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Happy Days is an American television sitcom that originally aired from 1974 to 1984 on ABC. The show presents an idealized vision of life in mid 1950s to mid 1960s Americamarker.

The family consists of Howard Cunningham, a hardware store owner, his homemaker wife Marion and the couple's two children, Richie, an optimistic if somewhat naive teenager, and Joanie, Richie's sweet but feisty younger sister. The Cunninghams also had an older son named Chuck, a character who disappeared during the second season.

The earlier episodes revolve around Richie and his friends, Potsie Weber (Anson Williams), Ralph Malph (Donny Most) and local dropout Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli (played by Henry Winkler), but as the series progressed, "Fonzie" proved to be a favorite with viewers and soon more story lines were written to reflect his growing popularity. Soon Fonzie befriended Richie and the Cunningham family. The focus would also occasionally shift to other additional characters, such as Fonzie's cousin Chachi, who became a love interest for Joanie Cunningham.

This long-running show spawned several other television series, including Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and Joanie Loves Chachi, and is currently a musical touring the United Statesmarker. The show has been syndicated under the title Happy Days Again.

Despite some inconsistencies, it is generally indicated that the events of the series begin about 1955 and, after eleven seasons, end in 1965. As a general rule, most episodes take place about 19 years before the year of their first air date. The second season episode "The Not Making of the President" revolves around the 1956 presidential election, while two other episodes in the same season specify 1958. The sixth season episode "Christmas Time" ends with a photo dated Christmas 1960. In the 10th season episode "Babysitting", Fonzie watches the first heavyweight championship fight between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston on television. This boxing match occurred on February 25, 1964. In the first part of the series finale "Passages", Joanie and Chachi are wearing T-shirts that say "The Kinks – Summer 1965 Tour".

Cast

Full character list

  • Howard "Mr. C." Cunningham (Tom Bosley) Husband, father, business owner, lodge member, family man. Frequently seen reading the daily newspaper in his easy chair.
  • Marion "Mrs. C." Cunningham (Marion Ross) Wife, mother and homemaker. She was the only character whom Fonzie allowed to call him by his real first name, Arthur, which she always did affectionately.
  • Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) Son and high school student. The protagonist for the first six years of the series. The character was written out of the show, leaving to join the United States Army, although Howard did return to make guest appearances as Richie during the show's final season. (1974-1980)
  • Joanie Cunningham (Erin Moran) Richie's younger sister. In early seasons she is a pre-teen sometimes snooping on Richie's activities.
  • Arthur "Fonzie" / "the Fonz" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler) First written in as a minor character, but became a hugely popular breakout character and was made a series regular.
  • Warren "Potsie" Weber (Anson Williams) Richie's closest friend, and a talented singer. He is somewhat more carefree and "worldly" than Richie in early seasons. In later seasons his character evolves to increasingly emphasise his dimwitted side.
  • Ralph Malph (Donny Most) Richie's friend, and a self-styled comedian. Left with Richie to join the Army (1974-1980). Returned as a guest star in the final season.
  • Charles "Chachi" Arcola (Scott Baio) Fonzie's younger cousin and later, Al Delvecchio's stepson. Dated and eventually married Joanie Cunningham.
  • Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi (Pat Morita) In season one Arnold was a middle-age caucasian with about ten seconds of air time. Morita later depicted the owner of Arnold's Drive-In (1975-1976), stating he obtained the moniker when he purchased the restaurant and people mistook him for "Arnold". The character explained that it was too costly to buy enough letter signs needed to rename it "Takahasi". He moonlighted as a martial arts instructor, teaching self-defense classes at the drive-in after hours. Returned after Al Molinaro departed (1982-1983).
  • Al Delvecchio (Al Molinaro) Drive-in owner/cook (1976-1982). Married Chachi's mother, thereby becoming Fonzie's uncle. Molinaro had earlier played the passive cop Murray on "The Odd Couple"
  • Jenny Piccalo (Cathy Silvers) Joanie's boy-crazy best friend (1980-1983). Mentioned often in early episodes, but never appeared in person until the 1980 season. Returned as a guest star in the series finale. Jenny's father appeared in one episode, played by Silvers' real-life father Phil Silvers.
  • Lori Beth Allen Cunningham (Lynda Goodfriend) Richie's girlfriend and later his wife (1977-1982). Returned as a guest star in the final season.


