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Happy Days HD online

Happy Days  HD online
Language: English
Category: TV Series / Comedy / Family / Music
Original Title: Happy Days
Duration: 30min
Video type: TV Series
Richie Cunningham and his friend Potsie face life at Jefferson High in Milwaukee Wisconsin in the 1950s. Lots of changes over time as kids come and go, new series spin off, Richie and pals go to college then the army. Even marriage.

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Complete series cast summary:
Henry Winkler Henry Winkler - Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli / - 255 episodes, 1974-1984
Marion Ross Marion Ross - Marion Cunningham / - 255 episodes, 1974-1984
Tom Bosley Tom Bosley - Howard Cunningham / - 255 episodes, 1974-1984
Erin Moran Erin Moran - Joanie Cunningham / - 239 episodes, 1974-1984
Anson Williams Anson Williams - Potsie Weber / - 220 episodes, 1974-1984
Ron Howard Ron Howard - Richie Cunningham / - 170 episodes, 1974-1984
Don Most Don Most - Ralph Malph / - 168 episodes, 1974-1984
Al Molinaro Al Molinaro - Al Delvecchio / - 146 episodes, 1974-1984
Scott Baio Scott Baio - Chachi Arcola / - 130 episodes, 1977-1984

After the show became successful, Garry Marshall was approached and asked if the show could do anything that would help convince kids to read. In one episode, the Fonz decided that he would go to the library and check out a book, despite his reputation. (Said the Fonz, "Everybody is allowed to read.") That week, registration for library cards went up 500 percent.

In the final episode, Tom Bosley stepped out of character and turned to the camera thanking the viewers for being part of the Cunningham family for the many years the show had been on.

As the Fonz's character became more popular, network executives insisted that he had to be seen combing his hair, to show his respectability. Henry Winkler argued against doing this, saying it would make the Fonz look like an ordinary hoodlum. On the spur of the moment, Winkler made up the gag where the Fonz goes to comb his hair, looks in the mirror, and shrugs as if to say, "Ayyy, my hair's perfect. I don't need to comb it!" The gag got a big laugh from the studio audience, and became a Fonzie trademark. Later in the series, Fonzie showed Richie his comb and said, "Do you know I have had this comb for nine years, and it has never once touched my hair."

Many fans agree that the show's quality deteriorated after the three-part season 5 opener, "Hollywood", where Fonzie jumps a shark while water-skiing. Today, when a show takes a sharp drop in quality, has strayed from its original premise beyond the point of no return, or has writers insert desperate attempts for ratings, it's said to have "jumped the shark".

Although Fonzie loved motorcycles, Henry Winkler was terrified of them. Most of the scenes of Fonzie riding the motorcycle were shot with the bike attached to a platform, and being pulled by a truck.

At the height of the show's popularity, a call came through to Paramount Studios, from a teen-aged boy who was contemplating suicide, and "wanted to talk to Fonzie". Henry Winkler took the call, and gave the boy a pep-talk about life, convincing him to give it another chance.

In one episode the Cunninghams are coming out of a theater playing Music Man (1962) when Mrs. Cunningham comments that the little boy in the movie looks just like Richie (Ron Howard) when he was little. Mr. Cunningham replies that she's being silly and that the boy in the film looks nothing like Richie. In fact, Howard did indeed play the little boy, Winthrop Paroo, in the film, when he was eight years old.

Originally there were three Cunningham children. The eldest, Chuck, was phased out of the show (supposedly, he went off to college on a basketball scholarship), because according to Garry Marshall, "we realized that Fonzie was really the 'big brother' character the show needed". In the final episode, Howard comments that he's proud of his "two kids".

Richie and Joanie originally had an older brother, Chuck, who vanished without explanation. Now when a character is dropped from a series with no explanation given, it is known as "Chuck Cunningham Syndrome."

ABC at first feared Fonzie would be perceived as a hoodlum or criminal, and prohibited his wearing a leather jacket. In the first few episodes Henry Winkler wears a non-threatening gray windbreaker. The original windbreaker resembles the jacket wore by James Dean, the Fonz's idol, in Rebel Without a Cause. The leather jacket was introduced later and helped to make Fonzie a TV icon.

Gary Marshall started a baseball league that would tour and play different casts of different TV shows. The purpose of this was to keep the cast out of trouble and off drugs.

Micky Dolenz of The Monkees auditioned for the role of Fonzie. However, at 6' he was considerably taller than the other main cast members, and the producers decided that the Fonzie character should be more at an eye level with his peers. A search for a shorter actor resulted in Henry Winkler's hiring. (Dolenz later praised Winkler's portrayal, in his autobiography.)

Henry Winkler has said that he based some of Fonzie's movements and speech pattern on Sylvester Stallone. Winkler had worked with Stallone years earlier in Brooklyn Blues - Das Gesetz der Gosse (1974). Winkler vowed when he played Fonzie, he would never comb his hair on camera or have a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his T-shirt sleeve and he never did.

A bronze statue of the Fonz was unveiled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Tuesday, August 19th, 2008. The statue is located along the Milwaukee River riverwalk, at the south end of the Rock Bottom Brewery's outdoor seating area. Actors Henry Winkler, Marion Ross, Tom Bosley, Erin Moran, Don Most, Anson Williams, Penny Marshall, and Cindy Williams attended, as did director/producer Garry Marshall and producer Robert L. Boyett. The event included an autograph signing with proceeds to benefit the Boys & Girls Club Literacy Program, a performance by Joey Sorge, the Fonz in the "Happy Days" stage musical, a parade of stars down Wisconsin Avenue, and a ceremony at the Brewers Miller Park in which the cast threw out the first pitch and Anson Williams sang the national anthem.

Happy Days (1974) was so popular that "Rock Around the Clock" went back on the pop charts 19 years after its original release. The song, by Bill Haley and the Comets was #1 in 1955, and reached #39 in 1974.

Its ratings were so low at the end of its second season (and first full season) that it came close to being cancelled. Then Henry Winkler's "Fonzie" character started to catch on with viewers, the ratings took a turn for the better, and the show wound up running another nine years.

In the first episode of the series, "Arnold's" was identified as "Arthur's" (different name on the logo, but with the same rotating, stylized initial "A" above the name). The restaurant and teen hangout became "Arnold's" as of the second episode.

The Fonz became so popular that after the first few seasons the network wanted to rename the show "Fonzie's Happy Days" or just "Fonzie." Threatened resignations by Garry Marshall and Ron Howard ended this idea.

Pat Morita's character is called Arnold, but in one episode he reveals that the restaurant was named Arnold's when he bought it, and he couldn't afford to replace the sign. His real name is Mitsumo Takahashi.

Tom Hanks guest starred in Happy Days: A Little Case of Revenge (1982) as an old rival of Fonzie's who had learned martial arts and wanted to finally end their decade plus long spat in a fight of revenge.

Originated as a segment on Wo die Liebe hinfällt (1969).

The motorcycle Fonzie (Henry Winkler) rode in the series was the same model that Steve McQueen rode in the famous motorcycle sequences in Gesprengte Ketten (1963).

Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli's character was originally to be named Arthur Maschiarelli (creator Garry Marshall's real last name) and nicknamed "Mash." When ABC first picked up the show, they had Marshall change the character's name because they felt that "Mash" might remind people of M*A*S*H (1972)'s, a popular show on a rival network television station.

Anson Williams' voice was the one heard when songs like "Hound Dog" were playing on the juke box.

In the first season, The Fonz wore a blue windbreaker. Starting in season two, he wore his trademark brown leather jacket, which now hangs in the Smithsonian.

Ron Howard at first passed on playing Richie, because he didn't want to "be a teenager the rest of my life" on television. He reconsidered when Garry Marshall promised him if the series were picked up, Richie and his friends would graduate high school and become adults. Even Fonzie went back to night school, to graduate with the gang.

The only people Fonzie allowed to call him by his proper name (Arthur) were Mrs. Cunningham and his girlfriend Ashley.

Pat Morita played Arnold without an accent in rehearsals until Garry Marshall pulled him aside and asked, sheepishly, if he wouldn't mind playing Arnold with broken English. Morita agreed.

During his first appearance, Mork is looking at television and the show he is looking at is The Andy Griffith Show (1960), which featured Ron Howard. He even makes a comment to that he really liked the show especially Opie, who was played by Howard.

