Lowell Ganz

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly four-hour Archive interview, Lowell Ganz recalls how The Dick Van Dyke Show impacted his desire to become a writer and work in television. He talks about his early writing partnership with Mark Roth and how they got on the writing staff at The Odd Couple. He details writing under the tutelage of Garry Marshall for the demanding Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, and recounts what he learned in The Odd Couple writer's room. He chronicles his work on Happy Days, helping the show transition from a one-camera to three-camera show in front of a live audience, and describes the great success that came along with that change. He outlines being tapped by Garry Marshall to write and produce the Happy Days spin-off Laverne & Shirley and talks of the difficulty he experienced with the various personalities involved with the program. Ganz discusses being fired from Laverne & Shirley, creating his favorite show Busting Loose, and explains his eventual split from partner Mark Rothman. He also touches on his success in feature films with partner Babaloo Mandel, shares his feelings on how the industry has changed, and offers advice to aspiring writers. Lee Goldberg conducted the interview on May 6, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.

"One of the great entertainment inventions of all time is the sitcom."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Lowell Ganz on working with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on Happy Days  "Jumping the Shark" and Ron Howard leaving the show
Lowell Ganz on the evolution of Laverne & Shirley's characters and the introduction of "Lenny" and "Squiggy"
Lowell Ganz on writing feature films for Ron Howard
Lowell Ganz on his advice to young writers
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early interest in The Dick Van Dyke Show; on his early writing partnership with Mark Rothman
On how he came to write for The Odd Couple; on The Odd Couple writer's room and set; on being fired from the show
On being rehired as a writer on The Odd Couple; on working with Tony Randall, Jack Klugman and Garry Marshall
On the writing process for The Odd Couple; on Jack Klugman and Tony Randall altering his scripts; on his favorite episodes of the show and keeping it fresh

Chapter 2

On coming up with story ideas for The Odd Couple; on the ratings of The Odd Couple; on the show's cancellation, final episode, and revivals
On how he came to write for Happy Days; on making Happy Days a three-camera show; on the popularity of the "Fonzie" character, and becoming a producer on the show
On the relationship between "Richie" and "Fonzie" on Happy Days; on the cast of Happy Days
On spinning off Laverne & Shirley from Happy Days; on the phrase "Jumping the Shark"; on Happy Days' place in television history and his career

Chapter 3

On the legacy of Happy Days; on the characters of Laverne & Shirley; on the evolution of Laverne & Shirley
On the atmosphere on the set of Laverne & Shirley; on difficulties with the cast of Laverne & Shirley; on guest-stars and co-stars on the show
On being fired from Laverne & Shirley; on the reputation of Laverne & Shirley and his feelings about the show after he left
On producing The Ted Knight Show and various other short-lived series; on returning to Happy Days; on partnering with Babaloo Mandel

Chapter 4

On writing feature films with writing partner Babaloo Mandel; on working with Ron Howard as director and learning to write features; on his writing partner Babaloo Mandel
On his great success in feature films and the types of movies he writes; on being nominated for an Oscar; on the television versions of his feature films
On his approach to writing television pilots; on the then-current state of the situation comedy
On what made him a successful writer; on then-current projects; on advice to aspiring writers
Shows

Dick Van Dyke Show, The

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Lowell Ganz on his early interest in television and the influence of The Dick Van Dyke Show

Gung Ho

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Lowell Ganz on doing television versions of his feature films

Happy Days

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Lowell Ganz on starting to write for Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on Happy Days going from a one-camera show to a three-camera show
Lowell Ganz on the popularity of the "Fonzie" character on Happy Days and working with Ron Howard
Lowell Ganz on the rise of the ratings of Happy Days and becoming a producer on the show
Lowell Ganz on the challenges of producing Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on Happy Days' "Richie/Fonzie romance"
Lowell Ganz on moving "Fonzie" into the Cunningham household on Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on Marion Ross as "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on Anson Williams as "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on the difficulty of serving a large cast as producer of Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on Pat Morita as "Arnold" and Al Molinaro as "Al Delvechio" on Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on the writers coming up with stories for Happy Days while he was a producer
Lowell Ganz on spinning off Laverne & Shirley from Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on working with director Jerry Paris while producing Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on Happy Days "Jumping the Shark" and Ron Howard leaving the show
Lowell Ganz on Happy Days' place in television history and his career
Lowell Ganz on the legacy of Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on returning to Happy Days later in its run

Laverne & Shirley

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Lowell Ganz on spinning off Laverne & Shirley from Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on the first couple of episodes of Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on the evolution of Laverne & Shirley's characters and the introduction of "Lenny" and "Squiggy"
Lowell Ganz on making "Lenny" and "Squiggy" the "breakout" characters of Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on the evolution of Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on the female writing staff of Laverne & Shirley and the expectations of the network
Lowell Ganz on the working atmosphere on the set of Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on dealing with an unhappy cast on Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on how the writers dealt with a difficult cast on Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on the difficulty with the cast on Laverne & Shirley 
Lowell Ganz on working with the various guest-stars, co-stars, and producers on Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on the possibility of a "Lenny" and "Squiggy" spin-off from Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on leaving Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on the reputation of Laverne & Shirley and his feelings on it after he left
Lowell Ganz on his partnership with Mark Roth during Laverne & Shirley

