Saturday, February 04, 2006

The "lost" CHEERS

The blog server was down for several hours Saturday. I really hate it when there’s a glitch in free services. It also did a whacky thing and deleted my Saturday post. Why it did that I have no idea but I've re-instated it. It's my "lost" post. And now another "lost" item, one far more rare and valuable --

It’s the “Lost scene of CHEERS”. My partner, David Isaacs and I wrote it, it was seen by EIGHTY MILLION people, (almost double the audience of the final episode of CHEERS)…

then never shown again..

I’m not even sure if a copy of the film still exists. For the first time in 23 years, here’s the lost script of that scene.

Backstory: People forget but Cheers wasn’t always an enormous hit. The first season’s ratings (1982-83) were terrible…as in “dead last”. In today’s world both UPN and Univision would kick our ass. In an effort to get better exposure NBC asked if we’d do a special scene to be aired sometime during the Superbowl pre game show. Pete Axthelm, the distinguished sports columnist for Newsweek and gambling tout for the Peacock agreed to appear. David and I banged out the scene. NBC aired it…right before kick-off. Talk about a good time slot.

Enjoy, trivia buffs:

*****
FADE IN:

INT. BAR – EARLY AFTERNOON

CARLA, CLIFF AND NORM ARE AT THE TABLE WATCHING TELEVISION. SAM IS AT THE BAR. DIANE ENTERS.

DIANE
Morning everyone.

EVERYONE AD LIBS HELLO’S.

DIANE
You boys are here early today.

NORM
Superbowl Sunday, Diane. The only reason for living…not found in a mug.

CLIFF
We’re early because we gotta catch all twelve hours of the Superbowl pre-game show.

CARLA
Started off this morning with the Superbowl Mass. Moved right into NFL ’82.

SAM
The next hour they’re going to trace the family tree of every player on both sides.

DIANE
Ah, the big game. An American tradition. These athletes will test themselves for all they’re worth. They’ll spit farther than they’ve ever spat before. They’ll scratch in places no man has ever dared to scratch. That is entertainment.

CLIFF
Yeah. Superbowl Seventeen. Or as the French would say it, (IN JOHN’S UNIQUE FRENCH ACCENT) “Superbowl Seventeen”.

PETE AXTHELM ENTERS AND APPROACHES THE BAR.

PETE
(TO SAM) Excuse me. Do you have a phone here? I’ve got the only bookmaker on the planet that I can’t get in touch with on Superbowl Sunday.

SAM
Yeah, it’s down the hall.

CARLA
Hey, you’re Pete Axthelm.

PETE
That depends on whether you want to thank me or hit me for my selections this year.

SAM
Welcome to Cheers.

EVERYONE EXCEPT DIANE ACKNOWLEDGES HIM.

CLIFF
Hey, how come you’re not out there in Pasadena?

PETE
I should be. It’s the last time I book a flight through Jimmy the Greek’s travel agency.

DIANE
Excuse me my ignorance, but I don’t know this gentleman. Will you introduce us?

SAM
This is Pete Axthelm. Pete’s the NBC house tout. Picks all the big games. He’s even right every now and then.

PETE
Actually I’m always right. It’s the players and referees that screw it up.

DIANE
Oh, I see. You predict football games.

PETE
That’s right.

DIANE
Oh what a worthy profession. I hope they pay you more than scientists and judges.

EVERYONE REACTS TO DIANE: “HEY, THAT ISN’T FAIR”, “LIGHTEN UP”, “COME ON, DIANE”, ETC.

DIANE
Pardon me, but it just seems ridiculous how you people place so much importance on the outcome of one silly little football game.

THEY CHIDE HER AGAIN: “AW, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND”, etc.

NORM
So Pete, forget about her, tell us who you like.

PETE
Well, I’m still feeding it all into my delicate computer – it’s a tough one, but I gotta start with that great Miami defense…

DIANE
Miami?! Are you crazy?! That Thiesman person will pick them apart. You call him a prophet?

EVERYONE STARTS TAKING SIDES. A GIANT ARGUMENT ENSUES ON WHO’S GOING TO WIN.

PETE
What’s going on?

NO REACTION.

PETE
Hey, what’s the name of this place?

EVERYONE
Cheers.

THEY ALL GO BACK TO THEIR ARGUMENT.

PETE
(INTO CAMERA) Lots of abuse. I love it. My kind of place. You only find true peace at racetracks and saloons.

FADE OUT.

9 comments:

Westacular said...

"Hey, what’s the name of this place?"

Ahh, the wonders of shameless self-promotion.

So Diane called it. Fitting.

rashad khan said...

Whodathunkit? A scene from CHEERS that I've NEVER SEEN BEFORE. Incredible.

Thanks much, Ken.

claude said...

I just gotta wonder if a single person started watching the show after seeing that spot.

Nice scene though. "Superbowl Mass," that's brilliant.

writebrother said...

I'm 28 so I had to dig deep in the memory bank to remember who the hell Pete Axthelm was.

Robert Hogan said...

That's great. I can't say that I remember that scene, but I've been a fan of Cheers forever. My father used to make me watch the show everytime it was on, and every time he would tell me that was the peak of television, and no show would ever be that good again.

Rob

Todd VanDerWerff said...

I remember randomly seeing a Cheers "short," if you will, about the use of ZIP codes in middle school.

Cliff explained why they were so important.

Was I hallucinating this?

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing that bit on television as Axthelm used to drink in the bar where I worked in NYC. I recall that he was a bit stiff in the bit, but then again, he was kind of like that in real life.

Boltron said...

How can that not make it into one of the DVD collections?

Ben Kubelsky said...

Apparently there's also an 8-minute "Cheers" scene about US War Bonds... would love to read an article on that! And let's not forget the cast's scenes on the Disneyland 35th Anniversary, and the last "Late Night with David Letterman" on NBC, and....