The character of psychiatrist Frasier Crane was introduced to Cheers during the series’ third season. He was so popular that he was eventually spun off into his own series, which lasted an amazing 11 years. Here are some fun behind-the-scenes facts for all you Frasier fans.
The Original Idea Had Nothing To Do With Frasier
Kelsey Grammer and the creative team behind Frasier originally came up with the idea of Kelsey playing a paralyzed media mogul cared for by a street-smart nurse in a Manhattan penthouse. Paramount hated the idea and convinced all concerned that it would be unwise not to capitalize on the built-in Cheers audience.
Once it was agreed that Grammer would continue as Dr. Crane, the creators still wanted to distance themselves from Boston, so they moved Frasier to Seattle. The gourmet coffee scene was just taking root in that area, which provided a central meeting place for the characters.
Lisa Kudrow Could Have Been In Frasier
Future Friends star Lisa Kudrow originally won the role of Frasier’s producer, Roz Doyle. But during the third day of rehearsals prior to filming the pilot, the producers realized that Kudrow just wasn’t the right fit. We can’t imagine it now. They needed a female “alpha dog” to play the part, so Kudrow was out and along came Peri Gilpin.
Kelsey Actually Sung The Theme Tune
Composer Bruce Miller was given the challenging assignment of writing a theme song for the series that didn’t actually mention psychiatry, radio, or the name “Frasier.” Lyricist Darryl Phinnesse created the cryptic phrase “tossed salad and scrambled eggs” as a metaphor for the “mixed up” patients that Dr. Crane saw regularly. Kelsely was favored by producers to sing the theme tune.
Major Bucks Spent On Refurnishing
“So what do you think of what I’ve done with the place?” Frasier asked his father, Martin, in the pilot episode. “You know, every item here was carefully selected. The lamp by Corbu, this chair by Eames, and this couch is an exact replica of the one Coco Chanel had in her Paris atelier.” The show’s set designers spent almost half a million dollars to give Frasier’s apartment the look they were after.
Accents Got To Go
Leeves grew up just north of London, England, but as her character was from Manchester, she had to force a Mancunian accent (which received a lot of criticism from fans when Frasier aired in the U.K.) Leeves worked with a voice coach to ensure that her accent would be understood by American viewers. John Mahoney, actually did grow up in Manchester, but had to lose his accent when he immigrated to the U.S.
Fan Crazed Fan Mail
When Frasier first started topping the ratings every week, which cast member received the most fan mail? None other than Eddie the dog. When Entertainment Weekly used Frasier as a lead story in 1993, Eddie was the only cast member to appear on the cover. During the dog auditions for the show, the producers were looking for one that could stare at Kelsey Grammer (a running joke on the series), and Moose performed flawlessly.
Runs In The Family
Moose retired at the age of 10 (after the end of Season 7) and his son Enzo took over the role of Eddie. Enzo had two siblings, a sister named Miko who was too small to play Eddie, and Moosie, who had noticeably different markings. Peri Gilpin, who played Roz, fell in love with Moosie and adopted him.
Cheers Returns To Frasier Except One
Most of the main Boston tavern regulars made appearances on Frasier. Noticeably absent, however, was Rebecca Howe, played by Kirstie Alley. Alley had contacted co-creator David Lee when Frasier was in the planning stages and informed him that as a Scientologist she did not believe in psychiatry and as a result would not be able to make an appearance on the series. Lee responded simply, “I don’t recall asking.”
Severe Injury Leads To A Hiatus
On the evening of September 21, 1996, Kelsey Grammer crashed his Dodge Viper (a gift from NBC). He wasn’t badly injured luckily, but he did receive a DUI arrest and a stint at Betty Ford Clinic. The next episode was quickly rewritten to feature Niles hosting his brother’s radio program while Frasier was away at a convention. Grammer filmed his bit for the intro at a later date and it was added on to the show before broadcast.
Niles Was Not Supposed To Be A Character
Frasier wasn’t supposed to have a brother until the assistant casting director approached the creators with a photo of David Hyde Pierce in hand and asked, “Doesn’t he look like Kelsey did 10 years ago?” A meeting was then arranged with the actor and he was offered the newly created role of Niles Crane.
