Ed O’Neil made some cash: By the time the show wrapped up after 11 seasons, O’Neil was earning about $500,000 per episode, making him one of the highest paid television actors at the time.
22. No love?: Despite a massive cult-following — and becoming the longest running, scripted live-action show in Fox history — Married… With Children never won a single Emmy. It was the longest running show to go without one (until Baywatch ended).