Happy Days


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About

Happy Days originated in 1974 as a nostalgic teen-populated situation comedy centered on the life of Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his best friend Potsie (Anson Williams), both students at Jefferson High School in 1950's Milwaukee Wisconsin. The character, of Arthur Fonzarelli, Fonzie, with whom the show is now most associated was originally only fifth-billed. But his leather jacketed, "great with the girls," biker profile unexpectedly captured the imagination of viewers. Fonzie increased the popularity of the show and actor, who portrayed him, Henry Winkler, and by 1980, "the Fonz" had achieved top billing.

The show presented a saccharine perspective on American youth culture of the 1950s. With rock and roll confined to the jukebox of Al's Diner, the kids worried over first loves, homecoming parades, and the occasional innocuous rumble. The Cunninghams represented the middle class family values of the era. Minor skirmishes erupted between parents and children, but dinner together was never missed--prepared and served by mother, Marion (Marion Ross), or daughter, Joanie (Erin Moran). There was no inkling of the "generation gap" discourse which was beginning to differentiate youth from their parents in the 1950s, and which was still active in the mid-1970s when the show was created.

One episode pits Ritchie and his friends against Ritchie's father, Howard (Tom Bosley), by virtue of his support of a business plan that would send a freeway through the teen make-out spot, Inspiration Point. Civil disobedience is suggested by the teenagers' organization of petitions and picket signs to protest the plan. Fonzie even chains himself to a tree at the site. Yet generational harmony is restored when Ritchie makes Howard realize that he, too, participated in the culture of Inspiration Point when he was young.

Fonzie's lower class status, his black leather clothes, and motorcycle, propensity to get into fights, and apparent sexual exploits with multiple women takes advantage of the code of delinquency which social scientists of the period fashioned under the rubric of deviancy studies. But again, Fonzie's representation had none of the hard edge or angst of a James Dean or Marlon Brandon character and was played more for laughs than social critique. Yet his popularity on the show may have tapped into deeper audience identifications.

His image of an impervious, highly testosteroned male, albeit with modicums of vulnerability and hyperbole as acted by Winkler, was overtly rewarded in the show. It only took a snap of his fingers to have women do his bidding or grown men cower in fear of being pummeled by an out-of-control Fonzarelli. So male-identified was his character that the men's restroom in Al's Diner was referred to as his "office."

The Fonz's courting of many women at once meant be was never subject to the kind of romantic involvement and inevitable heartbreak which characterized Ritchie's relationships with women. The Fonz's style, "my way" bravado, working class ethos, and loner sensibility differed from the mainstream Cunninghams and was in direct opposition to the upwardly mobile, college-bound, leadership-quality Ritchie. Ritchie, audiences knew, would someday outgrowth Milwaukee and leave it behind, but Fonzie had fewer choices, and was the type to stay behind. And perhaps the tension between these two worlds, these two life directions kept audiences watching through the show's ten year run during which time Ritchie and his pals go to college, the army, and even get married.

Despite these contrasts, however, Fonzie and the Cunningham family were never involved in overt conflict. Indeed, by the end of the show, Fonzie had moved into the Cunningham's garage apartment, and though the bemused Howard Cunningham often wondered what was happening "up there," Fonzie was, by this time, a thoroughly domesticated character. His role not only paralleled that of Mr. Cunningham, but those of countless sitcom fathers before him, and he was as likely to dispense careful, family-oriented wisdom, as to suggest rebellion of the slightest sort. But it was always proffered with Winkler's parody-delinquent sense of style, a style that continues to appeal to youngsters in syndicated rerun throughout the world.

Happy Days stands as the first of a string of extremely successful spinoff comedies from producer Garry Marshall. Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, and others shows helped propel the ABC television network into first place in the ratings battles, and enabled Marshall to move from television to feature film direction.