Minor characters

  • Chuck Cunningham (Gavan O'Herlihy, Randolph Roberts) - Eldest son, college student and basketball player. Chuck's character was written out of series in season two. Fonzie's character took on the role of big brother to Richie and his friends.
  • Pinky Tuscadero (Roz Kelly) Former girlfriend of Fonzie.
  • Leather Tuscadero (Suzi Quatro) Musician. Sister of Pinky Tuscadero, and a former juvenile delinquent.
  • Roger Phillips (Ted McGinley) Marion's nephew and coach and teacher at Jefferson High. Introduced after Richie left the show. (1980-1984)
  • Flip Phillips (Billy Warlock) Roger's brother. (10th season only)
  • Krystal "KC" Cunningham (Crystal Bernard) Howard's niece. (10th season only)
  • Marsha Simms (Beatrice Colen) Carhop in first two seasons.
  • Spike (Danny Butch) Fonzie's even younger cousin. Made fleeting appearances before the introduction of Chachi.
  • Wendy (Misty Rowe) Another carhop from Arnold's in the first two seasons.
  • Louisa Arcola / Louisa Delvecchio (Ellen Travolta) Mother of Chachi Arcola and Fonzie's aunt. Married Al Delvecchio.
  • Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein) Nerdy classmate of Joanie and Chachi.
  • Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel) Twin brother of Melvin Belvin. Also a nerd.
  • Bobby (Harris Kal) Friend of Chachi and Joanie seen in episodes after Richie and Ralph left the show.
  • Bill 'Sticks' Downey (Jack Baker) Friend of Richie, Potsie and Ralph and drummer for their band hence his nickname "Sticks".
  • Gloria (Linda Purl) Richie's occasional girlfriend in the second season.
  • Ashley Pfister (Linda Purl) Divorced mother who becomes Fonzie's steady girlfriend, but later broke up with him (offscreen) (1982-1983).
  • Heather Pfister (Heather O'Rourke) Ashley Pfister's daughter (1982-1983).
  • Danny Fonzarelli (Danny Ponce) Fonzie's adopted son in the series finale.
  • Police Officer Kirk / Army Reserve Major Kirk (Ed Peck) Fonzie’s nemesis; eager to demonstrate his inflated sense of authority, and on the watch for delinquents and "pinkos" (communists).


Cast stats

  • Harold Gould (of Rhoda), was cast as Howard Cunningham in the Love, American Style episode sub-titled "Love and the Happy Days".
  • Donny Most was originally cast to play Potsie Weber. The Ralph Malph character was added to the show after producers decided to cast Anson Williams as Potsie.
  • Marion Ross and Anson Williams are the only cast members who stayed with the show from its pilot, an episode of Love, American Style, to its conclusion.


History

Happy Days originated during a time of 1950s nostalgic interest evident in film, television, and music. The show began as an unsold pilot filmed in late 1971 called New Family in Town, with Harold Gould in the role of Howard Cunningham, Marion Ross as Marion, Ron Howard as Richie, Anson Williams as Potsie, Ric Carrott as Charles "Chuck" Cunningham, and Susan Neher as Joanie. WhileParamount passed on making it into a weekly series, the pilot was recycled with the title Love and the Happy Days, for presentation on the television anthology series Love, American Style. In 1972, George Lucas asked to view the pilot to determine if Ron Howard would be suitable to play a teenager in American Graffiti, then in preproduction. Lucas immediately cast Howard in the film, which became one of the top-grossing films of 1973. Show creator Garry Marshall and ABC recast the unsold pilot to turn Happy Days into a series.

Production styles

The first two seasons of Happy Days were filmed using a single-camera setup and laugh track.

One episode of Season 2 ("Fonzie Gets Married") was filmed in front of a studio audience with three cameras as a test run.

