Cheers and Monsters, Inc.: One's a comedy about a ragtag group of odd-yet-amusing beings, and the other is the new box-office hit from the makers of A Bug's Life and Toy Story. Yet, what do the two successful ventures have in common? John Ratzenberger, portrayer of trivia-spouting postman Cliff Clavin on the former Must-See mainstay, and voice of the lonely Yeti in Pixar's latest computer-animated film.
While Monsters, Inc. — with a take thus far of $225 million — falls shy of the pace being set by bewitching cineplex rivals Harry and Frodo, it is netting sequel-worthy numbers. But as Raztenberger tells TV Guide Online, "I don't think they're even thinking about a sequel. And if they are, they aren't yet talking to me about it."
Which is not to say that Ratzenberger (the only actor to lend his pipes to all four Pixar features) is off the company's payroll; rather, he just began work on Finding Nemo, an underwater-themed adventure in which he gives voice to a balloon fish. "It's a pleasure working for Pixar, because you know you can go with your family and just relax," he says. To illustrate his point, he relates a Toy Story anecdote: "In the original script, Buzz Lightyear at one point said, 'Damn!' I mentioned to the producers that, as a parent, I would have to explain to my kids why that word's not appropriate in my house, but it's heard in the film. And to their credit, they took it out."
As for his other big claim to fame, Ratzenberger is open to another round at the famous Cheers watering hole. "I always thought it'd be wonderful to meet one year for a Christmas special, and then just leave it at that," shares the actor, who spends his spare time helming Big Red Tent Productions (which develops online "mini-sitcoms" for Fortune 500 companies) and chairing ChildrenwithDiabetes.com. "There's certainly a hunger for it."Speaking of which, what does Ratzenberger think his information-rich mailman would be up to these days? "By now, Cliff is at least a district manager for the Post Office," he proposes. "And he probably made a fortune with a website called 'Ask Cliff.' He's got a yacht now, and is sailing somewhere in the South Pacific."