Why Cheers’ Cast Almost Quit Over Repainting The Show’s Set

The problem was that Nick Colasanto, who played Sam’s co-bartender and went by the nickname Coach, had written bits of his lines all over the bar when he was growing increasingly ill from heart disease. During the filming of season 3, the cast showed up to tape and found out that he had died of a heart attack. So when his line reminders were painted over, it was a crushing blow to the cast, as Danson once recalled to¬†GQ:

“When Nick had heart disease, he was getting less and less oxygen. There wasn’t a surface on that set that didn’t have his lines written down. There was one episode where a friend of Coach dies, and he says, ‘It’s as if he’s still with us now.’ Nick had written the line on the wood slats by the stairs the actors would use to enter the studio. Nicky dies, and the next year, we’re all devastated, and the first night we come down the stairs, right there was his line: ‘It’s as if he were with us now.’ And so every episode, we’d go by it and pat it as we’d come down to be introduced to the audience. And then, one year, they repainted the sets and they painted over the line. People almost quit. Seriously. They were so emotionally infuriated that that had been taken away from them.”

Losing such a powerful touchstone would upset anyone, so it’s hard to blame them for being so angry. The painters should have gone around that line in particular given its significance, but maybe no one told them. It’s just really a shame that such a neat and emotionally powerful piece of TV history was lost forever.

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