From the third season on, the show was a three-camera production in front of a live audience (with the announcement by Tom Bosley that "Happy Days is filmed before a live audience" at the start of most episodes), giving these later seasons a markedly different style.A laugh track was still used, but only to sweeten the live reactions.

Sets

The show had two main sets: the Cunningham home, and Arnold's Drive-In.

In season 1 & 2, the Cunningham house was arranged with the front door on the left and the kitchen on the right, in a sort of triangle. Beginning with season 3, the house was radically rearranged to accommodate multiple cameras and a studio audience. However, the second season episode (mentioned above) in which Fonzie gets engaged was shot on the old set, but with multiple cameras.

The Cunninghams' official address is 565 North Clinton Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsinmarker. Within the actual Milwaukee street grid, this would put the address somewhere in the center of Milwaukee County near the current day Interstate 94.

The house that served as the exterior of the Cunningham residence is actually located at 565 North Cahuenga Blvd (south of Melrose Avenue) in Los Angeles, just a few blocks from the Paramount lot on Melrose Avenue.

The Milky Way Drive-In, located on Port Washington Road in the North Shore suburb of Glendalemarker, now Kopps, was the inspiration for the original Arnold's Drive-In. The Milky Way has since been demolished. The exterior of Arnold's was a 'dressed' area on the Paramount Studios lot, that has since been demolished, very close to the Stage 19, where the rest of the show's sets were located.

The set of the diner in the first season was a room with the same vague details of the later set, such as the paneling, and the college pennants. When the show was changed to a studio based filming, the set was redesigned and became the Arnold's that is most remembered. The set was largely opened to show the audience the scenes that took place within it. The Diner entrance was hidden, but allowed an upstage, central entrance for cast members. The barely seen kitchen was also upstage and seen only through a pass through window. The diner had orange booths, downstage center for closeup conversation, as well as camera left. There were two bathroom doors camera right, labeled 'Guys' and 'Dolls'. A Seeburg jukebox was positioned camera right, and a pinball machine was positioned far camera right, (anachronistically a 1973 'Nip It' machine, contrary to the show's '50s setting).

College pennants adorned the walls including Purduemarker and University of Wisconsin–Milwaukeemarker, along with a blue and white sign reading 'Jefferson High School'.

Storylines dictated that the set would be destroyed by fire, and so in later seasons, a different Arnold's Drive-in emerged and lasted through the later years of the show. Differing in design, with wood paneling and stained glass, the set was not popular amongst viewers , and was not how Arnold's was remembered .

In 2004, two decades after the first set was destroyed, the Happy Days 30th Anniversary Reunion requested that the reunion take place in Arnold's. The familiar set was rebuilt by Production Designer James Yarnell. Built from the original ground plan, this was the first time that the Happy Days cast had been in this set since the 1970s.

Cast changes

Season 4

The most major character changes occurred after Season 4 with the addition of Scott Baio as Fonzie's cousin, Chachi Arcola. Originally the character Spike, mentioned as Fonzie's nephew (who's actually his cousin as he made it clear in one episode), was supposed to be the character who became Chachi.

Al Molinaro was added as Al Delvecchio the new owner of Arnold's after Pat Morita's character of Arnold moved on (after his character got married; Pat Morita left the program to star in a short-lived sitcom of his own, Mr. T and Tina, which was actually a spin-off of Welcome Back, Kotter. Morita would also star in a subsequent short lived Happy Days spin-off series entitled Blansky's Beauties). Al Molinaro also played Al's twin brother Father Anthony Delvecchio, a Catholic priest. Al eventually married Chachi's mother (played by Ellen Travolta) and Father Delvecchio served in the wedding of Joanie to Chachi in the series finale.

Seasons 8 onward

Lynda Goodfriend joined the cast as semi-regular character Lori-Beth Allen, Richie's steady girlfriend, in season 5, and became a permanent member of the cast between Seasons 8 and 10, after Lori-Beth married Richie.