Bill Haley and the Comets' classic "Rock Around The Clock" served as the theme song for season one's sixteen episodes of the show. For the first series episode the original 1955 recording was used, but for the remaining shows' opening credits of season one the band recorded a special version of their most popular song.

When Ron Howard and Don Most left the show, their absences were explained by having Richie and Ralph join the army.

Marion was an archaeology major in college.

The show's line "Sit on it!" was ranked #8 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 20 Top Catchphrases" (21-27 August 2005 issue).

It's a common belief that George Lucas' American Graffiti (1973) was the inspiration for this series. In actuality, the pilot for the series (seen on Wo die Liebe hinfällt (1969)) aired before Lucas began production on his film. However, the success of that movie caused producer Garry Marshall to reconsider his failed pilot and turn it into a series.

With the death of Al Molinaro in 2015, Marion Ross is now the oldest living cast member.

Linda Purl originally played the recurring role of Richie's girlfriend Gloria in the first season before she took the later role of Fonzie's girlfriend Ashley.

Ron Howard admitted that the reason he left the USC Film School before graduating is because he was cast in this series.

While there briefly was only one Chuck Cunningham there were two different actors who played the character: Gavan O'Herlihy and Randolph Roberts.

"Potsie" got his name because he loved to work with clay as a kid (he was especially fond of having made a big clay ashtray). Potsie could have also been inspired from Putsie in Grease, a similar character with similar characteristics.

In episode, Happy Days: Richie Fights Back (1975) Arnold's chef & owner Pat Morita taught Richie martial arts. Morita would later become even more famous for playing Miyagi, the wise martial arts master in Karate Kid (1984) and its sequels.

Pinky and her TV sister Leather's name Tuscadero was taken from the real-life town of Atascadero, in California. Leather was played by singer/bass guitarist Suzi Quatro, who'd achieved pop stardom in England and wanted to bring her career back to America.

The house used for the exterior shots of the "Cunningham" home in the opening sequence, as well as various points throughout the show's run, is located at 565 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004. It was located only 2.1 miles (3.4Km) from where Sandra (Rachel Ticotin) and Detective Prendergast (Robert Duvall) have lunch in Falling Down - Ein ganz normaler Tag (1993).

Fonzie's full name is Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli.

Ralph's parents were named Mickey and Minnie Malph. His father was an optometrist, played by Jack Dodson.

Pat Morita who played Arnold signed his contract pick-up option to continue for another 2 or 3 seasons, however soon after signing he was offered his own TV series and was allowed to leave Happy Days. The 1976 TV series that developed was "Mr. T and Tina" which aired only 5 episodes (another 5 episodes were never aired).

Fonzie's hero was the Lone Ranger, whose picture he carried in his wallet.

Robin Williams's two dialogues, in Happy Days: My Favorite Orkan (1978) & Happy Days: Mork Returns (1979) were improvised.

Lynda Goodfriend appeared earlier on the show as Ralph's girlfriend before taking on the role as Richie's girlfriend (and later wife) Lori-Beth.

Roz Kelly, who appeared as Pinky Tuscadero in the Season 4 three-part premiere "Fonzie Loves Pinky", was slated to become a recurring character, but it never came to fruition. In later interviews Roz Kelly said she hadn't gotten along with co-star Henry Winkler offscreen. "I was from the wrong side of the tracks, and he was a rich kid. That rubbed me the wrong way."

Gary Marshall admits that when he envisioned Fonzie he was thinking of "someone who is cut" like Sylvester Stallone or Perry King, not physically someone like Henry Winkler, i.e. short. But he said Winkler nailed it in the audition, he had the attitude of Fonzie down, if not the look, so he got the part. Ironically Winkler admits he was channeling Sylvester Stallone when he auditioned for Fonzie. (He met Stallone when they worked on Lords of Flatbush together .)

Robby Benson and Don Most were both considered for the role of Richie Cunningham. (The two also appeared together in a commercial for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.) The character of Ralph Malph was created for Most.

When the show first started it centered primarily on Richie and Potsie (as did the "Love American Style" episode of which "Happy Days" as based). Fonzie would make appearances (usually helping them out of trouble); as would Ralph, who was sort of a jerk character (neither Henry Winkler or Don Most appeared in the beginning credits of season one). In seasons to come, Ralph would become good friends with Richie and Potsie (equal with Potsie), and Fonzie's character would step up to be equal - and then later to overshadow - Richie's character.

Howard Cunningham drove a De Soto for most of the series. He finally traded it for a red 1962 Studebaker Lark.

Henry Winkler and Anson Williams are the only cast members to appear in every incarnation of the cast group shot that ends freeze frame on the opening credits with Henry Winkler always giving the Fonz's trademark thumbs up.

Even though this wasn't a science fiction show there were a handful of sci fi themed episodes. Three of them were with Mork from Ork, who was villainous in the first episode, not friendly. And there was an episode where Fonzie battles the nephew of the Devil.

Linda Purl's contract was not renewed for the show's final season. Consequently her absence was explained by having Ashley return to her estranged husband to try to patch up their marriage.

Originally Fonzie had a younger cousin named Spike (aka Raymond), who would show up occasionally during the first few seasons. He was written out after the third season, and replaced by Chachi.

Richie Cunningham's favorite song is "Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino.

Marion Cunningham's maiden name was Kelp.

The character 'Howard Cunningham' was ranked #9 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (20 June 2004 issue).

Comedian Phil Silvers did a cameo in the episode Happy Days: Just a Piccalo (1981) as Jenny Piccalo's father. (Jenny Piccalo was played by his real-life daughter, Cathy Silvers.) It was one of his last television appearances.

In her interview with Howard Stern, Erin Moran said Henry Winkler would kiss her and Marion Ross frequently off camera.

In the first few episodes with Fonzie, he could only wear his leather jacket if he was on or near his motorcycle. The producers felt it would tone down the hoodlum image since it would appear he was wearing it for safety reasons.

The house used for the exterior shots of the "Cunningham" home in the opening sequence, as well as various points throughout the show's run looked nothing like the interior of the set. For one, the garage was to the right of the front door but the set had a window where the garage should be, the garage was located next to the kitchen door which meant the garage's driveway wasn't in front of the house at all. Fonzie lived over the garage and there was a set of stairs that led up to his apartment

Due to playing Happy Days character "The Fonz " and being so popular, Henry Winkler was poached to play Danny in the movie Grease in 1978. After considering it for a couple of weeks, he then turned the idea down saying John Travolta would play the part better and "had them special eyes to woo the lady audience".

In summer of 1976, "Theme From Happy Days" was a hit single, peaking at #5 on the national charts.

Ron Howard said he would not appear in a show called "Fonzie's Happy Days" when the producers presented him with that option. But he did lend his voice to an animated spinoff called "Fonz and the Happy Days Gang" which ran from 1980 until 1982, as did Donny Most and Henry Winkler.

In 1982 when "Happy Days" was still on the air cast member Ron Howard would direct cast member Henry Winkler in the smash hit film "Night Shift".

Potsie's father, who was often talked about but never seen, owned a gas station.

Henry Winkler plays Principal Himbry in Scream - Schrei! (1996), the mean principal who gets eviscerated by Ghostface about halfway through the movie. In an obvious reference to Happy Days he stops and does a Fonzie double take in the mirror, checking his hair.

Originally started out being filmed with a laugh track and a single camera. Three episodes from the 1974-1975 season were later filmed before a studio audience with three cameras as an experiment. Beginning with the 1975-1976 season, the series switched full time to the three-camera, live studio audience format. The long familiar living room set arrangement used throughout most of the series' run made its debut at the beginning of the 1975-1976 season.

The name of the garage that Fonzie worked in was originally called Herb's. When Herb retired, he sold the garage, and it became Bronko's.

Chachi's trademark phrase, "Wa Wa Wa", came from Scott Baio always saying or asking "What, What, What?".

Fonzie's nickname for Joanie Cunningham was "Shortcake".

Henry Winkler was originally in the running to play Danny in the film version of Grease . Grease producer Robert Stigwood was considering him about the same time he was considering Marie Osmond for Sandy. Both actors eventually turned down the roles though.

