Wednesday, November 09, 2011

How we did that cool stunt on CHEERS

Here’s a question I get asked so often I thought it warranted its own post.  Anthony Strand asked it most recently.

How did they achieve Sam's slide-a-beer-around-the-corner trick? Was there a track, or was that something Ted Danson could actually do? Or was it some third things?

This is referring to the “Endless Slumper” episode of CHEERS from season one, written by Sam Simon and directed by James Burrow. I’ve included the video of the show.  Well worth watching the whole thing.

Anyway, here’s how Jimmy and his crack crew did it:

A thin clear plastic filament was attached from the corner of the bar to the handle of the mug. Ted slid the mug. As it reached the elbow the filament tugged at the handle and swung it around the counter. Needless to say, the studio audience went nuts.  Physics -- a comedy writer's best friend.


18 comments:

WebSavvyMom said...

-->Just seeing a few seconds of CHEERS gives me happy memories of being a kid and watching.
I think one of my favorite episodes was when Cliff was on JEOPARDY!
deb
www.websavvymom.com

An said...

Thanks for answering that question. Now it's an "of course!" instead of a "how the hell?"

And yes, this episode is well worth watching in its entirety. The Sam and Diane dynamic moves to a new level, and Ted and (especially) Shelley really shine. Brilliant.

Jon J said...

That episode ran one morning within the past week on HDNet. Many of Ken's written/produced shows have been running recently.

Colleen Kelly Mellor said...

So, are you suggesting (by the Cheers stunt) that David Copperfield's accomplishments are all 'sleight of hand'?

I mean this ever-so-tongue-in-cheekish....

RCP said...

Nice - thanks for posting.

Steve Zeoli said...

That's one of the all time great Cheers episodes.

Anthony Strand said...

Thanks so much for answering my question! And it makes sense that the explanation is so simple, but it looks great on screen.

Mac said...

Very cool. I remember a discussion when that aired in my student flat - something about magnets - way off the mark! Great episode.

Mike said...

"Physics -- a comedy writer's best friend."

That makes sense. I'm not sure I'd ever be able to write to my own comedic preferences -- or it would just be a whole script of people falling down -- which would probably be a pretty hard sell, even though it's making me giggle a little just thinking about it.

Brian said...

I second the vote for Cliff on Jeopardy!. Ken, did you write that one?

Brian said...

Why is Sam opening bottles and pouring them into a mug? Wouldn't Cheers have had beer on tap?

Harold X said...

So did Sam come up with the idea on his own and the prop department have to figure out how to do it; did somebody come up with the stunt/see it used elsewhere and San wrote it into the script; what?

And to make this more personal: did you and your partner ever some up with an "impossible" stunt, leaving it up to the crew to implement it?

Anonymous said...

http://splitsider.com/2011/11/more-of-the-greatest-tv-writers-rooms-ever/

Cheers Season 3 writing staff is mentioned in this article.

DanTedson said...

This was actually the precursor to the multiple-pulley plastic filament system they used to keep Sam's toupee on in later seasons.

HogsAteMySister said...

Next thing you are going to tell me there is no Santa Clause, right?

Paul Duca said...

Did you ever need a tutor for Matt or Annie...and if so, did you use the Carla Tortelli qualifications check?

Anonymous said...

How were the fake beards done in the beard contest episode?

Crook said...

I love that trick so much. I want one of those beer glasses! Does anyone know the actual type of glass that were used in the show?