After Ron Howard (Richie) left the series, Ted McGinley joined the cast as Roger Phillips the new Physical Education teacher at Jefferson High and nephew to Howard and Marion. He took over from the departed Richie Cunningham character, acting as counterpoint to Fonzie. Also joining the cast was Cathy Silvers as Jenny Piccolo, Joanie's best friend who was previously referenced in various episodes from earlier seasons who remained as a main cast member until the final season. Both actors were originally credited as guest stars but were promoted to the main cast during the 10th season after several series regulars left the show. The real focus of the series was now on the Joanie and Chachi characters, and often finding ways to incorporate Fonzie into them as a shoulder to cry on, advice-giver, and savior as needed. The Potsie character who had already been spun off from the devious best friend of Richie to Ralph's best friend and confidante, held little grist for the writers in this new age, and was now most often used as the occasional "dumb" foil for punchlines (most often from Mr. C. or Fonzie).

Billy Warlock joined the cast in season 10 as Roger's brother Flip, along with Crystal Bernard as Howard's and Marion's niece K.C. They were intended as replacements for Erin Moran and Scott Baio (who departed for their own show, Joanie Loves Chachi) and were credited as part of the semi-regular cast. Both characters left with the return of Moran and Baio, following the cancellation of Joanie Loves Chachi. Also leaving Happy Days in Season 10 for Joanie Loves Chachi was Al Delvecchio; Pat Morita returned to the cast as Arnold in his absence.

Note: Gail Edwards who previously guest starred in the episode “A Potsie is Born” was offered the role that Crystal Bernard would fill but was never told so by her managers, as they knew she’d take the role and they didn’t want her to be a “new character on an old show.” Later, Edwards would appear with Bernard in 93 episodes of It's a Living.

Guest stars

  • Buffalo Bob Smith and Clarabell the Clown came to town looking for Howdy-Doody look-alikes. The episode was so popular Smith launched, "The New Howdie Doodie Show" a year later.




  • Tom Hanks appeared in an episode as a character seeking revenge on Fonzie for pushing him off a swing when the two of them were in the 3rd grade. The confrontation occurs just as Fonzie was about to be given a community leader award. Years later in 1987, Hanks asked Winkler to direct his comedy Turner and Hooch, but creative differences between the two stars led to Winkler being fired from the job.


  • Herbie Faye appeared as "Pop" in the 1974 episode "Knock Around the Block".


  • John Hart (television's "The Lone Ranger" from 1952-54) made a guest appearance in an episode where Fonzie meets his childhood idol. In 1981, a new Lone Ranger movie was being filmed. Controversy arose, when original TV Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, was banned by Jack Wrather Productions, from wearing the Lone Ranger mask. Therefore, Moore was scratched and Hart was hired.






  • Lorne Greene made a brief walk-on cameo during the first episode of Season 5, which took place in Hollywood.


  • Maureen McCormick, otherwise known as Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch was "Hildie" in episode number 32 during Season 2.


Anachronisms

  • Various pinball machines manufactured in the early 1970s were seen in Arnold's, including a 1972 Bally produced machine called Nip-It. It is possible that the show's producers may have overlooked this, as pinball machines from the 1950s, commonly known as "woodrails", have a more wooden look compared to the machines used in the show.


  • The show, along with its spin-off Laverne & Shirley, took progressively more liberties in terms of hair and clothing styles, which began to look more contemporary with the show's 1970s and 1980s production years. The hairstyles of Potsie, Ralph Malph, and (later) Chachi were not reflective of the 1950s era for men. The characters all had hair over their ears, something that would have been considered very unmasculine during the 1964 era, before the advent of "Beatles" haircuts and the longer hair that followed.


  • The cars used in the smash-up derby sequence of the Pinky Tuscadero episodes would have been brand new or not even released yet when the episode was set.


  • Howard Cunningham (portrayed by Tom Bosley) can even be seen wearing an LCD digital watch during some episodes which aired in the early 1980s (LCD watches did not exist in the early 1960s).


  • Joanie Cunningham and Jenny Piccalo are seen wearing miniskirts, which were not a fashion trend in the early 1960s.