One of the working titles for this series was "Cool", before they settled on "Happy Days". At one point they were going to change it to " Fonzie's Happy Days," but Ron Howard wouldn't stand for that.

Melvin is a stock name for nerds on the show. In addition to Melvin Belvin, and the episode where Fonzie assumes the name Melvin to infiltrate the She-Devils, there's also Melvin Scratch, the Devil's nerdy nephew who battles Fonzie and who takes possession of Chachi's soul.

In an Emmy TV Legends Interview Marion Ross said that Erin Moran did not handle fame well. She said that her parents were unstable and unsupportive. Ross said that Erin Moran eventually succumbed to pressures and self destructive instincts that annihilate so many young actors in Hollywood as a result. She suggested that parents should not let their kids get involved in Hollywood and showbiz at all. "It's not good for the family. It isn't easy. And it isn't permanent". She said the "only child actor in Hollywood that's survived and turned out OK is Ron Howard. Name another one. I can't."

Anson Williams and Scott Baio both received record deals based on their musical work for the series.

Joanie Cunningham's middle name was Louise.

The character Bosley from Charlie's Angels (which was on 1976-1981, roughly the same period of time as Happy Days, and the same network, ABC), was named after Tom Bosley from Happy Days. They wanted a Tom Bosley-ish character, i.e. a middle-aged, wisecracking Dad type character, to be the mentor for the three angels, but Spelling couldn't get Bosley due to his contractual commitment to Happy Days, so they hired David Doyle instead.

Suzi Quatro was a major rock star when she played Leather Tuscadero on Happy Days, the first female bass player to score several hits on Billboard's Hot 100 List, including "Devil Gate Drive" which she performed on the show with Erin Moran/Joanie playing backup singer as one of her " Suedes."

Al Molinaro was a regular on Garry Marshall's other big sitcom before Happy Days; the Odd Couple, where he played Murray the cop, longtime friend of Felix and Oscar. But on The Odd Couple Felix and Oscar were always teasing Murray about his nose; on Happy Days they never did that, (maybe because Big Al was so much older than Fonz and the gang at Arnold's; it was a respect thing).

During the character's short run on the series, older brother Chuck Cunningham would usually be holding a basketball.

John Byner was originally signed to play Mork.

Eddie Mekka plays Carmine Ragusa, boyfriend to Shirley Feeney and friend to Laverne Defazio and the Fonze in both Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. He also plays Carmine's twin lookalike cousin Joey Delueca on the Happy Days spinoff Blansky's Beauties. This is made all the more strange by the fact that Happy Days takes place in the past, in 1950s Milwaukee, and Blansky's Beauties takes place (in what was then the present), in Vegas in the 1970s, and these and other characters on the two shows cross over through this time warp without any mention of any of this.

Ron Howard filmed the pilot to Happy Days before appearing in American Graffiti (1973). ABC rejected the pilot; saying it was boring and passe and nobody wanted to watch a show about the 50s; and aired it as an episode of Love American Style (1969). Then American Graffiti came out and was a huge hit. Nostalgia in the 50s and 60s suddenly became very popular as a result; and ABC changed it's minds about Happy Days; opting to buy a new souped up version of the show.

Chachi's real name was Charles.

It was originally intended that Potsie would be Richie's best friend, showing him the ropes of young adulthood. The viewer response to Fonzie was so strong, though, that the writers' focus shifted, and Fonzie took Potsie's place.

Among the merchandising produced during the show's run were T-shirts (proclaiming "Sit on it!"), a line of figures from Mego (featuring a Fonzie whose thumbs could be posed up or down), and a record compilation of 1950s hits, whose cover was a souvenir photo of Henry Winkler in character. (A disclaimer read "No! The Fonz has not taken to singing on this album!")

Harold Gould appeared as Howard Cunningham in the unsold pilot. When Garry Marshall decided to re-shoot the pilot Gould was once again offered the Howard Cunningham role. He turned it down, because he had already committed to doing a Broadway play. Tom Bosley was later chosen for the part.

Among the differences between the show's beginnings as the "Love and the Happy Day" episode on Wo die Liebe hinfällt (1969) and its premiere two years later as a series is that the role of Howard Cunningham originally was played by Harold Gould instead of Tom Bosley and there was no Fonzie on that episode.

The more familiar "Happy Days" theme was used in the opening credits beginning with the 1975-1976 season. An entirely new arrangement of the theme was introduced during the 1983-1984 season.

The Fonzie character rose in prominence as the series progressed, eventually even to outshine the star Ron Howard. Ironically though, once Ron Howard left the show, the show's quality deteriorated and was never the same again (it "Jumped the Shark!") This is agreed upon by pretty much everyone, even the stars of the show. Marion Ross has said in interviews of Ron Howard's departure :"We (the cast) thought the show wouldn't survive after Ron left. It did survive but it was never the same".

The Odd Couple was on during the 1974 and 1975, as was Happy Days, both Gary Marshall sitcoms. Both Al Molinaro and Penny Marshall were recurring characters on both these programs.

In interviews about the show Roz Kelly, who played Pinky Tuscadero, said she didn't get along with Henry Winkler, her onscreen boyfriend. "I was from the wrong side of the tracks and he was a rich kid. That rubbed me the wrong way." Kelly was originally slated to be a permanent cast member but infighting with Winkler and other cast members got her written off the show.

In an "Emmy TV Legends" interview Henry Winkler said "I would like to have an Emmy. It's not enough just to be nominated."

In his recent autobiography "Singing to a Bulldog" Anson Williams discloses that Gary Marshall told him to develop his entrepreneurial skills; which he has done to great effect; starting several successful businesses including a beauty and skin products line for celebrities and making himself a successful TV director in Hollywood. Marshall told Williams "With your acting skills it's good to have a fallback option."

In one episode, Fonzie gets a visit from his idol, the Lone Ranger...As he leaves, he gives Fonzie a silver bullet. The Lone Ranger's trademark. The Lone Ranger was played by John Hart, who played the Lone Ranger in the 1950's along with Clayton Moore.

Whenever Fonzie was attempting to elicit an answer out ouf someone, and they were right, his response was always "correctamundo".

Richie and Fonzie originally met when Fonzie was a member of the Falcons; a local gang with a bad reputation. When Fonzie threatened to beat Richie up, rather than run away or crumble, Richie stood his ground, suggesting they'd probably make better friends than enemies, but he was ready to fight if that's what Fonzie really wanted. Fonzie had never gotten this kind of response before, thought it over, and realized he admired Richie's boldness. The two became friends, and Fonzie quit the Falcons not long afterwards.

Henry Winkler and Tom Bosley are the only cast members who appear in all two hundred fifty-five episodes of the series. Marion Ross was absent for just three.

John Byner was orginally cast as Mork; when he quit right before taping day. Gary Marshall asked the cast if they knew anyone who might replace him; and Al Malinaro, who had seen a stand-up comedian set in LA earlier in the week; suggested one of the star comedians of that show; Robin Williams. Marshall quickly got in touch with Williams' agent; and the rest is history. Ron Howard in an Emmy TV LEGENDS interview segment said the episode "My Favorite Orkan"; which had a horrible script-(which is part of why Byner probably quit so abruptly, so horrible that ABC questioned Gary Marshall if he really wanted to film such a silly story before shooting); quickly went from one of the worst episodes in Happy Days history during the rehearsal; to one of the best during taping; solely on the basis of William's star-making performance. Williams quickly got his own series right after that; and A-List stardom followed quickly thereafter.

Crystal Bernard first appeared as a one episode character named Mikki in the 9th season before returning as Howard's niece K.C. Cunningham the following year.

Fonzie's family nickname was "Skippy", given to him by his grandmother.

Originally, when the show was still broadcasting first-run episodes, producers would air re-runs with the title "Happy Days Again" in the syndication package.

Arnold was referred to but never seen in the first season. Eventually ABC insisted that Arnold make an appearance. (This was one of the deals Gary Marshall made with the network as he was retooling the show for the 1975-1976 season.)

The dance Fonzie does when he wins the dance contest with Joanie is actually "Hava Nagila", a famous Jewish dance. While Fonzie was Italian and not Jewish (the opposite of actor Henry Winkler), his grandmother had re-married into a Jewish family (becoming Mrs. Nussbaum), which could explain how Fonzie learned about it.