-Lisa Anne Lewis

CAST

Richie Cunningham (1974-80).................. Ron Howard  

Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli.................... Henry Winkler  

Howard Cunningham ...............................Tom Bosley  

Marion Cunningham............................... Marion Ross  

Warren "Potsie" Webber (1974-83).... Anson Williams  

Ralph Malph (1974-80)............................ Donny Most

Joanie Cunningham .................................Erin Moran  

Chuck Cunningham (1974)................ Gavan O'Herlihy  

Chuck Cunningham (1974-75)......... Randolph Roberts

Bag Zombroski (1974-75)................. Neil J. Schwartz

Marsha Simms (1974-76).................... Beatrice Colen

Gloria (1974-75)........................................ Linda Purl

Wendy (1974-75).................................... Misty Rowe

Trudy (1974-75)........................................... Tita Bell

Arnold (Matsuo Takahashi) (1975-76, 1982-83)................ Pat Morita

Charles "Chachi" Arcola (1977-84)............. Scott Baio

Lori Beth Allen Cunningham (1977-82)........................ Lynda Goodfriend

Eugene Belvin (1980-82)....................... Denis Mandel

Bobby (1980-84)....................................... Harris Kal

Jenny Piccalo (1980-83)........................ Cathy Silvers

Roger Phillips (1980-84)....................... Ted McGinley

Flip Phillips (1982-83)........................... Billy Warlock

K.C. Cunningham (1982-83)............... Crystal Bernard

Ashley Pfister (1982-83)............................ Linda Purl

Heather Pfister (1982-83)................ Heather O'Rourke

Officer Kirk................................................ Ed Peck

PRODUCERS

Garry Marshall, Thomas Miller, Edward Milkis, Lowell Ganz, Brian levant, Fred Fox Jr., Tony Marshall, Jerry Paris, William S. Bickley, Gary Menteer, Walter Kempley, Ronny Hallin.

PROGRAMMING HISTORY

ABC

256 Episodes

January 1974-September 1983   Tuesday 8:00-8:30

September 1983-January 1984   Tuesday 8:30-9:00

April 1984-May 1984   Tuesday 8:30-9:00

June 1984-July 1984   Thursday 8:00-8:30

Highlights
Henry Winkler on the genesis of Fonzie's "whoa"and the "thumbs up"
04:23
Garry Marshall on negotiating with ABC so Fonzie could wear a leather jacket on Happy Days
02:19
Tom Bosley on dropped older son "Chuck," played by Gavan O'Herlihy, on Happy Days
01:16
Pat Morita on being a regular (as "Arnold") on Happy Days
29:34
Who talked about this show

Howard Anderson, Jr.

View Interview
Howard Anderson Jr. on creating the opening titles for Happy Days
00:59

Tom Bosley

View Interview
Tom Bosley on dropped older son "Chuck," played by Gavan O'Herlihy, on Happy Days
01:16
Tom Bosley on his casting on Happy Days and how quickly the first episodes were shot
02:54
Tom Bosley on why Happy Days was so popular
01:03
Tom Bosley on the inspiration for "Howard Cunningham"; on the closeness of the cast; Ron Howard, Erin Moran, Henry Winkler
Tom Bosley on the biggest laugh he got with a Happy Days' episode where Mr. C deals with bigotry 
01:16
Tom Bosley on "Be the First on your Block", a Happy Days episode where Mr. C builds a bomb shelter

Janis Paige with Emerson College

View Interview
Janis Paige on guest-starring on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Happy Days
01:36

Michael Eisner

View Interview
Michael Eisner on how Happy Days almost didn't get greenlit because network research said "the 50s won't work"; Eisner didn't believe in research
03:35
Michael Eisner on the development of Happy Day s; on casting Fonzie
05:08
Michael Eisner on the development of Happy Days; the pilot didn't have Henry Winkler as Fonzie; on casting that role
01:41

Bob Elliott

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Bob Elliott on making guest appearances on Happy Days and Trapper John, M.D.
01:05

Charles Fox

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Charles Fox on scoring the music for the pilot for Happy Days (on Love, American Style) and later composing for the Happy Days series
08:10
Composer Charles Fox on working on Happy Days (continued)
02:10

Richard Frank

View Interview
Richard Frank on overseeing production of Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley 
05:51
Richard Frank on the legacy of Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley
03:13

