A massive classic TV collection, including items from Cheers and All in the Family, just sold for over $5 million
Image: The Everett Collection
A truly impressive collection of classic TV memorabilia, collected over three decades, recently went up for auction. Over 1,000 props, costumes and sets from nostalgic TV shows were offered after the collector, James Comisar, cleared out his collection.
Comisar had originally planned to open a museum with the TV history he had picked up over the years. After that didn't pan out, he decided to sell the items for other fans to enjoy. “The auction’s success confirmed what I have always known: that television characters are cherished members of our extended family and that their stories and our own are inseparable,” Comisar said.
One of the items sold was the Bunker's living room from All in the Family — kind of. The set from the 1971 ground-breaking series including the dining room, stairwell and the living room where the Bunkers gathered around the TV went for a cool $125,000.
The same buyer paid $250,000 for the iconic living room chairs where Archie and Edith sat. While the original set currently resides in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, they were given to the museum when it was believed that the show would end after the eighth season. Once the show was picked up for a ninth, these chairs were made for the new season. They could also be seen on the spin-off, Archie Bunker's Place.
Not into sitcoms? That's fine — maybe you'd be interested in the costumes worn by Adam West and Burt Ward in the 1966 TV show Batman. Those were sold at $615,000.
The item that fetched the highest price, though, came from somewhere where everybody knows your name — the bar from Cheers. The watering hole that audiences tuned in to see for 11 seasons went for an impressive $675,000.
In a video for Heritage Auctions, George Wendt ("NORM!") and John Ratzenberger (Cliff the mail carrier), visited Cheers for one more round at the familiar set. "I was personally pleased that they weren't throwing it away and burning it," Ratzenberger said. "Because in Hollywood, that's mostly what happens. They'll take a beautiful set down, and just throw it in a rubbish heap. So...to save all this stuff, that's quite an accomplishment."
Ratzenberger said "the set was as much of a character of the show as we were. Think about it, you come to work every day, your job is to sit at a bar and crack jokes. That's what we did for a living. It's hard to turn into a diva doing that."
"It's the best gig in Hollywood!" Wendt added.
The bar came with a few nicks and scrapes that would make this even more valuable for a collector: Ratzenberger scratched "RATZ" into the surface of the bar. "It's not scratched, it's engraved!" Ratzenberger insisted. Alongside his own mark, Kirstie Alley, who played Rebecca, carved her own name into the bar.
One more thing this notable set piece came with: possibly, Ratzenberger and Wendt. When asked how they felt having their final beer at the Cheers bar, Wendt said, "Well, it's not really one last beer. I mean, whoever buys this is gonna have us over for beers."
"We're gonna find out their address," Ratzenberger said. "We'll show up. I'm not gonna let go that easily."
Grabbing a drink with Norm and Cliff? Now that might be worth the price.
See the whole video below:
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