We’ve got a six-week-old baby at our house, so Mrs. Sauron and I have been up a lot at night. I’ve gotten to see a lot of Cheers reruns on Nick at Night.
I’ve noticed something odd, though, about the opening credits. If you’ll remember, the Cheers credits were set against a backdrop of a photo montage from the early 1900s (I’m guessing at the time period). As the names of the cast were displayed, an obvious effort was made to link the photo with the character played by that person. For example, when the name “Ted Danson” was displayed, the photo would be that of a dark-haired bartender. When the name “Woody Haralson” was displayed, the photo was of a younger man behind a bar with a somewhat winsome expression on his face. And so on. Each photo is displayed for about three seconds, the same length of time the actor’s name is displayed.
This trend was broken in two instances, though. For Rhea Perlman (who played Carla), the photo showed a woman’s legs. No face shot whatsoever. For George Wendt (Norm), a large man was shown very briefly (less than a second), and then the next photo flashed up – that of an older man holding up a newspaper with “WE WIN” as the banner headline. Wendt’s name was still on the screen, but obviously this wasn’t supposed to be his character.
Why were Perlman and Wendt slighted (if indeed it is a slight) in this way?
Note: I’ve noticed this on the most recent versions of Cheers (those with “Rebecca Howe” as opposed to “Diane Chambers”); I don’t know if the earlier versions of the show had this same trait. I believe Perlman’s name was always linked to those legs, rather than a face, in the credits, but I think Wendt at one time had “his” photo displayed longer.