I’ve been watching the amazing sitcom “Cheers” from the beginning on Hulu. The character of Coach Ernie Pantusso, played by Nicholas Colasanto, had to have been a fan favorite of Cheers fans everywhere. Colasanto was just fantastic in the role of the lovable, slow-on-the-pickup Coach who was loved by everyone on Cheers. His character only lasted three seasons on Cheers as Colasanto died of a heart attack just two days after the filming of Season 3 Episode 22 on February 12, 1985. So I began wondering how many Colasanto autographs would be for sale on eBay.
Well, there aren’t any at all!
Colasanto’s death was such a tragedy. He had been diagnosed with heart disease in the mid-1970s. So he wasn’t in good health the entire time he was on Cheers, but he was incredible and endearing in the role he played.
So here’s some background information about my TV viewing habits in the mid-to-late 80s. I was just starting college when Cheers began in the fall of 1982. And once I started college at the University of Kansas, I really didn’t watch a ton of TV. I studied a lot, and went out with friends. I watched some TV, of course. But as I progressed through school, I studied more and more. I had a lot of reading to do, and often an approximately twenty-page term paper in every class, being that I was a Political Science and Economics major. Night time was when I really studied a lot. However, my girlfriend and I would reserve one hour from 7-8pm on Thursday nights to watch our favorite shows, Family Ties and The Cosby Show. After those two shows were over, Cheers would come on TV. However, since we had “wasted” one hour, it was time to get to work on papers and reading. I only watched Cheers a few times. I also studied abroad for a year in Seville, Spain, and while in Spain, I really didn’t watch any TV. Eventually, a few years later, I watched just a bit of Cheers late night in syndication.
So the thing is...Cheers never really got in my blood. I was obsessed with Family Ties, but I never gave Cheers the time it deserved. I kept hearing how great a show Cheers was, but I really didn’t pay enough attention to what people were saying.
Finally, now, however, my eyes are wide open. After watching the first three seasons of Cheers, I am banging my head against the wall realizing what a fool I was for not watching more of this incredible, amazing critically-acclaimed show. A couple of years ago, GQ magazine declared Cheers to be the GREATEST sitcom in television history! I think GQ is probably right! For years I’ve said my favorite show of all-time was All in the Family. And it truly was a great, landmark sitcom. Others of my very favorites include, in no particular order, MASH, Seinfeld, Family Ties, The Cosby Show, The Jeffersons, The Big Bang Theory, and Modern Family.
But after watching the first three seasons of Cheers, I don’t think any show has made me laugh as consistently hard and as often as has Cheers. It truly is a special show with special lovable characters that one can relate to. Everything about Cheers is nearly perfect. What the hell was I doing in the 80s after all?! Someone, please lend me your time machine. I need to go back and relive that incredible 80s decade again. Clearly, I need at least one do-over permit.
So Cheers fans, please feel free to comment on the show and its characters and/or post any autographs you might have of characters from the show. Thanks.
one of my favorite shows, I watched it when it was on network, and I watch it on Netflix frequently. One of my autograph "passions" is collecting cast signed photos of my favorite sitcoms. I was fortunate enough to obtain a Cheers cast signed photo, with Coach (the only signed color version I have ever seen) about 20 years ago. His autograph is indeed very rare, unfortunately, and I have only seen one other cast signed photo with him on it, but it was B and W.
That’s BEAUTIFUL, Terrier! Thanks a lot for posting the pic. You are blessed to have something like that! And with the rarity of Colasanto’s autograph, if you ever decided to sell, this would go for a big dime I’m sure. The lovable nature of Colasanto’s character just made his final couple of episodes all the more touching. Just by chance, his final full episode, Season 3 Episode 22 was titled, “Cheerio, Cheers.” It sounds like someone was saying goodbye to the cast and friends, but it was actually titled that way because Diane was leaving for Italy with Dr. Frazier Crane. But it was, sadly, Coach who leaving for good as he passed away unexpectedly just two days after filming that episode. In the episode, when Diane is telling Coach goodbye, she hugs him, and she says, “I’m going to miss you so much, Coach.” Little did anyone know it was really the truth. Diane then says to Coach, “Coach, please stand by Sam.” So Coach being Coach, he turns around and starts to walk over to Sam. Ha, ha. But Diane stops him and says, “No Coach. Just please watch over him.” That’s like what someone says at a funeral. You know...”he’s watching over us.” It was kind of foretelling.
