On Cheers, the cast basically bonded instantly. And over the years, they grew into a family. But it took awhile for the show to climb up in the ratings.
“One week, we were dead last,” Ted Danson recalled during a Cheers reunion in 2016.
It took perseverance from the cast and crew and patience from the network for Cheers to attain the vaunted place in pop culture that it occupies today. So how soon did they know they had something special on their hands?
“Day one,” Rhea Perlman said.
“We were having fun,” Shelley Long added.
“It was so much fun that I think I was convinced that it would never last, because it was too much fun,” John Ratzenberger chimed in.
“We felt like a family,” Perlman said. “We were a family. I mean, 11 years…”
Watch the discussion here:
At Goodbye Party, Cheers Stars All Got Drunk Together
When Cheers went off the air in 1993, the cast got together at Boston’s Bull and Finch pub for a special episode of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” They were supposed to perform organized sketches, but all that went out the window when Leno arrived and found the cast half in the bag, along with the assortment of celebrities who had gathered at the bar to mark the occasion with the cast.
So Leno worked the room, talking to celebrities who were slightly less sloshed than the Cheers cast, cracking jokes as he did. He eventually made his way to the cast members and tried to ask them questions about the show.
“Those people were so drunk I don’t know what else we could have done in a live situation,” Leno later said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The cast members had just watched the final episode of Cheers along with the assembled VIPs, and they’d all been drinking since earlier in the day. Basically everyone except Perlman was stumbling around and slurring their words.
“All those celebrities got there early and started drinking early,” Leno said. “And with the exception of [then-] Sen. [John] Kerry [D-MA], everybody was really drunk. People were like vomiting. They were out of their minds. They stumbled.”
Unlike on the set of Cheers, the drinks being poured that evening were real alcohol, and it showed. Leno said of the experience “you win some and lose some.” But at least the cast of Cheers seems to have had a good time.
See the cast’s reaction to the final episode of Cheers here: