Love, American Style: Love and the Happy Days/Love and the Newscasters (1972) was the inspiration for the hit show Happy Days (1974) and featured eventual cast members Ron Howard, Anson Williams, and Marion Ross.
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For the show's first season, the theme song was performed by the popular family group The Cowsills. For the rest of the show's run, it was performed by The Charles Fox Singers, who were a group of Los Angeles studio musicians that did numerous radio and television commercials.
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Phyllis Davis, who did several low budget exploitation movies and co-starred in the television series Vega$ (1978), said she was cast as a repertory player on this show by accident. "I walked into Paramount to have lunch with somebody", recounts Davis. "They had already looked at two hundred girls, and I didn't even have an interview. I walked in, and somebody saw me and said, 'Do you have a bikini? Can you do lines?' They gave me a few lines to do in front of the network people and the producers, and I got it that day. It was a fluke and it lasted for years."
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Happy Days (1974) was not a direct spin-off of this show, but an indirect one. Garry Marshall pitched a show to ABC called "New Family in Town". The network turned it down. So Marshall did a vignette on an episode of this show with the three characters. Two years later, American Graffiti (1973) became an unexpected success. The network remembered Marshall's show. It asked him to shoot a pilot with some changes. It wanted a gangster-type character to intimidate Cunningham. Thus, the birth of Fonzie.
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As of 2020, one of only four television shows that was an hour long and had a laugh track.
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This series had more direct and indirect spin-offs than any other American television series. The following series can trace their roots back to this show (most via the episode "Love and Happy Days"): Barefoot in the Park (1970), Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (1972), Happy Days (1974), Laverne & Shirley (1976), Laverne & Shirley with Special Guest Star the Fonz (1982), Blansky's Beauties (1977), Mork & Mindy (1978), Out of the Blue (1979), The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (1980), Laverne & Shirley in the Army (1981), Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour (1982), Joanie Loves Chachi (1982), New Love, American Style (1985), and possibly others.
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Many of the blackouts were credited to Samuro Mitsubi and Tawisaki Kwi. According to the book "My Happy Days in Hollywood" (2012), the names were pseudonyms for memoir author Garry Marshall and his long-time writing collaborator Jerry Belson.
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The major sponsor was Oscar Mayer.
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Every story in the series, and many of the "blackout" vignettes in-between, featured a large, brass bed. This is probably an homage to The Bed (1968) by James Broughton, an experimental poet and filmmaker whose works were an influence on the Beat poets of the 1950s. "The Bed" is an award-winning twenty-minute short that was filmed during the 1967 "Summer of Love" in San Francisco, California. It featured several nude men and women cavorting on a large, brass bed in a garden.
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The show's television singers also sang the theme song for "That Girl".
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Phylis Davis said making the movie Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) was such a horrible experience and that she came off looking so bad that she wanted to quit acting. The producers of Love, American Style took her to dinner and talked her out of quitting. They told her her acting was bad in that film, but so was everyone else's. It wasn't her fault.
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