New Odd Couple, The

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Lowell Ganz on The New Odd Couple and later Odd Couple reunions

Odd Couple, The (1970-75)

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Lowell Ganz on how he came to write for The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on being on the writing staff for The Odd Couple and the atmosphere on the set
Lowell Ganz on being fired from the writing staff of The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on what he did post-The Odd Couple firing
Lowell Ganz on returning to The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on his first Odd Couple script
Lowell Ganz on working with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on working with Garry Marshall on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on his early writing partner Mark Rothman and their writing process on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on Jack Klugman and Tony Randall rewriting or changing scripts on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on the evolution of his partnership with Mark Rothman
Lowell Ganz on his favorite Odd Couple episodes that he wrote and the difficulty of keeping the show fresh
Lowell Ganz on coming up with ideas for The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on The Odd Couple's lack of ratings success 
Lowell Ganz on the cancellation of The Odd Couple and the final episode
Lowell Ganz on The New Odd Couple and later Odd Couple reunions
Lowell Ganz on doing television versions of his feature films

Parenthood

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Lowell Ganz on the two television versions of his feature film, Parenthood
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Lowell Ganz on Happy Days' catchphrases
Lowell Ganz on the popularity of the "Fonzie" character on Happy Days  and working with Ron Howard
Lowell Ganz on making "Lenny" and "Squiggy" the "breakout" characters of Laverne & Shirley

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Lowell Ganz on his early interest in television and the influence of The Dick Van Dyke Show

Pop Culture

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Lowell Ganz on Happy Days' catchphrases
Lowell Ganz on the popularity of the "Fonzie" character on Happy Days  and working with Ron Howard
Lowell Ganz on making "Lenny" and "Squiggy" the "breakout" characters of Laverne & Shirley
Professions

Writers

View Profession
Lowell Ganz on his early writing partner Mark Rothman and their writing process on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on working with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on his advice to young writers
Lowell Ganz on the key to his success in writing
Lowell Ganz on his and Babaloo Mandel's approach to writing pilots and various unsold pilots
Genres

Comedy Series

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Lowell Ganz on writing for The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on writing The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on writing Happy Days
Lowell Ganz on writing and producing Laverne & Shirley
People

Jerry Belson

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Lowell Ganz on the evolution of his partnership with Mark Rothman

Tom Bosley

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Lowell Ganz on on Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days

Ron Howard

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Lowell Ganz on Happy Days' "Richie/Fonzie romance"
Lowell Ganz on writing "Night Shift" for director Ron Howard and learning to write features
Lowell Ganz on writing feature films for Ron Howard

Jack Klugman

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Lowell Ganz on working with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on Jack Klugman and Tony Randall rewriting or changing scripts on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on his favorite Odd Couple episodes that he wrote and the difficulty of keeping the show fresh

Ted Knight

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Lowell Ganz on producing The Ted Knight Show

David L. Lander

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Lowell Ganz on the evolution of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney"'s characters, and the introduction of "Lenny" and "Squiggy" on Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on making "Lenny" and "Squiggy" the "breakout" characters of Laverne & Shirley

Garry Marshall

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Lowell Ganz on working with Garry Marshall on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on Garry Marshall the director verses Garry Marshall the producer

Penny Marshall

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Lowell Ganz on the evolution of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney"'s characters, and the introduction of "Lenny" and "Squiggy" on Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on the evolution of Laverne & Shirley

Michael McKean

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Lowell Ganz on the evolution of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney"'s characters, and the introduction of "Lenny" and "Squiggy" on Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on making "Lenny" and "Squiggy" the "breakout" characters of Laverne & Shirley

Al Molinaro

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Lowell Ganz on Pat Morita as "Arnold" and Al Molinaro as "Al Delvechio" on Happy Days

Erin Moran

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Lowell Ganz on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days

Pat Morita

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Lowell Ganz on Pat Morita as Arnold and Al Molinaro as "Al Delvechio" on Happy Days

Jerry Paris

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Lowell Ganz on working with director Jerry Paris while producing Happy Days

Tony Randall

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Lowell Ganz on working with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on Jack Klugman and Tony Randall rewriting or changing scripts on The Odd Couple
Lowell Ganz on his favorite Odd Couple episodes that he wrote and the difficulty of keeping the show fresh

Marion Ross

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Lowell Ganz on Marion Ross as "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days

Cindy Williams

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Lowell Ganz on the evolution of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney"'s characters, and the introduction of "Lenny" and "Squiggy" on Laverne & Shirley
Lowell Ganz on the evolution of Laverne & Shirley

Anson Williams

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Lowell Ganz on Anson Williams as "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days

Henry Winkler

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Lowell Ganz on Happy Days' "Richie/Fonzie romance"

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