The Bar From the Sitcom ‘Cheers’ Is Up for Auction, Part of an Incredible Collection of TV History That Was Once Meant to Fill a Museum
Want to make meth with Walter White’s tools, or crack jokes at David Letterman’s desk? Now’s your chance.
Heritage Auctions is offering pop culture collectors a major artifact from television history: the 10-foot-long Luan wood bar from the long-running sitcom Cheers. The familiar set piece comes complete with brass railing, burgundy leatherette barstools, a bar back unit, the walls that surrounded it on stage, and various set dressing elements, including beer taps, brass light fixtures, the bar phone and accompanying vintage phone book, guest check pads, bowls, towels, liquor bottles, beer mugs, and sports-themed decor.
The opening bid at the time of publishing was $150,000, or $187,500 with fees. In addition to the bar, the auction house is offering the cash register and player piano, as well as several main character costumes and other set decorations. Proxy bidding ends June 3, and the auction runs from June 2–June 4.
The Emmy-winning NBC show, which ran for 275 episodes over 11 seasons (1982–1993), was set in the titular Boston bar, featuring Ted Danson as owner-bartender Sam Malone, George Wendt as Norm Peterson, Shelley Long as waitress Diane Chambers, Woody Harrelson as bartender Woody Boyd, Kelsey Grammer as psychiatrist Frasier Crane, and Kirstie Alley as bar manager Rebecca Howe, among others.
Created by the team of James Burrows and Glen and Les Charles, Cheers was almost canceled during its first season, but went on to rank in the top 10 in the Nielsen ratings during eight of its seasons, reaching number 1 in season 9. Nominated for a combined 117 Emmy Primetime Awards, it won 28 of them.
The bar is on offer in an auction comprising nearly 1,000 objects from the collection of James Comisar, who once hoped to build a museum to house them. Among the other items are the set from Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show; the desk and New York skyline from the Late Show with David Letterman; Archie and Edith Bunker’s Queens living room from the sitcom All in the Family; Barbara Eden’s pink chiffon I Dream of Jeannie costume; the outfits worn by Tony Soprano and his associates when Christopher Moltisano became a “made” man on The Sopranos; Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s meth-making tools from Breaking Bad; and the barware used by Don Draper and his colleagues on Mad Men.
Comisar himself worked in television, starting out by writing jokes for comedians like Joan Rivers and Howie Mandel, before working on scripts for producers Norman Lear and Fred Silverman, and director Ron Howard.
“This history can’t spend forever in a warehouse,” Comisar says in a press release. “I have this theory that all important art finds its curator. I feel like I’ve taken this as far as possible, but I am excited to find out who takes the baton and cares for and celebrates these objects. These pieces are part of our shared experience. And they need to go back out into the world.”
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