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Happy Days (TV Series 1974–1984) Poster

(1974–1984)

Trivia

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.
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By the time of "Happy Days" it had become a cliche for greasers, hoodlums, etc to always be combing their hair. 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." They repeated the Fonzie doesn't comb his hair gag in another clip which was shown in the montage for the opening of the show.
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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.
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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.
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In one episode the Cunninghams are coming out of a theater playing "The 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.
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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.
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Garry 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.
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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".
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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".
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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.
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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."
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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.) Ironically, while Dolenz was exactly 3 inches taller than the 5'9" Ron Howard, Winkler was 5'6", exactly 3 inches shorter.
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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.
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Originated as a segment on "Love, American Style (1969)."
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"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.
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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.
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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 "The Lords of Flatbush (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.
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In the first season, The Fonz wore a blue windbreaker. Starting in season two, he wore his trademark brown leather jacket, one of which now hangs in the Smithsonian. According to an interview of Henry Winkler by Jimmy Fallon, there were 5 jackets made. Henry has one in his possession.
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The only people Fonzie allowed to call him by his proper name (Arthur) were Mrs. Cunningham and his girlfriend Ashley. Although when Ralph Malph is hynotized into being courageous in the Fearless Malph episode he calls him Artie.
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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.
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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.
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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. (Howard said he was not comfortable starring in a show called "Fonzie's Happy Days"; and Garry Marshall backed him up on this. Although ironically, Howard did agree to co-star on a cartoon spinoff of Happy Days called "Fonz and the Happy Days Gang".)
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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.
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Anson Williams' voice was the one heard when songs like "Hound Dog" were playing on the juke box.
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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 season's opening episode the original 1955 recording was used, but the band recorded a special version of their most popular song for the remainder of season one and the following season.
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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.
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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.
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It's a common misconception that George Lucas' "American Graffiti (1973)" was the inspiration for this series. In actuality, the pilot for the series (seen on "Love, American Style (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.
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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.
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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).
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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. Ron Howard would direct Hanks in Angels and Demons; later in their careers.
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Marion was an archaeology major in college.
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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).
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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.
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In the 1970s Penny Marshall appeared concurrently on 5 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 "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." She played recurring characters on all 5 of these shows, something which has never been done before or since.
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The motorcycle Fonzie (Henry Winkler) rode in the series was the same model that Steve McQueen rode in the famous motorcycle sequences in The Great Escape (1963).
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Ron Howard admitted that the reason he left the USC Film School before graduating is because he was cast in this series.
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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.
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Ralph's parents were named Mickey and Minnie Malph. His father was an optometrist, played by Jack Dodson.
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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."
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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.
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Howard Cunningham drove a De Soto for most of the series. He finally traded it for a red 1962 Studebaker Lark.
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In her interview with Howard Stern, Erin Moran said Henry Winkler would kiss her and Marion Ross frequently off camera.
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Fonzie's full name is Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli.
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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.
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Fonzie's hero was the Lone Ranger, whose picture he carried in his wallet.
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Garry 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 .)
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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".
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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.
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Richie Cunningham's favorite song is "Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino.
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Robin Williams's two monologues spoken to Orkan; where he essentially gives a narrative introducing the plot of the episodes; in Happy Days: My Favorite Orkan (1978) & Happy Days: Mork Returns (1979) were improvised. As a matter of fact; much of Williams's dialogue throughout the series Mork and Mindy was improvised. Gary Marshall knew he had the world's greatest comedic improviser on his hands; and he used that to his advantage.
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With the death of Al Molinaro in 2015, Marion Ross is now the oldest living cast member.
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Comedian Phil Silvers did a cameo in the episode Happy Days: Just a Piccalo (1981) as Jenny Piccalo's father. (Jenny Piccolo was played by his real-life daughter, Cathy Silvers.) It was one of his last television appearances.
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Pinky and her TV cousin 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.
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While there briefly was only one Chuck Cunningham there were three different actors who played the character: Gavan O'Herlihy and Randolph Roberts. An actor named Ric Carrott played him in the pilot. He and almost everybody else the pilot was recast; so he lost his job at that point. The second actor to play him was Gavan O'Herlihy. He wound up quitting, he said he did not enjoy working on the show. Ironically they recast the character, with another actor named Randolph Roberts; who was only on the show very briefly; and then shortly thereafter, at the end of the second season when they were retooling the series; Garry Marshall retconned him off the program. This was because at the time Fonzie's popularity with audiences had grown; while Chuck failed to click with audiences; so Fonzie's role got larger and larger while Chuck's got smaller and smaller. This is because Fonzie had pretty much usurped Chuck's role as the big brother figure to Richie on the show by the time the 1975 season rolled around during all this, so the second Chuck actor was consequently fired. Ironically; when they did a 30th anniversary special of the show for ABC, both Gavan O'Herlihy and Randolph Roberts were invited back to the celebration; and hugged the entire cast. At that point Randolph Roberts said, "This feels like I'm finally coming home".
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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.
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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.
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When Ron Howard and Don Most left the show, their absences were explained by having Richie and Ralph join the army (the same scenario that was used when Topher Grace left That '70s Show (1998)).
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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).
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Linda Purl originally played the recurring role of Richie's girlfriend Gloria in the second season before she took the later role of Fonzie's girlfriend Ashley.
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In the episode Happy Days: Richie Fights Back (1975), Arnold's chef and owner Pat Morita teaches Richie martial arts. Morita would later become even more famous for playing Miyagi, the wise martial arts master in The Karate Kid (1984) and its sequels.
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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 (as well as the front door switching walls to the same one the kitchen is off of) made its debut at the beginning of the 1975-1976 season.
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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. There's another one where Al might be cursed by a gypsy; and yet another has Fonzie meeting a woman who turns out to be a ghost.
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When the show first started it centered primarily on Richie and Potsie (as did the "Love American Style" episode of which "Happy Days" was 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.
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Potsie's father, who was often talked about but never seen, owned a gas station.
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In summer of 1976, "Theme From Happy Days" was a hit single, peaking at #5 on the national charts.
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"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.
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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.
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Anson Williams and Scott Baio both received record deals based on their musical work for the series.
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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.
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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". Winkler made the right call. It's well known that while Travolta was a competent singer; Winkler's singing abilities were sub-par. This is even showcased in the Fonzie "The Superstar" episode.
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Henry Winkler plays the high school principal in Scream (1996). In an obvious reference to Happy Days he stops and does a Fonzie double take in the mirror, checking his hair.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Fonzie character rose in prominence as the series progressed, eventually outshining even star Ron Howard. After Ron Howard left the show, the 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." It seems Fonzie's character really only worked as a foil to Richie, and once Richie left as Fonzie's pivot point, the Fonzie character no longer worked either.
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Eddie Mekka plays Carmine Ragusa, boyfriend to Shirley Feeney and friend to Laverne Defazio and the Fonz, on 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 Vegas in the 1970s (then present day), and these and other characters on the two shows cross over through this time warp without any mention of any of this.
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Ron Howard filmed the pilot to "Happy Days" before appearing in "American Graffiti" (1973). ABC rejected the pilot, saying it was boring and passé and nobody wanted to watch a show about the 50s. It aired as an episode of "Love American Style" (1969). Then "American Graffiti" was a huge hit, nostalgia for the 50s and 60s suddenly became very popular, and ABC changed its mind about "Happy Days," opting to buy a new souped-up version of the show.
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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. She suggested that parents should not let their kids get involved in 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."
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John Byner was orginally cast as Mork, but quit right before taping day. Garry 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's agent, and the rest is history. In an Emmy TV LEGENDS interview segment Ron Howard said the episode "My Favorite Orkan", which had such a horrible script that ABC questioned Gary Marshall if he really wanted to film such a silly story, 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 and A-List stardom soon followed.
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Fonzie's nickname for Joanie Cunningham was "Shortcake".
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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. Also, the set had the kitchen close to the front door, which physically makes no sense according to the exterior shots.
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Chachi's trademark phrase, "Wa Wa Wa", came from Scott Baio always saying or asking "What, What, What?".
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Whenever Fonzie was attempting to elicit an answer out ouf someone, and they were right, his response was always "correctamundo" (or sometimes "exactamundo").
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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.
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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."
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John Byner was originally signed to play Mork.
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Marion Cunningham's maiden name was Kelp.
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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.
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During the character's short run on the series, older brother Chuck Cunningham would usually be holding a basketball.
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"The Odd Couple" was on during the 1974 and 1975, as was "Happy Days," both Garry Marshall sitcoms. Both Al Molinaro and Penny Marshall were recurring characters on both these programs. Ironically Tony Randall who starred on "Odd Couple" also made a guest appearance on "Happy Days." And of course once "Odd Couple" wrapped in 1975, the set depicting Oscar's apartment was quickly converted into Laverne and Shirley's apartment.
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In an "Emmy TV Legends" interview Henry Winkler said "I would like to have an Emmy. It's not enough just to be nominated.". Later in his career Winkler would get his wish; for his work on Arrested Development.
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In his recent autobiography "Singing to a Bulldog" Anson Williams discloses that Garry 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."
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Many years later, Garry Marshall's grown children told him they were allowed to visit the "Happy Days" set but never the "Laverne & Shirley" set. They soon realized that this was because while the cast of "Happy Days" got along well, the "Laverne & Shirley" cast was continually fighting and shouting profanities at each other.
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This show isn't actually nostalgia. It's Anemoia. Anemoia is nostalgia for a time you've never known; nostalgia for a time before you were born. Most of the Happy Days viewers were not actually the Pre-Baby Boomer Eisenhower-era adults who lived through that era. It was their CHILDREN. It was GENERATION X kids; who loved to imagine what it was like being in the cool, otherworldly, fifties, even though they were too young to experience it first hand. The Waltons was also anemoia, so was Little House on the Prairie; so was Bonanza and most of the westerns that aired in the 50s; which took place in the 1800s.
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Among the differences between the show's beginnings as the "Love and the Happy Day" episode on "Love, American Style (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.
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Chachi's real name was Charles. Chuck's real name was Charles also. Luckily the characters never overlapped: Chuck was written off the show right about the time Chachi was brought in as Fonzie's mini-me sidekick.
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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!")
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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.
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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.
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Joanie Cunningham's middle name was Louise.
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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.
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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. On The Odd Couple, Felix and Oscar were always teasing Murray about his nose; on Happy Days they never did that, perhaps because Big Al was much older than Fonz and the gang at Arnold's.
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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.
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For the first couple of seasons Good Times and Happy Days were scheduled on Tuesday nights at 8pm ET, in direct competition. 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, particularly a flamboyant teen idol character who used lot of catch phrases. Happy Days pushed Fonzie into the center of the show, giving him lots of catch phrases to compete with "Dynomite", like "Ayyyy!" and "coolimundo!", and permanently had the show filmed in front of a live audience. The changes worked: Happy Days jumped to number 1 in the ratings, crushing Good Times. (Around the same time, series star John Amos left "Good Times", citing many of the same factors as spoiling the intentions he and Esther Rolle had for their show.)
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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.
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Potsie's real first name was Warren.
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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.
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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).
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Throughout the run, nine celebrities appeared as themselves, even though they had aged a bit since the '50s/'60s era (a similar scenario occurred with celebrities on "That 70s Show" (1998)).
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The series has two different episodes with the same exact title: Season 1's Happy Days: Great Expectations (1974) and Season 9's Happy Days: Great Expectations (1982).
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Ron Howard initially told Garry Marshall he didn't want to do a series about a teenager because he did not want to be typecast as a kid forever in everybody's eyes. Marshall assured him the characters would be allowed to grow up, graduate, go to college, and start their adult lives. (This wasn't really the plan originally but it became the plan after Howard forced the issue). This is why we see the boys graduate, go to college, and get married.
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Ron Howard and Henry Winkler would co-star on another hit show years later; "Arrested Development."
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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.
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Henry Winkler and Tom Bosley are the only cast members who appear in all two hundred fifty-five episodes of the series. Marion Ross had appeared in almost every episode of the series, with the exception of two.
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Fonzie's family nickname was "Skippy", given to him by his grandmother.
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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 (as well as the similarly-renamed "Laverne and Shirley & Company").
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Ralph Malph's trademark line was (after telling a joke): "I still got it!"
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Pat Morita played recurring characters in four concurrent series in the seventies: Happy Days, MASH, Mr. T and Tina, and Sanford and Son.
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Joanie called Fonzie a "hood" during the first season, and didn't seem to like him.
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Garry 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.
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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.
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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.
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Whenever someone knocked at Fonzie's door, his reply was "Fonzie's free".
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There is a gang called the Red Devils and a gang called the She-Devils 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.
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After abruptly quitting the "Happy Days" episode he was originally supposed to film as the original Mork, John Byner started his own hit series, "Bizarre," which ran for several years on "Showtime."
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Henry Winkler (Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli) & Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham) also starred together on Arrested Development (2003) as Barry Zuckerkorn & the Narrator respectively.
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The Fonzie character was added to Happy Days because Paul Le Mat's John Milner Greaser character was such a hit in American Graffiti. 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.
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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; the only exception was "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman"). The version that ties everything up in one episode was show for syndication, while the cliffhanger episode version was shown back to back with the Laverne and Shirley conclusion right after for the original broadcast.
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John Bailey played Sticks on two different episodes of Happy Days. He was the first recurring African American character on the series, but not the only one. In the final four seasons, Kevin Rodney Sullivan (who, like Ron Howard, later went on to become a feature film director) played Tommy, a Jefferson High student who makes friends with Joanie and Chachi.
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Marion Fairy Godmother was the only Happy Days episode that Leather Tuscadero appears in where she doesn't sing.
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Marion Ross and Tom Bosley both served as mentors to the cast in different ways. Ross was the cast member who made sure everyone got along and kept things light, while Bosley was a master at figuring out comedic timing and selling a joke perfectly.
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Pat Morita (who was born and raised in California) had not planned to use an accent for Arnold. Shortly before filming, director Jerry Paris took him aside and told him the producers wanted the character to speak with an Asian accent. Morita based Arnold's speech patterns on a Chinese cook he knew. When the character was later given a Japanese surname, Morita suggested explaining it by saying that Arnold was the son of a Japanese father and Chinese mother born during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria.
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Candy Clark, Ron Howard and Cindy Williams were all in Happy Days and American Grafitti. Howard and Williams played boyfriend/girlfriend in both. Celebrity DJ Wolfman Jack also narrated the opening to the cartoon spinoff of Happy Days, "Fonze and the Happy Days Gang"; and Wolfman Jack also co-starred in American Grafitti.
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Pinky Tuscadero's real name was Carol, Pinky was a nickname.
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The theme song was performed by Ron Hinklin and the Ron Hinklin Singers, the same singers who performed tvs Batman and Wonder Woman theme songs. Both the Happy Days theme song, and Rock Around the Clock were released as singles and became Billboard top 100 hits while the show was on the air.
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The boys, Richie, Potsie, Ralph and Chachi, play in a band for several years without any name. Leather even balls them out in the Rules to Live By episode; she tells them, "guys, you really need a name." They never do get one though. The next year, in the 1980 season, Ralph and Richie move out of Milwaukee and join the army; and the band never plays again. Leather doesn't even come back at that point. (Although Chachi and Joanie move to Chicago and start their own band in the Joanie Loves Chachi series during the 1982-1983 tv season).
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The first two seasons featured a re-recording of Bill Hailey and The Comets' "Rock Around the Clock" for the opening theme; and the rock group Pratt & McClain sang the Happy Days theme song for the closing. Pratt & McClain then sang the Happy Days theme song, both the opening and the closing, from the end of season 2 until season 10. In 1983 Bobby Avron took over and did the last two seasons. Pratt & McClain and their studio singers sang all the bumper "in between scenes" music throughout the run of the show.