Lowell Ganz

View Interview
Lowell Ganz on starting to write for Happy Days
02:58
Lowell Ganz on Happy Days going from a one-camera show to a three-camera show
02:37
Lowell Ganz on the popularity of the "Fonzie" character on Happy Days and working with Ron Howard
04:04
Lowell Ganz on the rise of the ratings of Happy Days and becoming a producer on the show
02:50
Lowell Ganz on the challenges of producing Happy Days
01:43
Lowell Ganz on Happy Days' "Richie/Fonzie romance"
03:46
Lowell Ganz on moving "Fonzie" into the Cunningham household on Happy Days
01:16
Lowell Ganz on Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
03:05
Lowell Ganz on Marion Ross as "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:10
Lowell Ganz on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:40
Lowell Ganz on Anson Williams as "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days
01:30
Lowell Ganz on the difficulty of serving a large cast as producer of Happy Days
02:04
Lowell Ganz on Pat Morita as "Arnold" and Al Molinaro as "Al Delvechio" on Happy Days
01:25
Lowell Ganz on the writers coming up with stories for Happy Days while he was a producer
02:16
Lowell Ganz on spinning off Laverne & Shirley from Happy Days
00:01
Lowell Ganz on working with director Jerry Paris while producing Happy Days
00:52
Lowell Ganz on Happy Days "Jumping the Shark" and Ron Howard leaving the show
02:48
Lowell Ganz on Happy Days' place in television history and his career
02:04
Lowell Ganz on the legacy of Happy Days
01:42
Lowell Ganz on returning to Happy Days later in its run
02:31

Ron Howard

View Interview
Ron Howard on accepting a role in the pilot of Happy Days (aired as an episode of Love, American Style) to avoid the Vietnam War draft
02:11
Ron Howard on the Happy Days pilot's belatedly series pickup, following the success of the feature film "American Graffiti"
01:12
Ron Howard on accepting the lead role in Happy Days
01:06
Ron Howard on the nostalgic quality of Happy Days
00:30
Ron Howard on the premise of Happy Days and breakout character "Fonzie"
01:32
Ron Howard on how Happy Days' "Fonzie" was being groomed to compete with Good Times' "J.J."
01:40
Ron Howard on rejecting Happy Days' title change to Fonzie's Happy Days when Fonzie became a breakout character
02:22
Ron Howard on the network and studio's waning interest in him on Happy Days in light of breakout character "Fonzie"
02:31
Ron Howard on his Happy Days co-stars Henry Winkler, Donny Most, and Anson Williams
01:06
Ron Howard on his Happy Days parents Tom Bosley and Marion Ross
00:40
Ron Howard on Happy Days co-star Erin Moran
00:30
Ron Howard on working with Happy Days director Jerry Paris
00:53
Ron Howard on comparing the approach to comedy on The Andy Griffith Show to that of Happy Days
01:23
Ron Howard on his Happy Days character "Richie Cunningham"
01:16
Ron Howard on his character "Richie's" relationship to "Fonzie" on Happy Days
01:06
Ron Howard on the "best boss" he ever worked for: Happy Days creator/producer Garry Marshall
01:33
Ron Howard on the "Howdy Doody" episode of Happy Days
00:58
Ron Howard on playing a drunk scene in the Happy Days episode "Richie's Cup Runneth Over"
00:48
Ron Howard on the Happy Days episode "Hollywood" which ushered in the TV term "jump the shark"
02:08
Ron Howard on the Happy Days episode "Richie Almost Dies" and Henry Winkler's contribution
01:01
Ron Howard on the Happy Days episode "My Favorite Orkan" (which introduced "Mork") and Robin Williams' talent
03:47
Ron Howard on "Richie's" memorable rendition of "Blueberry Hill" on Happy Days
00:37
Ron Howard on the catchphrases from Happy Days
01:12
Ron Howard on the inspiration for his trademark laugh from Happy Days
00:13
Ron Howard on how little research he did into the 1950s for Happy Days
00:18
Ron Howard on how the cast of Happy Days, excluding himself, eventually allowed their 1950s style haircut to grow out to 1970s length during the show's run
00:34
Ron Howard on Lynda Goodfriend, who played his character's love interest, "Lori Beth," on Happy Days
00:55
Ron Howard speculates on what would have been "Richie Cunningham's" career trajectory following Happy Days
00:27
Ron Howard on his attempt to renegotiate his ABC contract to allow him to stay with Happy Days and pursue his burgeoning directing career
03:24
Ron Howard on telling Garry Marshall that he'd be leaving Happy Days to pursue a directing career
01:54

Eddie Foy III

View Interview
Eddie Foy III on casting Happy Days
01:34

Penny Marshall

View Interview
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on introducing the characters of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney" on Happy Days
01:00