Ralph Malph's trademark line was (after telling a joke): "I still got it!"

Happy Days (1974)'s pilot episode (of 255) debuted with Happy Days: All the Way (1974) on Tuesday, January 15th, 1974 & series' finale: Happy Days: Fonzie's Spots (1984) on Tuesday, September 24th, 1984 was a weekly series lasting 3,920 days equaling 560 weeks. Followed by M*A*S*H (1972)'s 251 episodes from Sunday, September 17th, 1972's M*A*S*H: Pilot (1972) to Monday, February 28th, 1983's M*A*S*H: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen (1983) was a weekly series 3,816 days equaling 545 weeks and 1 day. Just 104 days (14 weeks & 6) days differ among their time as a weekly series.

This show had more catch phrases than any other sitcom in the history of television. The only other TV show with more catch phrases in the whole history of television is Saturday Night Live, and that is a variety show or a skit show, not a sitcom. The following are examples of Happy Days' catch phrases. Fonzie: Ayyyyyy! That is Cool! That is un-Cool! Coolimundo! and Whoa! Ritchie: I Found My Thrill! Yowza! Yowza! Yowza! Hey Bucko! and Huh-huh-huh. Ralph: I still got it! Chaachi: Wha-Wha-Wha! and Hey Blue Eyes! Big Al: Yep-Yep-Yep-Yep-Yep! Also "Sit on it!" was a catch phrase for everyone in the cast. Also crossover characters Mork from Ork: Nanoo-nanoo! And Zazbot! And Carmine Ragusa: They say my life was rags to riches.

The restrooms at Arnold's were marked as Guys and Dolls.

The motorcycle that Fonzie rode in the earliest episodes was a Harley-Davidson Knucklehead. They switched to a 1949 Triumph because it was lighter for Henry Winkler to hold up.

Richie and Joanie are the only two other characters to wear Fonzie's leather jacket. Richie wore it twice while pretending to be Fonzie and Joanie wore it once while Fonzie was in therapy for fighting too much.

Nancy Walker starred on the ABC sitcom Happy Days spinoff Blansky's Beauties in the 1977-1978 season. She was also starring as Ida Morganstern, Rhoda's mother on the CBS sitcom Rhoda, another spinoff, during this same time.

Pat Morita played recurring characters in three concurrent series in the seventies: Happy Days, MASH, and Mr. T and Tina.

The Tuscaerdo sisters, Leather and Pinky, have similar hand gestures. Pinky snaps, crunches her hands together and then points at whoever she's talking to, and Leather slaps her thigh twice and then points her finger, like a gun, and whoever she's talking to and says "Pow". They both use these gestures interchangeably with hello and goodbye.

Joanie called Fonzie a "hood" during the first season, and didn't seem to like him.

When the show started network executives objected to Fonzie's leather jacket, saying it seemed to endorse punks and criminal activities. They insisted he wear a windbreaker instead. Gary Marshall convinced network executives that Fonzie was wearing his leather jacket for safety reasons while riding his motorcycle. The ABC executives relented by saying he could wear his jacket as long as he was driving his bike. Marshall then told Happy Days writers never to have Fonzie on-screen unless he was riding his motorcycle, which allowed him to wear his leather jacket 24/7. The character surged in popularity during this period, and network executives soon lost their trepidation with the jacket.

Gary Marshall, Marion Ross and Ron Howard all starred in Grand Theft Auto in 1977 while Happy Days was still on the air. This was the first movie Ron Howard directed; and it was also his first big hit.

For the first couple seasons Good Times and Happy Days were scheduled at the same time, on Tuesday nights at 8pm EST, so they were in direct competition with each other. Good Times was the champ during the first two years, and Happy Days was slated for cancellation. Then Happy Days was retooled in part to copy some of the strong points of Good Times: Good Times had a flamboyant teen idol ladies man type character at it' s core who used lot of catch phrases ( JJ). So Happy Days decided to copy the same format, pushing Fonzie, its teen idol, into the center of the show, giving him lots of catch phrases to compete with "Dynomite", like "Ayyyy!" and "coolimundo!". The changes worked: Happy Days jumped to number 1 in the ratings, crushing the competition Good Times.

The cast of Happy Days recently sued CBS (who currently owns the rights to the show) for merchandising royalties. According to them they were not getting any money from all the merchandising from the show; and all the lunch boxes, slot machines, posters and other show paraphernalia from their likenesses. CBS eventually settled and awarded them all a small sum of money.

Originally they were thinking about setting this in the 20s. Nostalgia for the 20s and 30s was at an all time high in 1972 (it was more popular, at that point, than nostalgia for the 50s). But Gary Marshall pushed to have it set in the 1950s, and he eventually prevailed.

Potsie's real first name was Warren.

Whenever someone knocked at Fonzie's door, his reply was "Fonzie's free".

According to Anson Williams, John Travolta auditioned for Potsie.

Anson Williams, Marion Ross and Ron Howard all collaborated on the TV movie "Skyward" in 1980. Ron Howard directed it; Williams co-produced it and Marion Ross starred in it. Bette Davis also appeared in the movie. Amazingly she was a stand in for Melissa Sue Anderson, who could not appear in the project for scheduling reasons! Apparently no one has anything nice to say about Ms. Davis. "I was scared of her," Marion Ross says of the movie legend. "I stayed away from her." Anson Williams also said Ms Davis was not very fun to work with. Facts of Life star Lisa Welchel also appeared in this high profile and highly rated 1980 tv movie as well.

Phil Silvers appearance on the Happy Days episode "Just a Piccolo"; playing the father to daughter Kathy Silvers' Jenny Piccolo character; was one of his last TV appearances anywhere; and he died in 1985; shortly after Happy Days wrapped.

When the show started it definitely was a period piece; the people did look like it was the 50s. By the end of the show show; in 1984; everyone was dressing contemporary and there was no attempt at period piece authenticity; everyone was simply dressed like people from 1984.

Tom Bosley and Anson Williams were each directed by Steven Spielberg on television (Bosley for two 'Night Gallery' episodes, Williams for one 'Owen Marshall' episode), before they were cast on the series.

There is a gang called the Red Devils; and a gang called the She-Devils also on the show. Both of these gangs kidnap a member of the Cunningham family to date them. The Red Devils kidnap Joannie and the She Devils kidnap Ritchie.

In the Fonzie Vs the She-Devils episode the head She-Devil is played by Second City and Hill Street Blues Alumn Betty Thomas; who would go on to direct the Brady Bunch movie.

After abruptly quitting the Happy Days episode he was originally supposed to film; as the original Mork; John Byner started his own hit HBO series; Bizarre; which ran for several years on HBO.

Henry Winkler (Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli) & Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham) also starred together on Arrested Development (2003) as Barry Zuckerkorn & the Narrator respectively.

After they shot the Happy Days episode A Date With Fonzie which introduced audiences to Laverne and Shirley, ABC immediately approached Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall about starring in their own spin-off series. Penny said yes, and Cindy said no. Cindy had just starred in American Graffiti and the Conversation, both big hits in the early 70s, and was busy auditioning for movies like Star Wars and still had dreams of being a movie star. So ABC casting executive Michael Eisner recast the Shirley part with an actress named Liberty Williams, no relation to Cindy. Liberty Williams was an ABC extra and stock player at this point, known primarily for doing voice over work playing Jayna, one of the Wonder Twins, on ABCs Saturday morning cartoon hit The Superfriends. Liberty Williams and Penny Marshall filmed a couple scenes together as the new Laverne and Shirley, and this was presented to the ABC executives who gave it the go ahead, ready to film the new series with Liberty in the lead, not Cindy. The new pairing was good, but not great. Who knows if given time Liberty Williams could have grown into the role and the pairing could have become something special, but it seemed to lack the chemistry that Cindy and Penny, who were friends in real life, had. ABC began to prepare the girls for the new series, but Gary Marshall plead with Cindy one last time to take the role, and finally she relented, and the rest is history. Except in an ABC vault somewhere there's the screen test in it showing Liberty Williams as Shirley, never seen by the general public. Michael Eisner talks about all of this on an Emmy TV Legends interview which can be seen on YouTube.

The Fonzie character was added to Happy Days because Paul Le Mat's John Milner Greaser character was such a hit in American Grafitti; Michael Eisner and Gary Marshall; who created the series; felt they needed a Greaser character as well. So Fonzie was based on and inspired by John Milner in American Graffiti.

