After yesterday's mention of Al Rosen I received a lot of comments about him and some of the other CHEERS regulars you often saw, occasionally heard, but never knew who they were. I posted on this about a year ago but it's worth bringing back and updating.
First up is Al Rosen -- the old rummy. I couldn't find a picture of him otherwise I'd include it. Al was really a championship TV wrestler back in the 50’s. He was the MAN WHO SAID SINATRA. Al sometimes needed two or three or eight takes to get his line right but it was always worth it. In one episode we wrote that someone referenced in the comments (“the Big Kiss Off”), he was supposed to come out of the back and deliver a joke. The first two takes he went up on the line. The third take he was perfect and got a big laugh. One problem though. In the first two takes he enters holding a drink. In the third he doesn’t but is holding his hand as if he DID have a drink in it. It looks totally bizarre, but we went with it because he got the line right. If you have the DVD check it out.
The older gentleman always referred to as Phil -- that’s Phil Perlman, Rhea’s dad (pictured left). Once we started giving him lines he listed himself in the credits as Philip Perlman.
Tom Babson wound up becoming a semi-regular. Cliff was always ragging on him for attending law school. Tom at various times was listed as “Tom”, “Tom Babson”, “Tom Ballard”, “Customer #1”, and “Barney”. But you may know him from KNOTS LANDING where he played “Man”.
In the later years, “Paul” also became a semi regular. He’s Paul Willson (pictured right), a gifted comic actor and one of the greatest improv artists I have EVER seen. I put him up there with Robin Williams. I feel bad for Paul because we finally built an episode around him but it was the second to the last one of the series. He pops up on a lot of shows. Always funny.
One of the great sports columnists of all-time, Alan Malamud, sat at the bar for eight or nine shows. Local LA sportscaster, Steve Bailey, had a drink from time to time, as well.
I show up in only one scene in one episode, the last Bar Wars.
All of the customers hoped that their parts would expand and become a series regulars as what happened with John Ratzenberger and George Wendt. It was never to be.
And then there’s the bar patron who was supposed to be a series regular and wound up as just an extra. In the pilot from time to time you see an old woman in the background. This was “Mrs. Littlefield”, a colorful politically opinionated spinster. She had a number of lines in the pilot. But the show was long, her character didn’t really score, and her part was cut. All that remains are a few shots of her here and there.
And finally, in a few episodes my father plays an extra. You’ll see him hitting on 25 year old women. My idea. You're welcome, dad.