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Local News

February 16, 2011

Beverly man adds to Super Bowl commercial

BEVERLY — The Patriots might have missed out on the Super Bowl, but there was a local angle to the part of the game that everybody really cares about — the commercials.

Ryan McKenna, Beverly High Class of 2000, played a key role in the making of the Super Bowl ad that featured characters from famous TV shows like "The Brady Bunch," "Cheers" and "Seinfeld" decked out in NFL gear.

McKenna, 29, works for a visual effects company called The Mill and served as co-creative director and editor on the commercial promoting the NFL, called "American Family."

McKenna and a team of about 25 others spent months finding scenes from iconic sitcoms and altering them to make it look as though the characters were getting ready for a Super Bowl party, wearing "regionally specific" NFL gear, as McKenna said.

So the ad shows scenes such as Norm bursting into the "Cheers" bar wearing a Wes Welker Patriots jersey and the Fonz from "Happy Days" decked out in Packers gear. Cleveland Brown from "Family Guy"? You guessed it — he wore a Cleveland Browns shirt.

McKenna said he and others spent "thousands of hours" watching DVDs of the old shows to find the right scenes.

"I looked at every Norm entrance from Cheers," he said.

They also needed permission from the stars to use them in the commercial. McKenna said Ron Howard (we always knew he was a nice guy) and Henry Winkler were the first to give their OK.

"Once people found out the Fonz was in, everybody came around," McKenna said.

McKenna, the son of Louise and Hugh McKenna of Cornell Road, majored in film at Fitchburg State College and has worked in New York making commercials, music videos and films ever since.

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