Ron Howard and Tom Hanks were on Happy Days together before they made movies (Splash, Angels and Demons, Inferno, The Davinci Code and Apollo 13) together.

The Happy Days/Laverne and Shirley crossover episode appeared in 1979 at the beginning of the seventh season for both shows. The problem with this is Laverne and Shirley had flashed forward 5 years at this point; when the girls moved top Burbank at the beginning of season 7; from 1962 to about 1967. Whereas the Happy Days Gang were still stuck in 1962. So the shows have a serious timeline/logic problem and are both very anachronistic at this point.

Ron Howard and Cindy Williams would co-star in the Happy Days/Laverne and Shirley crossover episode "Shotgun Wedding" in the fall of 1979. That same year they co-starred as a couple also in "More American Graffiti"(1979).

The Shotgun Wedding episode originally had a cliffhanger ending with Richie running for help to free the captured Fonzie. This led to "Shotgun Wedding Part 2"; a Laverne in Shirley crossover episode which had Laverne and Shirley coming to the boy's rescue. But Gary Marshall shot a version of the Happy Days episode which ending with Richie running for help, and Foznie running right after him; explaining to Mr. C that Laverne and Shirley had freed them; so the whole thing could be tied up in one Happy Days episode. (It was rare then and now to have a cliffhanger episode on one show led to a crossover episode on another show.)

In the 1970s Penny Marshall appeared concurrently on 4 different shows; Happy Days; Laverne and Shirley; Odd Couple; and the Mary Tyler Moore Show. She played Laverne Defazio on Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley; (she even appeared on Mork and Mindy playing this character as well). She also played Myrna Turner on Odd Couple. She also played Janice Dreyfus on Mary Tyler Moore Show. She played recurring characters on all 5 of these shows, something which has never been done before or since.

It's implied that Richie, Potsie and Ralph are all the same age. In reality, though Ron Howard and Don Most are just seven months apart in age, Anson Williams is four years older than both of them. It's also implied that the Fonz was a bit older, but still in reality, Henry Winkler is four years older than Williams (additionally, eight years older than Howard and Most).

John Bailey played Sticks on two different episodes of Happy Days. He was the only recurring African American character on the series.

Marion Fairy Godmother was the only Happy Days episode that Leather Tuscadero appears in where she doesn't sing.

The name of Leather's backing group was the Suedes.

When she did an interview on The Howard Stern Show, Erin Moran said that Henry Winkler is constantly announcing to everyone that he hates Anson Williams.

Melvin Belvin was a nerd on the show. Fonzie also pretends his name is Melvin in the "Fonzie and the She-Devils" episode, (which co-starred Hill Street Blues' Betty Thomas.)

Both Marion Ross and Al Marinaro played characters that were named after them. Nancy Walker also played a character named after herself on the show.

Pat Morita plays a character who trains the hero to fight against bullies using Karate on both Happy Days and Karate Kid.



Reviews: [25]

  • avatar

    Impala Frozen

    When Happy Days aired, I was in grade school, and like all the kids in my day, I loved "The Fonz" and his "cool" image and what it represented. Of course, ratings are ratings, and the Fonzie became the dominant figure in the show.

    Now, as I've watched the reruns on "Nickelodean", I have to admit that the show was of much better quality in its early episodes. It truly was a "family" show with a moral at the end of each episode, without being preachy. It seems that in those early episodes (the first year or year and a half), the show truly did capture the 50's suburban lifestyle.

    Once Fonzie became the focus, it does seem now that the show got kind of silly and unbelieveable, and saturated by "Fonzie." Of course, it's not quality of writing that keeps shows alive, unfortunately, and I realize that the show wouldn't have survived as long as it had if it had kept its earlier format. Still, I do greatly enjoy those early episodes when I watch them.
  • avatar

    Swordsong

    I don't know what Joel S. was watching when he was making comments about Fonzie being a loser.

    Fonzie was supposed to be older than the rest of the gang, but not by that many years. Perhaps it was because Henry Winkler was older than the rest of the cast that he looked, as you said, twenty years older.

    Fonzie never dated high school girls. He knew they were too young for him. He had morals.

    Fonzie being an illiterate high school drop-out? I don't know where you got that from. Fonzie had dropped out of high school when the show started, but one of plot points of the episode where Richie graduated high school was that Fonzie revealed that he'd been secretly going to night school to earn his high school diploma. He graduated with the rest of the gang.

    Fonzie living above the Cunningham's garage. That was because he'd given up his own apartment to his grandmother after she'd been forced to leave her own place. He stayed above the garage for so long because he loved he Cunninghams like his own family. He essentially was a part of the family. In the last season, he did move out into a regular apartment. In the last episode he bought a house so that he would be allowed to adopt an orphaned boy he'd befriended. Gee...buying a house so you can provide a good home and be a good parent? Doesn't sound like a loser.

    As well, Fonzie also worked several jobs at once. He was (or became) the owner of the garage he worked at. When Arnold's burned down, he put up money to help Al rebuild and became the part-owner. Then, he started teaching shop class at Jefferson High. He later went to a tough school and became the Dean of Boys, so he could help kids who needed guidance.

    So, I think Fonzie was a cool character not because of his leather jacket, or motorcycle, or his prowess with girls. I think he was cool because he was a good person who was always willing to help a friend in need. Did you ever see the episode where Al wants to go down to Alabama to join a Civil Rights march? (This was a later episode when the time was the 1960's). Fonzie is concerned about Al's safety and goes with him to look out for him. Fonzie joins Al and a young African-American man in a sit-in at a diner. That doesn't sound like something a loser would do.
  • avatar

    Rageseeker

    This was one of the greatest shows of the 1970's. Many people think of it as a simple comedy, but in the early years the series tackled some serious issues such as racism and nuclear war. The strength of the show was the friendship between Richie and Fonzie. The chemistry between Ron Howard and Henry Winkler made this show a classic. Unfortunately, after Howard left, they tried to keep the show going by focusing on Joanie and Chachi and that was when the show began to go downhill. However, just ignore the final years of the show and pay attention to the early years.
  • avatar

    Yozshugore

    Happy Days first three seasons rank among the best television made.Very funny,entertaining ,well acted.The show was perfectly cast.Authentic haircuts and fashions,cars etc from the late 1950s when the show took place.A lot of attention always goes to Ron Howard and Henry Wikler,but Donny Most as Ralph was equally good and definitely the funniest character.However when they introduced Scott Baio to the show,around season four it started to slowly decline in quality.Scott Baio was only one reason for the lower quality.A few other reasons,the story lines were not as good or funny.Once the main characters reached college for some reason the show lost some of its spark.A few seasons later Donny Most and Ron Howard left the show,that also contributed to the poorer quality of later episodes.It got to the point where the last 3 or 4 seasons were just ordinary at best but often boring and stupid.The characters even dressed in 1980s fashions and hairstyles when the later seasons took place in the early 1960s.So stick to the early seasons for great entertainment.
  • avatar

    Malann

    Once upon a time this show was legendary. The first 2 seasons were fantastic. Basically Fonzie was simply used in few spots and it worked. The mystique was there. It was a show about adolescence in the 50s and had a wonderful character named Chuck. Richies older brother that worked with added plot lines. Than they ditched Chuck for the second phase of HD and you still had a nice show but the mystique of Fonzie was gone. Also the original reason why the show was made was gone. The plots became somewhat sillier but they were acceptable. Bringing in Mork for an episode was silly and may have been the start of the downfall with all due respect for JUMP THE SHARK ep. Mork was not realistic. All of a sudden you had alien existence in a show intended to be realistic viewpoints of growing up adolescents in 1950s Midwest. The show would continue to get sillier with the addition of Chachi. Thus entering the 3rd stage of this show. With an occasional good episode but still a mere shell of its origins. The show at this time was full of itself. More for the marketing of products than anything else. Gary Marshall should be ashamed. Ron Howard left the show for the final stage of this train wreck and has made many wonderful movies as a director. The 4th stage was absolutely horrible. No Richie, but a parade of characters that very few had any affection for. Just sad the way this show was destroyed. I will always cherish the first couple of seasons and tolerate a few more toward the middle of this run. Just a bad way this show went out. The last episode was even so classless as to not show brother CHUCK in the collage ending this show . Thank goodness for earlier seasons coming out on DVD first.
  • avatar

    Nicearad

    I remember when this show was King, c. '76 or so, Tuesdays at 8pm. It was one of those shows that you watched faithfully, got into the characters, jokes, knew the punchlines beforehand every time, and talked about the day after w/ friends. Kids loved it the most, as the Fonz Was a TV hero like you don't see anymore.

