Although the popular sitcom ”Frasier” was rarely filmed here and the view of the skyline from his apartment was at an impossible angle, Seattle’s citizens bid the show a fond farewell Thursday.
“Frasier” -- which ends an 11-year run Thursday night in a final “Goodnight, Seattle” episode -- helped shape the image of Seattle as a hip, latte-loving and Gore-Tex-rainwear-clad city just as the grunge rock movement here was beginning to wane in the early 1990s.
“I think that they depicted a part of Seattle that is very, very accurate,” said Tracy Taylor, manager at the Elliott Bay Book Company, where Dr. Frasier Crane, the show’s lead character played by Kelsey Grammer, regularly browsed for books.
The bookstore’s basement coffee shop also served as the model for the show’s “Cafe Nervosa” hangout, and Taylor said that the store is now a regular stop for tourists in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square.
The constant consumption of dark, strong coffee on the show also cemented Seattle’s reputation as a town of coffee snobs, helped in part by the city’s being home to Starbucks Coffee Co. .
“Along with Microsoft, Starbucks and other recognizable symbols of Seattle’s prosperity, ’Frasier’ blew away notions of our city being an out-of-the-way, backwater burg,” wrote Melanie McFarland, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s television reporter.
“Frasier” was mostly filmed on a Hollywood set, with a couple of anniversary episodes being shot on location in Seattle. Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman and the world’s richest man, appeared on the 200th episode.
The view of the Space Needle from Frasier’s apartment window also helped to make the tower an even more recognized symbol of the city, even if the line of sight was virtually impossible. The view was actually a picture taken midway up a radio tower on top of Queen Anne hill in downtown Seattle, according to local folklore.
Despite the fame that “Frasier” brought the city, Seattlelites also appeared typically aloof at the show’s closure.
“I don’t think we paid a lot of attention to the show, but we do take pride in our coffee and our Gore-Tex and rain,” said Elliott Bay Book’s Taylor.