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Originally the network was pushing for a show set in the 20s. In 1972 when they began to develop the show 20s nostalgia was hotter than 50s nostalgia. Gary Marshall convinced ABC to let them try the 50s, since he and the staff writers grew up during that period and were better equipped to write stories set in that era; and at that point there had not been alot of shows about the 50s so it was unmined territory. Eventually, Marshall and company eventually did a flashback/fantasy episode set in the 20s; although not til season 7 episode 24 , called "The Roaring Twenties."
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Ron Howard has admitted in interviews that after the catch phrases starting taking off on the show, (Ayyyyy!, Sit on it!, I still got it!, Etc), actors started making them up themselves. An example would be Richie saying "He-Looo!" Which he did twice on King Richards Big Day. Unfortunately this catch phrase did not take off.
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Bruce Weitz and Betty Thomas both made appearances on Happy Days and Hill Street Blues. Ed Marinaro also starred on Hill Street Blues and had a recurring role on Happy Days spinoff Laverne and Shirley.
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Two of the cast members played a child of an Andy Griffith character on two different hit TV shows. Ron Howard (Ritchie Cunningham), of course, was Sheriff Andy Taylor's son, Opie Taylor, on The Andy Griffith Show (1960). Linda Purl (Ritchie's girlfriend Gloria in a Season 2 episode, and Fonzie's girlfriend Ashley Pfister throughout Season 10) was attorney Ben Matlock's daughter, Charlene Matlock during Season 1 of Matlock (1986).
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It's well known by now that Micky Dolenz auditioned for and almost got the part of Fonzie. It's not known why Dolenz would accept such a minor role though. The Monkees were rivals to the Beatles in terms of popularity, he was a major star at this point. And people forget that Fonzie started out as a supporting character when the show started and often didn't have any lines in the first few episodes, and would just give his "thumbs up" and say nothing else. But perhaps Gary Marshall and company would have expanded the role if Dolenz had gotten the part. Ironically the other big competitor with Henry Winkler for this role was his Lords Of Flatbush co-star, Perry King. Marshall even said in interviews that they originally wanted someone "cut like Perry King". But Marshall said even though Winkler "didn't have the look" of Fonzie, "he had the spirit."
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In addition to the Falcons,Fonzie was also a member of a gang called the Demons.However since Richie stated that he first met Fonzie while Fonzie was a member of the Falcons,it is most likely that Fonzie was in the Demons before quitting and joining the Falcons.
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The name of Leather's backing group was the Suedes.
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The restrooms at Arnold's were marked as Guys and Dolls.
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Phil Silvers appearance on the Happy Days episode "Just a Piccolo" playing the father to daughter Kathy Silvers' Jenny Piccolo character. It was one of his last TV appearances and he died in 1985, shortly after Happy Days wrapped. "Just a Piccolo" is ofcourse a pun on the old Caesar/Brammer/Casucci vaudeville standard "Just a Gigolo"; first made famous by Bing Crosby in 1931, later by David Lee Roth in 1985.
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Throughout the series, Hollywood film stars Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable and Cary Grant are mentioned. Marion Ross had bit roles in some of these actors' films.
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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.)
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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! Cool! Uncool! 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.
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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.
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There have been plans of a reboot, and setting it in the 90s or the naughties.
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The show was satirized in Mad Magazine as "Crappy Days".
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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.)
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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. Heather O'Roarke, Tammy O'Roarke, Fred Fox, Andrew Paris, Joyce Brothers and Lorne Greene all played characters named after themselves as well.
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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.
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According to Anson Williams, John Travolta auditioned for Potsie.
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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.
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Ron Howard and Erin Moran both made guest appearances on "The Waltons (1972);" a dramatic series. Howard played Seth Turner, a teenage musician friend of Jason's who learns he is dying, in "The Gift", while Moran later played Sally Ann Harper, Ben's newest crush, who performs a duet with Jason on the radio in "The Song".
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Ironically, Scott Baio's name on this and his other big hit from the 1980s, Charles in Charge, was in both cases Charles. Charles was Chachi's real name; Chachi was the nickname.
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Al Molinaro is the only regular cast member who was born in Wisconsin, in Kenosha, 40 miles from Milwaukee.