    I always felt that this should have ended about 5 years before it did too-when Malph and Richie left. Putting the show on in the 80's w/ Chachi as a lead, set in the '60's, Ted McGinley, etc--it was really outta gas and a shadow of its former self. If you ever see the repeats from c. '82 you know what I mean.

    Happy Days was the Malachi Crunch, Fonz jumping things on his bike, swarmed by 'the chicks', Richie learning about adulthood from Fonz, and of course Mr and Mrs C offering their bemused, befuddled support. That was the show. I don't think you could make it again.

    *** outta ****
  • avatar

    Akinohn

    "American Graffiti"-styled television show that ran a decade (1974-1984) and completed a mind-blowing 255 episodes in all. The show followed the Cunningham family (father Tom Bosley, mother Marion Ross, son Ron Howard and daughter Erin Moran) in Milwaukee throughout the 1950s. Howard, his friends (Don Most and Anson Williams) and their misadventures with school and girls dominated the show's story-lines early on. Would-be motorcycle tough guy punk Henry Winkler (aka Fonzie) stole the show from minute one and he was the main reason why the show survived so long. Cast departures (Howard, Most and diner owner Pat Morita) and additions (Ted McGinley, Scott Baio, Al Molinaro and Morita again) did nothing to change ratings as the show consistently stayed high on the Nielsen scale. Also the father of two lesser spin-offs ("Laverne & Shirley" and "Joanie Loves Chachi"), "Happy Days" proved that one amazing character (Fonz) could basically carry a program's list of shortcomings. 4 stars out of 5.
  • avatar

    LivingCross

    I am 14 years old and I love Happy Days- there should be more programs like it now! I am a fan of older TV shows, as well as new ones [I love Starsky and Hutch], but If I ever need cheering up- I always put Happy Days on. I think I watch at least one episode a day and it puts me in a good mood!

    All the characters are fantastic- Richie, Potsie, Ralph, Joanie etc..and who could ever forget The Fonz? What I love about Fonzie is that he is so cool but is also a softie and loves his 'family' The Cunninghams so much.

    Watch Happy Days- you won't regret it!

    To Happy Days!
  • avatar

    roternow

    Yes, those were Happy Days, when I watched this show as a child. For quite a while, this was the best show on tv. It outstayed its welcome, but it shined for a time.

    The success of the show rests heavily on the performances of Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Tom Bosley, and Marion Ross. Henry Winkler had tremendous charisma and handled his role with great subtlety, until the writing got out of hand. Ron Howard was the rare case of a child actor whose talent matured with his body. Tom Bosley and Marion Ross were outstanding character actors who brought life to Howard and Marion Cunningham. The cast was rounded out by fine supporting players and guest stars.

    It was interesting to watch the 50's nostalgia evolve to the point that the time period was no longer mentioned in the show. It seemed that, by the end, it was set in the present. It's interesting to watch the earliest seasons, with episodes revolving around Adlai Stevenson vs. Eisenhower, or Rock 'N' Roll shows; and compare those to shows revolving around Fonzie as a teacher.

    It's a shame that memories of Happy Days are tainted by the later years, and that stupid "jumping the shark" phrase. For a time, this show was unbeatable. It created successful spin-offs, like "Laverne and Shirley" and "Mork and Mindy," as well as less successful ones like "Joannie Loves Chachi." It ruled Tuesday nights and was one of the top ten shows for a long part of its existence.

    The one question that remains from this show is, "What happened to Chuck?" Maybe he died in Vietnam, with the Beaver. Oh, wait, that was an urban legend. Maybe he was recruited into the CIA.
  • avatar

    Xirmiu

    I was in jr high school when this show premiered, and I remember my parents thinking it was too "racy" for a 12 year old (Richie makes out with a babysitter). I managed to convince them otherwise and have always loved this show, at least the early years. After Ron Howard left-the heart and soul of the show, no matter what Henry Winkler might have thought-it never regained form and I stopped watching. Anson Williams can't sing, either, by the way. Great quotables (Sit on it!) and fun storylines, not to mention the birthplace of 2 real TV classics of the 70s-we got our first look at "Laverne & Shirley" and "Mork & Mindy" ("I like that kid, Opie")on HD! I love Happy Days but please catch the pre-Richie departure years to experience it at its' peak.
  • avatar

    Worla

    One of the most popular television series of all time! It had it all; humor, heart and of course, the Fonz, played perfectly during the show's 10 year run by Henry Winkler. The show also featured great writing and directing and was supported by fans all around the world. It's one of those unique television experiences that should be bottled up and stored away for safe keeping, so that new generations of fans can appreciate and enjoy this treat just as we did.
  • avatar

    Jeb

    Growing up in the 1980s where seeing shows in reruns or syndication was the norm, I remember Happy Days as a silly, conventional family comedy with Marion Ross as the mother and Tom Bosley as the father with children, Ron Howard and Erin Moran as Richie and Joanie Cunningham. Who could forget Henry Winkler as the Fonz with his black leather jacket? The show appeared light-hearted and rarely did anything more than entertain audiences and families without being so offensive. There was no bathroom humor and we were introduced to characters such as Laverne and Shirley and Mork played by Robin Williams. Happy Days was the opposite of All in the Family where it was more friendly and kind to it's family. We remember the Cunninghams owned a hardware store and Mama Cunningham stayed home but the characters were more than just one notes. They became full-fledged as time went on and the show lasted 10 years but the memories are still intact.
  • avatar

    Went Tyu

    I guess I'm like most people. The first couple of years of Happy Days were terrific but then things went downhill. The show shouldn't have made Fonzie into such an unbelievable character. In the first couple of seasons he was just kind of a greaseball who was on the outskirts then they made him into some kind of superhuman character who could do no wrong. It took away any semblance of reality. Also whatever happened to Chuck (the older brother). If they wanted to get rid of him they should have come up with some kind of excuse instead of just forgetting about him.
  • avatar

    Delan

    I've always thought Happy Days is one of the best shows ever. It was cool, the Cunninghams were great, as was the Fonz, Potsie and Ralph. In later years the love of Joanie and Chachi made the show worthwhile viewing after Richie and Ralph left.

    The final season's two two-part episodes were great: the one where Richie comes home, then leaves to be a screenwriter in California (the last scene in that episode always makes me tear up) and the final episodes where Fonzie moves out and Joanie and Chachi get married. Also I loved the episode where Joanie had the crush on Potsie after he sings to her.

    The cast and crew truly made Happy Days wonderful. They all had great chemistry, and this show is SO much funnier and better than all the junk shows that are on the air now.

    I loved the joke Jay Leno told in a 1997 monolgue about prospective Presidential canidates Dan Quayle and Al Gore: "It's kind of like a race between Ralph Malph and Potsie on Happy Days, isn't it???"
  • avatar

    Windforge

    I love this show. When this show first came out i wasn't even around yet, ( Early 1970s????? not sure) so i get to see it on nick at nite and i have to say I'm addicted. I love the 50s and I've always liked Fonzie. He was cool in so many different ways. He started out tough, but deep downside he was a still a kid at heart.He really did care about people. He just showed it in his own...cool way.. I'm also dying to know what happened to Chuck. t he "older cunningham" they've shouldve really done something about that. like did he go off to war and never come back? did he go to college? did he get in trouble and get sent away? did he get married and leave? I noticed in the later years Mrs C. only mentioned " we raised 2 good children Howard" 2 children??

