Published September 28, 2012
On September 30th, 1982, a new show with a simple name, "Cheers," premiered.
In honor of the show’s 30th anniversary, GQ magazine talked to the cast and crew about the drama and camaraderie behind the scenes of one of television's most loved situation comedies.
For GQ’s full oral history of "Cheers" pick up an October issue or visit GQ.com.
Here are some highlights:
Co-creator Glen Charles on the concept of Cheers: “'Fawlty Tower's was a favorite at that time, and so we started talking about hotel stories, and we found that a lot of the action was happening in the hotel bar. We actually thought of that while we were in a bar: ‘Why would anyone ever leave here?’”
Amy Poehler on Cheers’ season finale: “I could watch the series finale every day. When Danson turns the bar’s lights out, it’s that rare moment in TV where it feels incredibly real and earned and sweet. And that episode’s still packed with jokes, you know?"
Ted Danson on playing hooky with Woody Harrelson, George Wendt, and John Ratzenberger: “I’ll tell you about the worst day of my life. Shelley [Long] and Rhea [Perlman] were carrying that week’s episode, and the guys were just, ‘Let’s play hooky.’ We’d never done anything wrong before. John had a boat, so we met at Marina del Rey at 8 A.M. We all called in sick, and Jimmy caught on and was so pissed. Woody and I were already stoned, and Woody said, ‘You want to try some mushrooms?’ I’d never had them, so I’m handed this bag and I took a fistful. On our way to Catalina, we hit the tail end of a hurricane, and even people who were sober were getting sick. Woody and I thought we were going to die for three hours. I sat next to George, and every sixty seconds or so he’d poke me and go, ‘Breathe.’ [gasp] And I’d come back to life.”
Shelly Long on keeping the on-screen relationship with Diane and Sam interesting: "Our audience was so tuned in to every move, because the flirting between Sam and Diane during the first season was totally outrageous. There was talk about 'Would it be right to advance the relationship, or could that condemn the relationship?' I put my two cents in—big surprise—and said, 'In a real relationship, you take two steps forward, one step back. So just because we take two steps forward and get all the benefit from that doesn't mean we can't go back or to the side.' Ultimately, that's what worked."
Dan Shannon (a writer for Cheers and now executive producer on Modern Family) on Kelsey Grammer’s partying and how it affected him on set: “[Kelsey Grammer] would ooze into the studio, his life all out of sorts. Jimmy would say ‘Action,’ and he would snap into Frasier and expound in this very erudite dialogue and be pitch-perfect. And Jimmy would yell ‘Cut!’ and he would ooze back into Kelsey — glazed-over eyes, half asleep, going through whatever he was going through. It was the most amazing transformation I’ve ever seen.”