CHEERS is 30 years old. Tonight there is a reunion party for those of us honored enough to be part of the show. Will let you know how it goes. I wonder if anyone besides me will not have aged in all that time. Anyway, you all know the stars. But what about the others who populated the bar? I thought today I'd recognize them so the next time you watch you will too.
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.