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Fun 'Frasier' Facts You Might Not Know

Though he was initially reluctant to do so, Kelsey Grammer allowed his Cheers character, Dr. Frasier Crane, to be spun off into a separate series in 1993. Millions of Frasier fans are glad that he did. Since I certainly count myself among those fans, I thought I'd share more about how the series came to be.

1. Why the first idea didn't work

Early in 1993, Kelsey Grammer approached David Lee, David Angell, and Peter Casey (the brains behind the sitcom Wings) and asked if they'd be interested in creating a show for him. Grammer knew that Cheers' days were numbered, and thought it was time to strike out on his own. Both he and the creative team thought that any use of the Frasier Crane character would encourage unfair comparisons to Cheers, so their initial ideas involved 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 they'd be nuts not to capitalize on the built-in Cheers audience.

2. The Secret Behind the Show's Setting

Once it was agreed that Grammer would continue as Dr. Crane, the creators still wanted to distance themselves from Boston and the whole "crossover syndrome." They knew that the network would insist on having both Wings and former Cheers characters make guest appearances if the show was set anywhere in Massachusetts, so they moved Frasier across the country to Seattle. The gourmet coffee scene was taking root in that area, which provided a central meeting place for the characters. The creators didn't want Frasier Crane to work in private practice, which had already been done in The Bob Newhart Show. Grammer's resonant voice seemed natural for radio, so the concept of a call-in psychiatry show seemed natural. WKRP in Cincinnati had been set at a radio station, however, so writers needed to develop some sort of home life for Frasier.

3. The Real Life Inspiration

As it happened, David Lee was an only child and his father had recently suffered a debilitating stroke. Lee had to move back in with his mom for a while to help care for his dad during his rehabilitation. That situation gave him an idea. Why not have Frasier suddenly be forced to care for an aging parent? This role was filled by John Mahoney as Frasier's father Martin, a retired policeman who'd been injured in the line of duty. Not only would this angle provide the series with plots revolving around him at home, it also allowed the creators to incorporate one of their original ideas from their first series pitch "“ a home health care worker.

4. Daphne Moon or Daphne Luna?

The production team had Rosie Perez in mind to play Martin's nurse during their original pitch. But Warren Littlefield, then the president of NBC, thought that British actress Jane Leeves was perfect for the role. Kelsey had reservations about Jane; he thought an English character in such a role might be too reminiscent of Nanny and the Professor. But after a series of screen tests, it became apparent that Leeves brought the perfect mix of quirkiness, fun and warmth to the character and was hired.

5. How Poor Phoebe Got Fired

The role of Frasier's producer was the least developed when the pilot script was written. A casting call was announced and the role was eventually whittled down to two actresses: Lisa Kudrow and Peri Gilpin. The producers found Kudrow to be extremely funny, and able to make even the most mundane lines sound hilarious, so she was hired. During the first few days of rehearsals for the pilot episode, however, the writers found themselves having to re-write the characters of Roz and Frasier. It seemed that while Lisa was funny, she just couldn't play "forceful." It soon became apparent that that the role of Roz would have to fall to someone who, although less educated than Dr. Crane, would be in control of things at the radio station. They needed a character who could hold her own whenever Frasier became too pompous, and that someone was Peri Gilpin. Lisa was a trouper when the news was delivered, and landing a role on Friends the following year certainly helped to ease her pain.

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Afternoon Map
The Richest Person of All Time From Each State


Looking for inspiration in your quest to become a billionaire? This map from cost information website HowMuch.net, spotted by Digg, highlights the richest person in history who hails from each of the 50 states.

More billionaires live in the U.S. than in any other country, but not every state has produced a member of the Three Comma Club (seven states can only lay claim to millionaires). The map spans U.S. history, with numbers adjusted for inflation. One key finding: The group is overwhelmingly male, with only three women represented.

The richest American by far was John D. Rockefeller, repping New York with $257.25 billion to his name. Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Microsoft's Bill Gates clock in at the third and fifth richest, respectively. While today they both make their homes in the exclusive waterfront city of Medina, Washington, this map is all about birthplace. Since Gates, who is worth $90.54 billion, was born in Seattle, he wins top billing in the Evergreen State, while Albuquerque-born Bezos's $116.57 billion fortune puts New Mexico on the map.

The richest woman is South Carolina's Anita Zucker ($3.83 billion), the CEO of InterTech Group, a private, family-owned chemicals manufacturer based in Charleston. Clocking in at number 50 is the late, great socialite Brooke Astor—who, though a legend of the New York City social scene, was a native of New Hampshire—with $150 million.

[h/t Digg]

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Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
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There’s a Ghost Hiding in This Illustration—Can You Find It?
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

A hidden image illustration by Gergely Dudás, a.k.a. Dudolf
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

Gergely Dudás is at it again. The Hungarian illustrator, who is known to his fans as “Dudolf,” has spent the past several years delighting the internet with his hidden image illustrations, going back to the time he hid a single panda bear in a sea of snowmen in 2015. In the years since, he has played optical tricks with a variety of other figures, including sheep and Santa Claus and hearts and snails. For his latest brainteaser, which he posted to both his Facebook page and his blog, Dudolf is asking fans to find a pet ghost named Sheet in a field of white bunny rabbits.

As we’ve learned from his past creations, what makes this hidden image difficult to find is that it looks so similar to the objects surrounding it that our brains just sort of group it in as being “the same.” So you’d better concentrate.

If you’ve scanned the landscape again and again and can’t find Sheet to save your life, go ahead and click here to see where he’s hiding.

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