Because my birthday falls in June, my preference for Hall of Fame inductees are the TV puppets. But as it is also the month for the Zodiac sign of Gemini (for the most part), I also showcase the dynamic duos in television – like British detectives Charlie Barlow and John Watt from the ‘Softly, Softly’ series.
Well, we kicked off the month with a puppet, so it’s time for a new odd couple to join the ranks….
Clifford C. Clavin, Jr. (born 1947 or 1949), is a fictional character on the American television show Cheers co-created (and played) by John Ratzenberger. A postal worker, he is the bar's know-it-all and was a contestant on the game show ‘Jeopardy!’ Cliff was not originally scripted in the series' pilot episode, "Give Me a Ring Sometime", but the producers decided to add a know-it-all character and Ratzenberger helped flesh it out. The actor made guest appearances as Cliff on ‘The Tortellis’, ‘St. Elsewhere’, ‘Wings’ and ‘Frasier’.
Cliff appeared in 273 episodes of ‘Cheers’ between 1982 and 1993. He also made guest appearances as an animated character (voiced by Ratzenberger) in ‘The Simpsons’ episode "Fear of Flying", in ‘The Tortellis’ episode "Frankie Comes to Dinner, in the ‘Wings’ episode "The Story of Joe" and the ‘Frasier’ episode "Cheerful Goodbyes".
Norman "Norm" Peterson is a regular fictional character on the American television show ‘Cheers’. The character was portrayed by George Wendt and is named Hilary after his grandfather.
Norm appeared in all 275 episodes of ‘Cheers’ between 1982–1993 and was initially the only customer featured in the main cast, later joined by best friend Cliff Clavin, Frasier Crane, and Lilith Sternin. Along with Sam Malone and Carla Tortelli, Norm is one of only three characters to appear in every episode of ‘Cheers’.
A recurring gag in the series is, following a commercial, for the bartender to ask Norm if he wants another beer; Norm replies "one quick one," after which he inevitably stays a lot longer. "Norm" is actually the first word of Frederick Crane, son of Frasier Crane and Lilith Sternin. (However, Lilith joyously believes that he said "Mommy!")
Prior to the show, Norm was born in Chicago, and moved to Boston to become an accountant, and is a lifelong Boston Celtics fan who went to Boston Garden as a child. Norm previously served in the United States Army.
He loses his job in an accounting firm by defending Diane from his boss, and after struggling for a few years as an independent accountant, eventually becomes a housepainter. Norm was also revealed to be an accomplished interior decorator and beer taster, capable of spotting a bad vat in a factory by drinking a single bottle.
Years after ‘Cheers’ ended, Wendt played Norm in a 2002 episode of its spinoff ‘Frasier’, where he got along famously with Martin Crane. (Martin: "Wow, that's some mug callus you've got there." Norm: "Judging from your grip, I'd say you were a can man.")
Domino's Pizza released a commercial in February 2020 parodying Cheers (including the opening theme song and a Domino's version of the Cheers sign) with Norm entering a Domino's, surprised to find that no one knows his name. Norm's face was actually digitally taken from a Cheers episode to replace a body double's face.