Garry Marshall

View Interview
Garry Marshall on negotiating with ABC so Fonzie could wear a leather jacket on Happy Days
02:19
Garry Marshall on the origin of the name "Potsie Weber"
00:20
Garry Marshall on "New Family in Town", the original unsold pilot for Happy Days
04:18
Garry Marshall on the casting of Ron Howard and the development of the Fonz character on Happy Days
06:52
Garry Marshall on the family focus of Happy Days
00:39
Garry Marshall on the censorship of a scene in "All the Way" (airdate: January 15, 1974), the first episode of Happy Days 
01:04
Garry Marshall on the writers, producers and other behind-the-scenes on Happy Days
02:19
Garry Marshall on his favorite episodes of Happy Days
03:29
Garry Marshall on the Happy Days episode "Richie Almost Dies" (airdate: January 31, 1978) (Fonzie cries)
01:28
Garry Marshall on the Happy Days episode "Hard Cover" (airdate: September 27, 1977) (Fonzie gets a library card)
01:11
Garry Marshall on the genesis of Mork on Happy Days, "My Favorite Orkan" (airdate: February 28, 1978) which led to Mork & Mindy
02:32
Garry Marshall on improvising a set on the Happy Days episode "Fonzie for the Defense" (airdate: May 30, 1978)
02:04

Pat Morita

View Interview
Pat Morita on being a regular (as "Arnold") on Happy Days
29:34

Dick Van Patten

View Interview
Dick Van Patten on a guest role he had on Happy Days
01:16

Carroll Pratt

View Interview
Carroll Pratt on providing a laugh track for The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, My Favorite Martian, Happy Days, and The Andy Griffith Show
05:16

Marion Ross

View Interview
Marion Ross describes her character on Happy Days "Mrs. Cunningham"; and working on the show
28:58
Marion Ross on co-starring on Happy Days (continued); and the show's legacy
15:53
Marion Ross on being cast on Happy Days
05:55

Mark Rothman

View Interview
Mark Rothman on inventing the Happy Days catchphrase "Sit on it!"
02:18
Mark Rothman on going to write for Happy Days
01:18
Mark Rothman on switching Happy Days from a single camera show to a multi-camera show in front of an audience 
10:15
Mark Rothman on working with Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson
04:55
Mark Rothman on "Fonzie" becoming the central character of Happy Days
02:24
Mark Rothman on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days
07:23
Mark Rothman on Ron Howard as "Richie Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:34
Mark Rothman on Marion Ross as "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
02:43
Mark Rothman on Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:53
Mark Rothman on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:02
Mark Rothman on Donny Most and Anson Williams as "Ralph Malph" and "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days
02:57
Mark Rothman on Pat Morita as "Arnold" on Happy Days and the inception of Laverne and Shirley
06:57
Mark Rothman on the inception of Laverne and Shirley
03:26

Fred Silverman

View Interview
Fred Silverman on highlighting the Fonzie character on Happy Days during his first year as President of ABC Entertainment in 1975
00:52

Cindy Williams

View Interview
Cindy Williams on her first appearance on Happy Days  and on working with the cast
04:23
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on introducing the characters of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney" on Happy Days
01:00

Henry Winkler

View Interview
Henry Winkler talks about getting cast as "The Fonz" on Happy Days; why Fonzie never rode a motorcycle or combed his hair, and the genesis of his catchphrase "whoa"
08:46
Henry Winkler ("Arthur Fonzarelli" aka "The Fonz") talks about the cast and director of Happy Days
06:07
Henry Winkler on how he was cast as "Fonzie' on Happy Days , and how the network originally wanted someone bigger for the role
02:54
Henry Winkler on celebrity and using "Fonzie's" catchphrases in public
02:11
Henry Winkler on crafting the voice of the Fonz on Happy Days
01:56
Henry Winkler on the inspiration for 'The Fonz'
01:22
Henry Winkler on what became the infamous "jumping the shark" episode of Happy Days
03:25
Henry Winkler on a typical production week at Happy Days
03:48
Henry Winkler on the episode "Fonzie Gets Married"
01:09
Henry Winkler on the episode "Fonzie Moves In"
00:15
Henry Winkler on Fonzie's love life
01:24
Henry Winkler on the "Dance Contest" of Happy Days
03:56
Henry Winkler on the "My Favorite Orkan" episode of Happy Days
01:47
Henry Winkler on his favorite episode of Happy Days and how his character changed
01:25

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