Leeves was expecting in real life during Season 7, and her growing baby bump had to be explained in some way. So on the show, it was written in as weight gain from Daphne’s sudden compulsive overeating as a method of dealing with her relationship with Niles. She was sent away to a spa for a few episodes and returned back to her normal self (after daughter Isabella was born).
Strictly Plot Device
Roz’s pregnancy in Season 5, however, was strictly a plot device. The entire Roz’s baby storyline was however a mis judgement in retrospect, Gilpin and the producers agreed, and the child remained behind the scenes, all because Grammer didn’t want the hassle of the tightly restricted work schedule of child actors. He’s a barrel of laughs.
Dog To Doggie Heaven
Moose was 14 when Frasier ended. The dog’s fur had turned snow white and he was almost completely deaf, but his trainer carried him out onstage after the final episode, so that he could take his bows with the rest of the cast. David Hyde Pierce commented that it was one of the most moving moments of the evening, watching Moose recognize and react to the applause one last time.
Other Appearances You Might Not Have Known About
Cheers and Frasier are obvious of course, but Frasier Crane also made an Emmy-nominated guest appearance on Wings.
Why couldn’t you spot the Space Needle from Frasier’s apartment?
Did you ever wonder why? Well we did, and the reason is, that almost the entire show was set inside the Space Needle. Frasier’s apartment, the KACL radio studio, and even Café Nervosa were all located inside the tower.
Doggie Tricks Between Takes
Frasier had a trick for getting Eddie to do what he wanted: slyly slipping his co-star pooch some treats between scenes. Of course, Frasier carried Huntley & Palmers biscuits with him everywhere on set. So much so that during filming once a lot of them fell out of his pocket and the dog ran to eat them all.
Battle Of The Brits
Kelsey Grammer told Parade magazine, “If there was a war between the U.S. and England, I would proudly fight and die on the side of my countrymen.
At Last, Appreciation!
Among many of the recurring plot themes of the show were the hysterical fights between Frasier and his aging father. One of the very first arguments Frasier had with his dad involved him just wanting to hear a “thank you” in the pilot episode for letting his father move into his apartment. Alas, Frasier does not get to hear any sign of his dad’s appreciation until the very last episode of the show when Martin hugs him goodbye and says “Thank you, Frasier.”
No Need to Rehearse
Over the years, Kelsey has proven himself to be a stellar actor but few people know just how little preparation he needed to slip into character. Reportedly, Kelsey would only rehearse each scene once and wasn’t bothered to learn any of the scene’s lines until minutes before each scene was shot. Talk about a quick study!
John Mahoney Greatly Rememebered
John Mahoney who played the lovable dad in the show, just passed away on 05.02.18. He was nominated for two Emmys and two Golden Globes and won a Screen Actors Guild award for his performance on the show. He will always be remembered fondly.
Gilpin Pays Tribute
Peri Gilpin was extremely close to the actor, and even saw him as a father figure. She was devastated by the news of his passing. She honored and paid tribute to him on her twitter page: ‘Remember him well’.
Dan Butler Was Hey Arnold
Actor Dan Butler played Bob “Bulldog” Briscoe, who worked alongside Frasier and Roz at the Seattle radio station “KACL.” Did you know that Butler worked on the Nickelodeon show “Hey Arnold!” for 34 episodes?
Did you Hear That?
If you have a particularly good ear you might have been able to recognize some of the voices that called into Frasier’s radio show each week. The producers decided that instead of opting for the usual voiceover actors they would opt for celebrities! Some of the famous voices who were featured were Cindy Crawford, Elijah Wood, Ben Stiller, Helen Mirren and Kevin Bacon.
A Well-Deserved Break
After 11 full seasons on the air we can only imagine how much hard work had gone into the production of the show. Once the series ended, the cast and production team took a week-long vacation in Hawaii swapping their camera gear and scripts for snorkels and bikinis. John Mahoney, otherwise known as Martin, was the only cast member who didn’t make the trip. The rest of the cast was sure to give him a call and greet him with a big “Aloha!”