    And what happened to Fonzie's girlfriend and her little Girl? i wouldve like to see those two get married, i thought fonzie was so good with that precious little girl. Every show toward the end gets alittle stagnant. After all the writers can only write so much and you have remember that the things that are on t.v. now could never be mentioned then. And as the characters grew with the times...then new characters had to be introduced to keep the show going. i was never a big Joanie fan, but i did cry at her wedding. ( okay i always cry at weddings..even t.v. weddings) Mrs. C was my favorite t.v. mom. especially in the later years, she was so funny and so loving at the same time. i think she was more realistic than Mrs. Beaver ANYDAY. ( okay tell me who actually VACCUMMED THE HOUSE IN THEIR PEARLS? no mother i know ever dressed up to clean house!! )Yes i love old t.v shows.. I'm hooked on Nick at Nite shows....) and don't get me started on the theme songs, i drive my friends crazy lol.
  • avatar

    BroWelm

    If there were a "Sitcom Hall Of Fame",the television series,"Happy Days" would surely have a cherished spot as one of the most wholesome family-situation comedy oriented series of the 1970's. The series ran on ABC-TV from its premiere episode on January 15,1974 to the show's final episode on July 12,1984. The show survived until mid-1984 by the way--with an astonishing ten and a half year run on the air. The show was produced by the team of Garry Marshall(who was the show's creator and executive producer)along with some of the best producer,writers to ever be assembled for a series.

    "Happy Days",was set in the 1950's Milwaukee,Wisconsin,the heart of middle-class America and it basically told the story of the Cunningham family. Mr. Cunningham(Tom Bosley)ran the local hardware store while Mrs. Cunningham(Marion Ross),was a stay-at-home mom who spent time in the kitchen. Their son,Richie(Ron Howard),hung out at Arnold's Drive-In with his pals Ralph Malph(Donny Most),and Potsie Webber(Anson Williams),who try to be as cool as the coolest greaser in town,Arthur Fonzarelli,better known as "The Fonz"(Henry Winkler). Richie's sister,Joanie(Erin Moran),tagged along whenever she wasn't at her friend's house. The Cunninghams also had an older son Chuck,who mysteriously disappeared after the show's first season. When the series started in 1974(the first season),Richie and his pals were struggling to find dates,and clear up acne,and mostly to fit in with the hip crowd. By the time the show ended,their teenage problems had given way to decidedly adult topics like marriage and having children.

    For those who wanted to know that "Happy Days" started out as a pilot in 1971 called "New Family In Town",that was produced by Garry Marshall for ABC. It had the same characters,with the exception of the role of Mr. Cunningham(played in the pilot by Harold Gould). However it was used in a segment episode of the another Garry Marshall produced series,"Love American Style",which was on the same network. By 1973,ABC programmers were looking to cash in on the wave of 1950's nostalgia,which was generated by the hit film "American Graffiti",which was directed by George Lucas and starred Ron Howard. Fortunately,the network executives at ABC did not have to look very far since they remembered Garry Marshall's rejected pilot. ABC called up Marshall and asked him to make some changes to his original concept. He complied,and thus a legend was born when it hit the airwaves in 1974.

    "Happy Days" also brought to life the creation of a classic TV character who would become one of the greatest icons of our time. Within its first season,the show climbed into the top ten of the Nielsens. With the character of Arthur Fonzarelli becoming into view, it was Henry Winkler that made him a television icon not to mention a part of the culture of 1970's shows too. Even the catchphrases that were used became national and from there made their way into the hearts of viewers. The phrases were: "Sit On It!" and "Ayyyi!". It was here that the show "Happy Days" went straight to Number One for the first three seasons(1974-76) that it was on the air,and basically gave the network ABC,a domineering force in the ratings competition.

    After the success of the first season,Marshall was tinkering with the show,and with public response the audience demanded more and from there Marshall answered the call with three "Happy Days" spin off. First,Marshall created "Laverne and Shirley". Fonzie's friends Laverne DeFazio(Penny Marshall)and Shirley Feeney(Cindy Williams)first appeared in a 1975 episode. In 1976,they were given their own show,"Laverne and Shirley",which ran on the network for seven years (1976-1984)and was a ratings winner as well. Then Garry Marshall used "Happy Days" as a launching pad for Robin Williams' space alien character,Mork. In the fall of 1978,Williams was starring in the second spin off,"Mork and Mindy",which ran on the network for four seasons(1978-1981),and also was a launching pad for Pam Dawber as well. After the success of the these shows,ABC also launched the characters of "The Fonz","Laverne and Shirley",and "Mork" into their own Saturday Morning cartoon shows which were very good.

    By the 1980's,the show suffered a decline as well with Ron Howard and Donny Most leaving the show and that would follow with the magic that was once brilliant,but viewers found themselves losing interest with the show and by the last four seasons of the series,it was slipping into a downhill spiral within the ratings and from there Marshall again made several changes. To add new life to the sitcom,the writers added new life to The Cunninghams world as a new rebel move into town,Fonzie's cousin Chachi Arcola(Scott Baio)who had the hots for the Cunninghams daughter Joanie. From there the third and final spin-off of "Happy Days" intitled "Joanie Loves Chachi" was made into a weekly series,which lasted one season. In some of the episodes,most of magic that made this series great was gone by the start of 1983-1984 season. In 1980,the Smithsonian Museum of American History honored the series' role in America's pop-culture history by placing Fonz's leather jacket on display. After an astounding 255 episodes,the final episode of "Happy Days" came on July 12,1984,with the marriage of Joanie and Chachi tying the knot and also in the series final episode was the return of Richie(Ron Howard)and Ralph Malph(Donny Most).
  • avatar

    Narder

    Great family sitcom born of the 70's nostalgia for the fifties, focusing on the Cunningham family of four (or was it five?). The first two to three year's worth of episodes are timeless and as good as it gets in this genre at any time. In retrospect, as Fonzie draws more attention the show becomes less entertaining, until upon Richie's departure the show becomes pointless. Not to take anything away from Fonzie, one in a long line of cool guys from James Dean and Edd Byrnes to Luke Perry and Vin Diesel; but in retrospect he was more effective in smaller doses. Also, as time goes by the ensemble seems to be playing to the audience in broad fashion rather than doing real comedy. Bosley and Ross get my vote for most enjoyable TV parents of all time.
  • avatar

    Diab

    Happy Days was a great show when Ritchie, Potsie, and Ralph were still in high school, but when they moved on to college the show just skyrocketed down hill. The relationship of Chiachi and Joannie turned into boy band type pop with them singing almost half the shows, Jenny Piccolo was useless in the show, and Ted McGinley just has the knack somehow for making every show he's in, to destroy a show. I thought one of the funnier characters in the show was Sheriff Kirk, and Arnold in the earlier shows, but Ashley and LoriBeth were so so. I always thought the Fonz was funnier in his gray jacket days, but when he just had powers beyond belief, it detracted from his character to me.

    All that aside, the 1st few seasons were 1st rate. I always loved the show, but it lasted way to long to continue. There were a few shows after Ritchie and Ralph left, and some of the Leather Tuscadero episodes that were good, but it just didn't have the nostalgia feel that the 1st seasons had.
  • avatar

    Leceri

    "Happy Days" was produced and broadcast from the mid-1970's to the early 1980's and seems to get more ridiculous with age. At the time of its broadcast, most viewers who grew up in the 1950's were in middle age with families, and the scenes at Mel's Diner probably brought an artificial nostalgia to them. The Fonz was of course the coolest of the cool (although the actor Henry Wrinkler to this day has never learned how to ride a motorcycle). Richie Cunningham was the all-American blond-haired kid who would probably be elected student body president. Potsie was Richie's best friend--the star of the show has to have a best friend, I guess. And Ralph Malph was the bumbling sidekick to the Fonz, if not the entire group. I loved it when the Fonz would beat up on poor Ralph Malph. And there was Mel, the middle-aged lug who ran Mel's Diner. And of course who could forget the appearance of Mork? Was this really the 1950's? Ironically, films produced during the 1950's, such as "Rebel Without a Cause" and "The Wild One" have gotten better with age and portray the period more honestly than this show which was produced 20 years after the period it portrays.

    Unfortunately, the TV show "Happy Days" is not in the same league as "Rebel Without a Cause" or "American Graffitti" for that matter. "Happy Days" may have captured some aspects of the 1950's with its burger diner, juke boxes, cool cars, and tacky plaid shirts, but it is more a nostalgic idealism done strictly for laughs rather than an honest portrayal. "American Graffitti" had something to say about young Americans in the 1950's whereas "Happy Days" seemed more about what middle-aged people of the 1970's wished the 1950's had been like. The result was a kind of watered down fabrication that really has nothing to do with the 1950's. "Happy Days" is, at best, a comedy-fantasy with some of the artificial culture of the 1950's as its backdrop. As pointed out by another reviewer, the all-American kid Richie Cunningham would probably have been chastised for befriending the likes of a drop-out like Fonzie. And Mel would probably forbid Fonzie from entering his Diner.