Then in Coach’s final brief appearance in the short intro part to the final episode of Season 3, an older man walks into Cheers and sits down. He asks Coach if Coach remembers him. He tells Coach his name, and Coach remembers the guy played shortstop for Topeka in the minors. Coach remembers the guy’s nickname is “Bilnd.” Coach then announces yo everyone in Cheers that this guy was amazing. He was able to play shortstop while being blind! The guy tries to correct Coach and says his nickname was given to him because he sold blinds door-to-door in the offseason. The man finally gets frustrated and leaves. So Carla says, “Hey Coach, I think that man can see just as well as you and I.” So Coach replies, as he raises his hand and arm and looks upward, “You know Carla, in lot of ways, he can see everything now.”
That was so cool. That had clearly been an intro scene that the producers had filmed but not shown yet. But it looked like Coach was saying goodbye to everyone, and now HE COULD SEE EVERYTHING FROM THE HEAVENS. It was perfect, and just a crazy happenstance that such a scene had been previously filmed with Coach. Amazing.
Terrier, if it’s not too much trouble, when you get a chance, maybe you could post a pic of the whole photo. Thanks a ton for sharing.
Oh Terrier, never mind. It looks like you got everyone in there. Thanks again. I was having a Coach moment!
so funny you mentioned that episode, James. I just watched it last night, so it is fresh in my mind. I love this photo, it is one of my top five items in my collection. Some of the signatures are not to legible in the photo I posted, but in person, you can see them all.
Terrier, I watched Season 4 Episode 6 (I think) last night. I had to bring it up since it’s autograph-related. Diane gets Sam to loan her $500 ($1200 in 2018) because she wants to buy a first edition copy of The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and signed by EH. Diane says the bookseller must not fully understand what he has because the book is being way-undervalued. (She’s right.) Sam says he doesn’t want to know what it’s for and doesn’t care. He also tells her he has loaned money to friends before and never got repaid so he says he doesn’t care whether she repays him. However, she insists she will. Carla, of course Carla, informs Sam that Diane used the $500 to buy a book...which Sam is flabbergasted by. He says...”that must be some book.”
Even though he had told Diane he didn’t care if she paid him back, he starts to get pissed off when he notices, with Carla’s help, that Diane has been buying a lot of new clothes and such...yet hasn’t tried to pay him back. So Diane asks to meet with Sam in his office, and she shows Sam the book and asks him yo lock it up safely in his vault as collateral until she pays him back. However, Sam becomes more and more intrigued by this book with “the stupid name” that he takes it home to read. While reading in the tub, he accidentally drops it in the water. After drying, the book inflates to triple its original size. It’s obviously ruined, but he shows it to everyone in Cheers begging for their help to get the book to close. Hilarious. I think Norm recommends that Sam tear out a bunch of pages. Lol.
So Diane walks in, and Sam hides the book in his jacket. As Diane begins talking about her incredible find in the bookstore, a patron who is a book collector immediately wants to buy it from her. She at first says it’s not for sale. So he offers her $1000 for it. And she immediately says, “Sold! Go get the book, Sam!” But Sam tells Diane she can’t sell it because he absolutely loves the book now, and he wants it! Well, Sam and the collector get into a bidding war, and Sam wins the book for $1200! Lol.
Anyway, the episode was hilarious as usual. Last night I was looking on eBay for a signed First Edition of the book. There was one available with a price tag of $35,000! Diane was apparently right. She did get it for a crazy low price’
So that’s my autograph story for the night. I’m sure you’ve seen the episode, but I had to share it since it was an autograph thing.
I remember that episode very well James. It was hilarious!