|Me, Glen Charles, David Isaacs|
The soiree was held at the Bouchon Bistro so you know the food was going to be better than the Rosendorf wedding at Leonard’s of Great Neck. And it was. No wonder everyone including the busboys have their own shows on the Food Network.
I said to Ted Danson when I greeted him: “Hey, there’s a dead body in the stairwell I think you should look at.” And Ted replied: “I already counted the maggots.” Ted is in his second year starring on CSI.
Spent some time talking to the very busy Shelley Long. She did five movies this year. I haven’t seen five movies this year. When she and Ted chatted it’s like they weren’t Ted Danson and Shelley Long. They were Sam & Diane. And they always will be.
I talked about their dad being an extra on the show? Happy to report he’s 93 and still going strong. Living off the residuals I’m sure.
Only main cast members missing were Kelsey Grammer (who is out of the country) and Woody Harrelson (I don't know where Woody was, but I'm not sure he knew either). However, they both sent lovely videos.
Friend of the blog, Jackie Swanson was there. She says a month doesn’t go by when somebody doesn’t sing “Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly” to her. I'd be slugging people by now but she doesn't mind. Jean Kasem (Loretta) and Paul Willson (Paul) also attended. CHEERS had some pretty great semi-regulars, didn’t they? I didn’t see Fred Dryer (sportscaster Dave), but I see him all the time at the gym so I didn’t feel cheated.
Judy Hart Angelo, who penned the lyrics to the theme song was there. Who could have possibly predicted thirty years ago that when she wrote "Where everybody knows your name"that she'd be helping to sell State Farm Insurance?
Now that we have iPhones, everyone was taking pictures all night of everyone else. There were a couple of professional photographers hovering. I bet they have sixteen shots of Bebe and Rhea taking photos of other people.
Was seated at a table with enormously talented CHEERS writers – a few of them (Dan O’Shannon, Dan Staley, and Phoef Sutton) are still employed if you can believe it. Lots of laughs and begging the working writers for jobs.
The highlight of the evening came after dinner. Our gracious hosts put together an amazing 38-minute compilation video of the “Best of CHEERS.” It seemed like ten minutes. I can’t begin to express how proud I am to be a part of such an extraordinary body of work. And then how nice to be able to personally thank those responsible.
The video ended with all of our credits, the number of Emmys the show won (28), the number of children born during its eleven-year run (37 – my son Matt was the first. Happy 30th birthday in three weeks, Matt), and a list of those we lost. They deserve recognition in this piece as well. Nicolas Colosanto, David & Lynn Angell, David Lloyd, Jerry Belson, Brandon Tartikoff, Steven Kolzak, Gary Nardino, Linda Burrows, and Maryann Charles.
I should have known better but didn’t. I thought, “Nah, they’re not going to do it.” Sure enough, Jimmy got up and began passing the microphone around for toasts. They were funny, lovely, touching, and very spontaneous because like me, no one thought they’d do this again. Fortunately, these people have all had ample practice in award acceptance speeches. Les Charles said, “Even if CHEERS had only lasted one year it would have been the greatest experience of my life. Of course I’d now be valet parking.” And Jimmy reminded us of the late great Jerry Belson’s toast on the night CHEERS first premiered. Jerry stood up and said, “Y’know, I’ve been on a lot of shows…” and then he sat back down.
|Mary Steenburgen & Ted|
The toasts finally ended after four strangers spoke. More circulating and reminiscing until about 1:00 in the morning. You know how people say, “we should get together” but never do? I made a vow to follow up with everyone I said that to. Now let's see if they take my calls.
As I watched the highlights video – filled with pride and counting the number of our episodes they included – I thought, what a tremendous gift. Not only did we all do work we’re extremely proud of, but that work is still being seen and enjoyed today. CHEERS remains on the air in syndication as well as on a few cable networks. DVD’s are available, and now you can watch the entire eleven seasons on Netflix. I invite fans of the show to revisit it, and I especially invite young people who haven’t seen CHEERS to check it out. By the second time you hear the words, “magnificent pagan beast” you’ll be hooked, I promise.
Again, my thanks to Jim Burrows and Glen & Les Charles for a magic night, a career, and those marshmallow party favors. Those were great! See you at THE TORTELLIS reunion.