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When the show went to a three camera studio audience format in season three, the show began to become much more popular. Marion Ross has noted that much of the cast (with notable exceptions Ron Howard and Erin Moran) had backgrounds in acting for the stage, so the transition made them very comfortable.
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Marion Ross, Tom Bosely and Ron Howard would all make appearances on the religious anthology series Insight; Dick Van Patten; who also made a Happy Days appearance; also appeared on Insight.
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Three's Company star Joyce DeWitt was almost cast as Pinky Tuscadero.
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Of her inability to get along with the rest of the cast, Roz Kelley said the following: "I was a welfare kid. I don't like rich kids." The producers transitioned the Pinky character to one of Happy Days' spinoffs, Blansky's Beauties; hoping to retain her since she was so popular with viewers. But very soon after she started on the new show she got fired again; again due to an inability to get along with the cast. This time show star Nancy Walker insisted she be terminated. Ironically, right at the same time she was transitioned to Blankys Beauties, Scott Baio was transitioned from Blanky's Beauties to Happy Days, making him the newest star on the program.
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The outside and interior scenes of the Cunningham house don't match. There are a pair of windows on each side of the front door, but on the inside, there's no windows on the right side of the door (just a corner) and the kitchen is on the left side. The kitchen extends out beyond the door which means there should've been an "L" shape involved to the structure instead of a totally square house. It also seems like the wall for the living room and dining room extends only as far as the edge of the kitchen counter, signifying that the inside is a lot smaller than the huge house depicted on the outside.
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The "Guys" washroom door at Arnold's is right next to the women's washroom door on the right, but on the inside of the Guy's washroom, the sink and mirror are on the right side of the door. That would mean the Guys washroom extends into the women's washroom as well.
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Whenever he didn't like someone, Richie called them "Bucko".
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Producer Garry Marshall liked names that ended in an "ee" sound, as he thought they were naturally funnier. Thus, most of the main characters had such names: Richie, Fonzie, Potsie, Joanie, Chachi, Pinky. And on spin-off series "Laverne and Shirley," Lenny and Squiggy.
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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 in 1984, everyone was dressing contemporarily and there was no attempt at period piece authenticity.
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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.
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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.
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The show was mentioned in Jackson Browne's "Lawyers In Love". It's also parodied in the video for the Weezer song "Buddy Holly".
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Pat Morita plays a character who trains the hero to fight against bullies, using Karate on both "Happy Days" and "The Karate Kid." One of the bullies was played by Jeff Conaway, from "Grease" and "Taxi."
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There were two main characters named Charles on this show: Charles 'Chuck' Cunningham, Richie's older brother, and Fonzie's cousin Charles 'Chachi' Arcola. There were also two Anthony's. Anthony Sguigmonn; Aka "Squiggy"; Laverne and Shirley's friend; and Anthony Delveccio; Al's twin brother.
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Perhaps because his father Rance Howard was a well-known western actor, and because he was known for innocent Americana with a nostalgic or country western bent; starring in either nostalgia shows like Happy Days or country-western type shows like Andy Griffith show; Ron Howard starred in many country and western themed movies during this period; like The Shootist, Spike's Gang, The Wild Country and Huckleberry Finn; among other projects. Once he became a director he mostly abandoned this genre; with Far and Away being his only western opus to date.
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Al Delvecchio looks to have been running the whole drive-in by himself when he's shown acting as both cook and server to the customers.
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When Ron Howard left the sitcom, Fonzie became the main character.
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Anson Williams, Cindy Williams and Robin Williams co-starred on this show. There's no relation.
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On one of the episodes early on in the run of the show, Howard tries to goad Richie into doing him a favor. After Richie continues to resist Howard's guiltmongering, Howard finally lays the following speech on Richie:" Ok Richie. I didn't want to bring this up, but do you remember that one time when I walked in on you in your room, and you were all by yourself. And you were....". "Ok Ok Ok Dad! I'll do it", Richie responds. This is a masterbation joke. So subtle that Gary Marshall was able to sneak it by the censors in 1977!
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