The Boston pub that inspired the fictional bar in the NBC sitcom, Cheers, is actually a real neighborhood institution that has been serving its Beacon Hill environs for over 45 years.
Established in 1969 by Thomas A. Kershaw, the bar where everybody knows your name was originally the Bull & Finch Pub, named after Boston-born architect Charles Bulfinch, who designed the U.S. Capitol as well as the Massachusetts State House (along with many other buildings).
Cheers is located in the basement of the brick and granite Hampshire House, built in 1910 by society architect Ogden Codman. (Also owned by Kershaw, the Georgian Revival townhouse currently functions as a high-end event hall.) Located directly across from Boston Public Garden, the pub served as the establishing shot throughout the show’s eleven seasons on air (from 1982-1993).
As lopsided NFL trades go, well, forget about Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff. In 2006—in what was largely a face-saving PR stunt—ABC allowed its lead pro football play-by-play voice, Al Michaels, to decamp to NBC in exchange for the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a precursor to Mickey Mouse created by Walt Disney in the 1920s.
Since the swap, Oswald has sat on the intellectual property equivalent of the injured list. Michaels, on the other hand, became the centerpiece for Sunday Night Football, a ratings juggernaut for NBC that, most weeks, outdraws every other show on TV.
As with any sports franchise, success has plenty of parents. The show’s director (Drew Esocoff) and executive producer (Fred Gaudelli) take back seats to no one. Same for sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, who just finished her final season. The original SNF analyst, the late John Madden, may be the GOAT, but when he was replaced in 2009 by former All-Pro receiver Cris Collinsworth, ratings remained astronomical.
As legend has it, a few years back, Jeff Bezos demanded that his team at Amazon Studios create a fantasy epic that would put Game of Thrones to shame. Turns out, that kind of thing is even harder to do than it sounds. And more expensive than you can imagine. Inside the epic quest to bring Wheel of Time to life—and maybe change the face of global television forever.
Not long ago, this quarry, 40 kilometers outside Prague, held a carefully built fake town called the Two Rivers. Then, a few days back, the producers and set dressers of Amazon’s The Wheel of Time burned it down. The town’s inn, an intricately rendered two-story building, is now blackened, its left side plunged into spiky rubble: Smoke machines give the impression that it is still smoldering. There are holes in roofs, artfully destroyed beams. Every house—interior and exterior—has been charred enough so that it shows on camera.
The actors who wander the Two Rivers are made up to match. Rosamund Pike, who starred in Gone Girl, is smudged with soot. Rain has begun to come down in earnest, pooling in the muddy streets and making the extras and the stuntmen shiver. Michael McElhatton, who played Roose Bolton on Game of Thrones and is playing a character called Tam al’Thor on The Wheel of Time, sits on a stump in the middle of it all in a big down jacket, staring at nothing in particular.
It’s November 2019, and the production—comprising hundreds of, and on some days nearly a thousand, people—is filming the end of the first episode of what everyone hopes will be a television show that runs for, well: six seasons? Eight? A show that will be as epic and sensational and ubiquitous as Game of Thrones once was.
Across fantasy and science fiction (with the occasional stop in horror), there are any number of amazing fictional libraries we’d love to visit—especially to meet up with the guardians of the stacks!
After all, what’s a fantasy story without an awe-inspiring tower full of potentially curséd books?
Or a sci-fi adventure without the cumulative knowledge of civilization stored somewhere to guide our heroes on their quest?
We decided it was time for an overdue celebration of the keepers of knowledge, from experts in Egyptology to far-future book-lovers fighting tyrannical governments to sword-wielding barbarians, we have a librarian for every occasion.
Editor’s Note: Lots of listing in the article, and check out the comments as well.