Neologisms

"Jumping the Shark"

This term has been used as a metaphor to describe something that had become an unintended mockery of itself. The term arose from one of the most famous of these plots, which involved Fonzie performing a water ski jump over a shark in an episode aired on September 20, 1977, during the show's fifth season. In later years, this episode has often been cited as the point where the series had passed its peak of quality and popularity. The phrase jumping the shark was later applied to popular culture phenomena in general. While the Fonz's literal shark jump gave rise to the phrase, some fans consider Happy Days to have had more than one such moment, occurring both before and after the stunt in question. Of particular note are the fire that destroyed the original Arnold's Drive-In and the departure of leading man Ron Howard, both of which happened after the notorious stunt involving the shark. Prior to this, the Fonzie character had become almost a comic book version of himself, battling alongside with (and subsequently romancing) a woman named Kat Mandu (portrayed by Quantum Leap actress/producer Deborah Pratt) and encountering space alien Mork from Ork (in a backdoor pilot for Mork and Mindy). Interestingly, although the series dipped slightly in viewership after Ron Howard's departure in 1980 (the show still remained a Top Thirty hit for three of its last four seasons), the Fonzie character became more grounded and "human" again—even venturing into a season of exploring domesticity and the trials of approaching middle age. Another figurative jumping of the shark occurred with the introduction of Ted McGinley, now notorious for serving as a replacement cast member on The Love Boat.

The "Fonzie Effect"

The early Happy Days episodes centered on Richie and teenage friend Warren "Potsie" Weber, dealing with typical adolescent woes in 1950s Milwaukee, along with peripherally seen peers such as Ralph Malph, Bag, et al. During the first season, the character Fonzie was becoming a fan favorite, though he was originally intended to be a local high school dropout who was only occasionally seen. The character was given progressively more screen time by the writers, becoming a permanent cast member displayed in the second season opening credits. He quickly became the show's most popular character, and many episodes came to revolve around him. When the ABC management considered changing the name of the show to "Fonzie's Happy Days", the cast, including Winkler, protested along with producer/creator Garry Marshall, and the show's title remained unchanged.

"Chuck Cunningham Syndrome"

The first two seasons of the series also featured Chuck, the Cunninghams' eldest child and Richie's older brother. The Fonz was initially meant to be a "juvenile delinquent" whom Richie and his friends would encounter, with Chuck taking on the mentoring role to Richie. After Fonzie attained breakout success and was repurposed to be more sympathetic and closer to Richie, the Chuck character was nearly superfluous, and his scenes were usually brief appearances "on his way to basketball practice." In fact, Chuck was originally a student at Marquette Universitymarker on a basketball scholarship.

Chuck was written out during the series' second season with no explanation and was rarely referred to again. Scripts from later seasons implied the Cunninghams had two, not three children. However, in the third and fourth season recap versions of the Christmas episode, "Guess Who's Coming To Christmas", Fonzie—recalling his first Christmas with the Cunninghams—tells Arnold, and later, Al, that Chuck was "away at college." In a Happy Days reunion show from 2005, the cast mentioned that Chuck had won a scholarship to the "University of Outer Mongolia" to play basketball, as a sort of an inside joke. An officially circulated outtake from the final episode has Mr. Cunningham raising a glass to the entire cast and saying "to Happy Days." After taking a sip, he blurts out in mock surprise "Wait, where's Chuck?!" In the aired version, Mr. Cunningham specifies that he has two children (Richie and Joanie). The unexplained removal of a character in a TV series has come to be known as "Chuck Cunningham Syndrome". Later seasons saw the addition of other characters. Introduced in the second season episode "Not With My Sister, You Don't", Danny Butch played Fonzie's similarly dressed and mannered young cousin Raymond "Spike" Fonzarelli. Although he went on to make several more appearances, the character was felt to never completely catch on, and was reworked into that of Chachi at the start of the fifth season (see below).

At the start of the fourth season, Roz Kelly was brought in as Pinky Tuscadero, Fonzie's long-term girlfriend. Commercials for the subsequent season even began promoting Kelly's new character, but when discord occurred between her and the cast and producers, her character was dropped; the character was briefly mentioned in two subsequent episodes, one where her sister Leather Tuscadero (played by singer Suzi Quatro) came to town to start anew out of reform school, and when Fonzie was out of town at a demolition derby with Pinky.

