On Monday we realized that Harry Anderson had handed away on the age of 65. And since, there have been a plethora of becoming tributes for the person that most individuals knew as Decide Harry Stone on Night time Court docket. (Our personal Alan Sepinwall has an awesome one proper right here.) However the first time loads of us met Harry Anderson was through the first season of Cheers when he performed a con man, named Harry the Hat, who was at all times swindling the regulars out of their cash.
Harry the Hat wasn’t lengthy for Cheers. He solely appeared in three episodes over that first season. Within the second, he was in a single earlier than Anderson’s new present, Night time Court docket debuted as a mid-season substitute. Anderson would return twice extra as Harry the Hat within the present’s sixth and 11th seasons, respectively. (As a child, I discovered this all very complicated as a result of on each Cheers and Night time Court docket the character was each named “Harry,” so I simply assumed he needed to be the identical character. That this similar character would rip-off cash from the completely happy hour crowd at Cheers in Boston, then, one way or the other, get again to New York to preside over a courtroom and listen to some instances. A part of me nonetheless thinks this is perhaps true.)
What I cherished probably the most about Harry the Hat was that he really cherished the gang at Cheers. Certain, they had been marks, however they had been his marks. He’d take their cash, however by no means sufficient to do any actual harm. And if Harry the Hat noticed that somebody was there to do any actual harm, effectively, Harry the Hat would use the total brunt of his powers to defend Cheers.
There are two cases that exhibit simply how nice Harry the Hat may very well be. The primary includes Harry swindling Cliff Clavin out of free drinks and the second finds Harry the Hat — within the ultimate season of Cheers — serving to save Cheers from its rival, Gary’s Previous City Tavern.
True story: A couple of months in the past I used to be at a neighborhood bar right here in New York Metropolis and I used to be having a dialogue with a good friend of mine about Harry the Hat. (I’m at all times up for Harry the Hat discussions.) We began speaking about this upcoming scene and a gentleman subsequent to us, who additionally loves this scene, overheard us and joined within the dialogue. Then his good friend requested what we had been speaking about so we really carried out this trick on this fourth occasion… and it labored! (Effectively, the primary half a minimum of.)
Harry the Hat strolls into Cheers and winds up betting Cliff a dime that he can drink Cliff’s shot, a shot that’s now beneath Harry the Hat’s trademark fedora, with out touching the hat. Cliff accepts the problem. Harry goes underneath the bar and makes a couple of gulping noises, then tells Cliff that the problem is accomplished. Cliff, not believing Harry the Hat, lifts up the fedora after which Harry drinks the shot, having by no means touched the hat.
That is nice sufficient, nevertheless it will get higher: Cliff, now offended, says he can do the identical trick. So Cliff tries to recreate the joke, however whereas Cliff is underneath the bar making faux ingesting noises, Harry drinks Cliff’s shot. When Harry lifts up the fedora, the drink is gone and pays Cliff a dime. For one dime, Harry the Hat winds up getting two pictures. You see, he didn’t thoughts fooling the gang at Cheers and making them look foolish, however there’s no actual hurt achieved right here. Harry the Hat was a grifter with a coronary heart of gold. This was first evidenced in “Decide a Con… Any Con” when Harry helps Coach out of a jam. Harry was so convincing that Sam thought Harry the Hat had double-crossed Coach, banning Harry from the bar earlier than studying that Harry had really secretly helped Coach. Anyway, there’s simply one thing about scoundrels doing the best factor on the final minute that at all times will get me. It’s most likely why I like characters like Harry the Hat and Han Solo a lot. (Additionally, that is most likely the primary Harry the Hat and Han Solo comparability in historical past.)
Harry’s final look got here within the ultimate season of Cheers, in an episode titled “Bar Wars VII: The Bare Prey.” (Okay, possibly this episode title is admittedly the primary Cheers/Star Wars reference.) After Gary from Gary’s Previous City Tavern wins a St. Patrick’s Day guess with Sam Malone over which bar would make more cash (Gary broke into Cheers and constructed a cement wall across the bar space so Cheers couldn’t promote any drinks), the gang from Cheers has to sing “Attending to Know You” up on Gary’s bar… bare. Sam vows revenge and goes to Harry the Hat for assist. Harry refuses and tells Sam to simply hand over. When Sam goes over to Gary’s Previous City Tavern to supply a concession to the feud, a bulldozer exhibits up and demolishes Gary’s Previous City Tavern.
Later, Gary exhibits up at Cheers to brag. At first, he blames Sam for destroying the bar in a prank that went too far, however then reveals that he had offered Gary’s Previous City Tavern to an actual property developer, who wished to place in a shopping center after the location was demolished, for 1,000,000 . Gary introduces the rich developer, who seems to be… Harry the Hat. This can be a significantly imply stunt with loads of authorized repercussions — one which value Gary his bar — however by turning Sam down earlier, Harry ensured that nobody at Cheers was concerned in what occurred. And in Harry’s thoughts it was justified as a result of Gary had gone too far in humiliating most likely the closest individuals Harry needed to “associates.” This episode is mainly “Harry the Hat Unleashed.” Due to Harry, Gary actually destroyed his personal bar.
As Harry walks out of Cheers for the final time, he tells everybody, “I assume I’ve at all times had a mushy spot for you lunkheads.” When Sam asks how they may repay him, Harry says, “You have already got.” In fact, Harry the Hat had stolen all the cash out of the Cheers money register, however contemplating that Cheers’ direct competitors is now gone, this looks as if a small worth to pay.
Anyway, the lesson of all this was: Don’t mess with Harry the Hat or the individuals he considers associates. Additionally, we’ll miss you, Harry Anderson.
You’ll be able to contact Mike Ryan immediately on Twitter.
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