Thursday, September 29, 2011

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

When I was a teen, growing up in the '80s, one of my most comforting memories was of the opening credits to the popular TV show Cheers. Although I sometimes watched the show, and enjoyed it, I was never as big a Cheers fanatic as so many other people.  

But the opening credits were always a must see for me. The theme song itself was part of the attraction. It begins by noting the taxing nature of modern life (in the '80s), which "takes everything you've got," and then segues into the catchy refrain about wanting to be "where everybody knows your name."

But just as appealing were the montage of images which appeared along with the song, a series of pictures of people seemingly enjoying the pleasures of being at a pub, with its drinks and social life. The pictures all have a historical quality to them, lending the sense that such activity has occurred through time, and continues to the time of the program . . . the '80s and early '90s.

There is one photo, for example, which has people in a bar with drinks, with one man holding up a newspaper which reads "WE WIN" in all captal letters. Growing up, I had thought that the headline referred to the end of World war II, but it in fact refers to the end of Prohibition. In restrospect, this seems all the more appropriate given that the show takes place in a drinking establishment. 

Another photo shows a group of young males of another era, perhaps college kids, all trying to look dapper and sophisticated.

I always thought that the combination of words and music put forth the idea that time passes, but certain things remain the same. That so many things have come and gone through time and history, and that here we were, in the '80s, taking our place in time. Yet, some things were constant, through it all. Through it all, don't we all really want to sometimes go to a place "where everybody knows your name."

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn't you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.


  1. This has to be the most comforting theme song ever. I love Cheers! I always thought the "We Win" sign referred to WWII also. Thanks for teaching me something new today!

  2. Shannon: That opening has always made me feel good. And Cheers is definitely an '80s classic (early '90s too).

  3. Very true sir. I would love to find the original photos and art that were used in that intro.

  4. I thought the "we win" picture was the Bosox defeating Yankees (or the series; I've heard both) because in the corner, it mentions the "Cards defeated" which refers to STL Cardinals. This is in Boston, and Sam was formerly a player for Bosox, so it makes sense.

  5. Used to love watching this as a teenager. Had a bit of a crush on the chap in the final frame, with the sticky-out ears... still do! I'm currently re-watching the show, and still finding it funny, Mhairi

  6. Does. Anyone know who the man is at the ending picture? When I was a little girl I always told myself that I was going to find out who that man is. Now that I'm older, I still wanna know, but yet I'm afraid that he is just a fictional character drawn up by someones imagination. That would almost break my heart. Does anyone know who this man may have been? Or his name? The man at the end of the intro that is holding up his drink....

  7. The guy at the end of the intro is Ken Levine. He was 32 during the prohibition of the show! I can't believe he's 63 now. He is still hilarious!