Bill "Sticks" Downey, played by John-Anthony Bailey, was supposed to be added to the cast as a new member of Richie's band, on drums, and the gang at Arnold's but the character never caught on and only stayed for a few episodes.

During the first two seasons, a few actresses were brought in as potential long-term girlfriends for Richie. Laurette Spang was Richie's girlfriend Arlene in a couple of first season episodes. Richie dated Arlene Nestrock (Tannis G. Montgomery) in the pilot episode which only aired as an installment of Love American Style who admitted to Richie the only reason she dated him was because he had a television set. Arlene would return in the second season and through the use of flashbacks to the "Love American Style" pilot Richie explains to Potsie and Ralph how their date went. Later in the second season Linda Purl was brought in as Richie's girlfriend Gloria. Neither caught on storywise and Richie did not have a steady girlfriend until going to college and meeting Lori-Beth Allen (Lynda Goodfriend), a former classmate from Jefferson High. Linda Purl returned to the Happy Days fold in Season 10 as Fonzie's girlfriend Ashley Pfister (a divorced socialite of the wealthy Milwaukee Pfister family). The Pfisters were often also referenced on Laverne & Shirley as owners of many Milwaukee establishments, ie, Chez Pfister, The Hotel Pfister, Pfister Fong's.

The "Chuck Cunningham Syndrome" is not to be confused with "The Mike Douglas Kiss-off", a reference to a character whose departure is explained (e.g. getting married or going to college), but whose name is never again referenced, even by a family member. Mike Douglas was a My Three Sons cast member who was written-out of the show via marriage, but who seemingly vanished from existence, even while relatives got married, graduated, had children, etc.

Decline in popularity

Happy Days remained a successful sitcom in terms of ratings for its entire run (far greater than the length of most sitcoms' full lives). One might point to the forward thinking of Garry Marshall who drafted a very young Scott Baio while the series was at #1 (in 1976-1977) without him, and seemingly in no need of a new, very young, character. Three years later, when Ron Howard and Donny Most left the series, it banished Anson William's Potsie to Mr. Cunningham's hardware store. The focal point then became the relationship of the Joanie and Chachi characters, helping to carry the series onward with ratings success. Of those final four seasons (the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th), Season 10 stands out as the oddest. Scott Baio and Erin Moran were spun-off into "Joanie Loves Chachi" (itself a rating success in terms of viewers, but failure in terms of the new-at-the-time "lead-in variable" - a gauge to see if a show is holding a high enough percentage of the show that aired just before it during the hour) and the production staff scrambled to bring in conspicuously similar Cunningham relatives to fill those spots. Season 10 marked the only full season where Fonzie entered into a monogamous relationship. With the return of the full cast (even including three guest spots by Ron Howard - a two-part episode (also strongly featuring Don Most's Ralph Malph character) plus the finale, "Passages"), the 11th season is arguably forgotten as a return to deeper storylines, stronger writing, and poignant moments.

Theme music

Seasons 1 of the series used a newly recorded version of "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets (recorded in the fall of 1973) as the opening theme song. This recording was not commercially released at the time, although the original 1954 recording returned to the American Billboard charts in 1974 as a result of its use on the show. The "Happy Days" recording had its first commercial release in 2005 by the Germanmarker label Hydra Records. (When Happy Days entered syndication in 1979, the series was retitled Happy Days Again and used an edited version of the 1954 recording instead of the 1973 version).

The show's closing theme song in season 1 was a fragment from "Happy Days," written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. According to SAG, this version was performed by Jimmy Haas (lead vocal), Ron Hicklin, Stan Farber, Jerry Whitman and Gary Garrett (backing vocals), plus studio musicians.

From seasons 2-10 inclusive, a longer version of "Happy Days" replaced "Rock Around the Clock" at the beginning of the show. Released as a single in 1976 by Pratt & McClain, "Happy Days" cracked the Top 5. The show itself finished the 1976-77 television season #1, ending the five-year Nielsen reign of All in the Family.