    A quick history: "Happy Days" was originally a pilot called "Love in the Happy Days" that was rejected for broadcast. Comedy pilots that had themes concerning sex and romance that did not make it to pilot airing sometimes appeared on the infrequently broadcast show "Love American Style" which was often aired in place of baseball games that had rained out or other unexpected programming cancellations and/or alterations. In short, "Love American Style" was a throw-away show that contained all these one-episode comedy pilots that never made it to a slotted debut. "Love in the Happy Days" did appear as a "Love American Style" show sometime in the early 1970's, but at the time TV executives could not foresee how a show about 1950's young people would be popular, particularly during the hey-day of comedy shows centering around middle-aged people, such as The "Mary Tyler Moore Show" (and its subsequent spin-offs such "Rhoda"), "The Bob Newhart Show", and "All in the Family". (How things have changed since now most TV sitcoms are about young people and the industry avoids most shows about middle-aged people like the plague!)

    Subsequently, one of the young stars of "Love in the Happy Days", a child actor from "The Andy Griffith Show" named Ron Howard, got the chance to star in a film about young people taking place in 1959 called "American Graffitti" directed by the relatively unknown George Lucas whose previous "THX 1138" had bombed miserably at the box office. Even when it was premiered to movie executives, again the studios could not see how a movie about young people in the 1950's could become popular because it didn't "fit" with what had been popular in the past, although they didn't realize that much of the movie-going audience had been young in the 1950's. As everyone knows, the movie was a huge hit, and studio executives recognized that they had completely misjudged their audience. Somewhere during the theatrical run of "American Graffitti", TV executives realized they had a comedy pilot in their vault that was a lot like "American Graffitti". They brought it back with the original cast, plus Henry Wrinkler as "The Fonz", re-titled it "Happy Days" and the rest is TV history as it became one of the most popular shows of the 1970's.

    "Happy Days" now seems ridiculous. The characters are flat and cardboard, never being more or less than what they superficially are. The issues they deal with are trivial. And their reactions appear mindless and even silly. Nowadays, the character of the Fonz seems to be a caricature of, well, The Fonz. Was the idea to be a kind of parody of Marlon Brando's character in "The Wild One"? Looking on the show with fresh eyes, I feel the producers really missed out on a great opportunity to present the 1950's with depth and realism that still could be fun and entertaining. Instead the producers decided on cheap laughs for quick bucks. This is definitely a show that has not withstood the test of time. "American Graffitti" has many of the outward appearances of "Happy Days" but it had an edge. It had an honesty about the characters and their issues. "Happy Days" took the look of "American Graffitti" but failed to take its heart.
  • avatar

    I love Mercedes

    The enormously iconic television show that entered "The Fonz" (Henry Winkler) into the records of Americana culture. The TV show lasted ten years, from 1974 - 1984, despite its absurdity and silly ideas. (Kids like Fonzie would never have hung out with characters like Richie [Ron Howard], but who cares? It's good fun.)

    This is a fun TV show that I used to watch as a kid on Nick-at-Night. When it's on I still enjoy watching it. Unlike, say, "The Brady Bunch," this show actually gains a great deal of laughter from its corniness--not tired shrugs and grimaces from the viewers.

    5/5 - one of my favorite shows of all time.

    • John Ulmer
  • avatar

    Azago

    "Happy Days" was on the air for a ridiculous 10 years, but the first 2 or 3 years were really good. The series was a 50s nostalgia show made in the 1970s. It was about a geeky, apple pie (but tall and atheletic in that good white bred way) high school kid named Richie Cunningham, his best friend Potsie Webber, and their other friend Ralph Malph who always cracked stupid jokes. Then there was the greaser Fonzie who rode around on a bike. The first couple of years took great pains to show the 1950s accurately, with the actors dressing and looking the part. Fonzie was just an ordinary greaser. The show was so good in those first couple of years, that you never questioned why Fonzie who looked about 22, was being a loser and hanging around a bunch of high school kids and hitting on under age high school girls.

    But then the last 7 or 8 years of Happy Days became just utter camp. Potsie went from a normal guy to a total idiot, and somehow Fonzie got superpowers where the mere snap of his fingers would cause all sorts of magical things to happen, including women/high school girls flocking towards him like lemmings. The 5'6 Fonzie also could suddenly beat anyone up and not break a sweat. I also hated how the studio audience would cheer for 3 or 4 minutes when an actor would walk on the set. The actors would even have to pause and let the audience cheers and applause die down, "Hey Mr. C, [audience erupts in applause, cheers, and screams].....I just came down to tell you". It was just stupid. This is an overrated TV series, "Three's Company" was the far better 70s show that still holds up today, at least that show never betrayed it's original premise.
  • avatar

    Yellow Judge

    Well, the first 2 season were OK. The Fonz was not this super guy, but had street smarts. Pots wasn't that dumb, and was Richie's best friend, while the mouth was the third wheel. As time marched on the Fonz became like 80, and the act became old. Richie's left, before the same happen too him, while Ralph saw the end early too. Pots just got dumber as the show progressed. The story line starts to die out, and become like That 70's show. I believe it hit bottom with the Mork show. As, I became man form a boy, I wonder how I could watch some of the crap this show severed, but I guessed Happy Days was a bit of a kids show, except for the first 2 seasons.

    Then as I got older I started to watch Monday Night Football. Stay away from the later re runs.
  • avatar

    Faehn

    I was in high school when this series started -- I vividly recall the "Love, American Style" episode that began it, and also remember seeing "American Graffiti" in the movies around that time. So even though it took place in the 1950s, it hit home for me and a lot of teenagers. Like many people, I think the early years were excellent, and then things went down the dumper to the point where the final years were nothing but a self-parody. Everybody who was alive at the time has thoughts about the series, but here are some of mine:

    1) Didn't they realize how stupid some of the characters looked from about 1976 on, walking around with blow-dried 70s hairstyles when it was supposed to be, at the latest, the 1960s?

    2) Who ever, ever, ever came to the conclusion that Anson Williams could sing? He may have been the WORST vocalist ever to attempt a tune on television. He makes you long for one of Bill Shatner's albums.

    3) The first Chuck was my preference over the second one. Alas, the true story of Chuck's demise will probably never be known. Somebody ought to make a movie about what happened to Chuck (and send me some royalties if you do).
  • avatar

    Xtreem

    This started out as a series about a group of kids in the late 1950's. But when they made the Fonz a larger than life icon, this series took a dive in quality. This was Richie's series, and when he left, the show should have went the way of Chuck. Any episode where Mr. C and Fonzie are buddy buddy is enough to make most viewers ill.
  • avatar

    Ionzar

    One of the previous reviewers on this page put it best: "Happy Days" started out as a pretty good show, then fell flat on its face once Fonzie became the primary focus. During its first two years, "Happy Days" played as a lighter version of "The Wonder Years" or, more appropriately", TV's own "American Graffiti". A nice bunch of teens hangin' out and cruisin' for chicks in a romanticized 1950s Milwaukee made for a solid half-hour of television. Richie Cunningham was TV's everykid, and his relationship with genial father Howard provided the backbone for most of the show's best episodes.

    Then came the Fonz. At first, Fonzie was an intriguing character. While he was a slightly older kid with a greaser attitude, he possessed a depth that made him a good counterpoint to Richie's clean-cut image. But after Fonzie obtained a great deal of popularily, the show's focus shifted his way and became unbelieveably moronic. A typical episode: some one-dimensional "jerk" either bullies Richie's gang or steals the Fonz's girl, prompting the Fonz to shout "Ayyyyyyyyeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!" and snap his fingers. This caused the "jerk" to run away, and the gang celebrates in sheer idolatry for the Fonz at "Arnold's". In between, there are loads of horrible puns and catchphrases. Not surprisingly, the show's ratings went up after the sharp decline in quality (Remember, "Three's Company" was the top ratings-getter at the time). Such is life.