Watch George Wendt (Norm on Cheers) in this 1970s training film

Was this silent film on office safety George Wendt's first big role?

Long before he became famous as playing Norm on the classic TV sitcom "Cheers", actor George Wendt can be seen in this 1970s corporate film from AT&T, entitled "You Always Hurt the One You Love."

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According to the AT&T Archives, which published the film today on its YouTube channel, the film is a silent movie "about basic workplace safety, set in the 'deep past' (1900s) and the more recent past" (AT&T speculates around 1977). According to Wendt's IMDB page, his first role was in 1978, and then he appeared in several movies in 1980, including "My Bodyguard". After appearing in several different TV episodes, including Taxi, Soap and M*A*S*H, he landed the role of Norm Peterson on Cheers. AT&T says this appearance was likely done when Wendt was a member of the Second City improvisational troupe.

The training film itself is about "basic office workplace safety", and in the movie Wendt's character (John) and another girl (Marsha) are trying to have an "office romance" but keep getting injured by things around the office (such as getting stabbed by pencils, a stapler, or falling off a faulty office chair). It's completely silly, but AT&T speculates that the film was "shown to workers throughout the entire Bell System".

At about the 9-minute mark, the scene shifts to the modern times, with a reminder that office accidents can happen as much today as they did in the 1900s. We get to see modern equipment do its mayhem on the office workers, including hot photocopiers, people walking into desk attachments and other assorted filing cabinet mishaps.

Wendt reappears at about the 13:15 mark as a modern office worker, but we then quickly transition back to the 1900s era, in which John and Marsha live happily ever after (after he admits that he has Blue Cross).

Great stuff!

Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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