For the show's 11th and final season (1983-84), the theme was rerecorded in a more modern style. Featuring Bobby Arvon on lead vocals, with several back-up vocalists, this version of the theme song is arguably not as popular with Happy Days fans as versions from the 3rd-10th seasons (among which there were several slightly different versions and edits). To accompany this new version, new opening credits were filmed, and the flashing "Happy Days" logo was reanimated to create an overall "new" feel which incorporated 1980s sensibilities with 1950s nostalgia (although by this time the show was set in 1965).

Production & scheduling

  • Jerry Paris, who played a role on The Dick Van Dyke Show and directed several episodes of that series, directed every episode of Happy Days from the third season on, except for three episodes in Season 3 ("Jailhouse Rock", "Dance Contest" and "Arnold's Wedding").


  • Until the show went out of production, reruns of the show were syndicated under the title Happy Days Again.


  • Happy Days was produced by Miller-Milkis Productions (later Miller-Milkis Boyett since Bob Boyett joined the company in 1980) and was the first ever show to be produced by Miller-Boyett Productions. It was also produced by Henderson Productions and is one of the popular shows produced in association with Paramount Television.


  • In its 11 seasons on the air, Happy Days still remains one of ABC's longest-running sitcoms (behind The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which ran 14 seasons, from 1952 to 1966), and one of the longest-running prime time programs in the network's history. It is also unique in that it remained in the Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. time slot for the series' first ten seasons. The network has not had an entertainment series that has run consistently in the same slot since.


  • Happy Days also proved to be quite popular in daytime reruns; they joined the ABC daytime schedule in 1975, airing reruns at 11:30 a.m. (ET), being moved to 11 a.m. in 1977, paired with Family Feud following at 11:30 a.m. It was replaced on the daytime schedule by reruns of its spin-off, Laverne & Shirley, in April 1979.


  • Happy Days also reruns on Five US in the U.K. between 4pm and 5pm GMT, it was shown on Channel 4 between the early 1990s to the early 2000s.


  • Happy Days began running on FamilyNet Television in January 2009 as part of a "Families on FamilyNet" evening programming block that also features My Three Sons and Family Ties.


  • Reruns of the show will once again air on WGN America, starting in fall 2010. The cable superstation has aired Happy Days in separate runs earlier in this decade.


  • CBS programming head Fred Silverman scheduled Good Times directly against Happy Days during their respective second seasons in an attempt to kill the ABC show's growing popularity. However, he was named president of ABC in 1975, and so was given the task of saving Happy Days during its third season (which saw a rapid increase in ratings). This explains Happy Days appearing in the Top 20 for the 1973-74 and 1975-76 seasons, but being completely absent from the Top 20 in 1974-75.


Ratings

  • 1973–1974: #16


  • 1975–1976: #11


  • 1976–1977:#1


  • 1977–1978:#2


  • 1978–1979:#4


  • 1979–1980:#17


  • 1980–1981:#15


  • 1981–1982:#18


  • 1982–1983:#28


Episodes

DVD releases

Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS DVD have released the first four seasons of Happy Days on DVD in Region 1. Each release features music replacements due to copyright issues, including the theme song "Rock Around the Clock" for Season 2 (Season 1 retained the original opening which was released before CBS was involved).

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 16 August 17, 2004
The Second Season 23 April 17, 2007
The Third Season 24 November 27, 2007
The Fourth Season 25 December 9, 2008
The Fifth Season 27 TBA


Spin-offs

Happy Days, itself considered a spin-off from Love, American Style, spun off five different series, not including two animated spin-offs; Laverne & Shirley, Blansky's Beauties, Mork & Mindy, Out of the Blue, and Joanie Loves Chachi.

  • The most successful of these spin-offs, Laverne & Shirley (starring Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, respectively), also took place in early/mid 1960s Milwaukee, though the two starring characters eventually moved to Los Angelesmarker in the show’s latter years. Penny Marshall is the sister of producer Garry Marshall.
  • Robin Williams made his first appearance as “Mork” on Happy Days. In his own sitcom, Mork & Mindy, Mork the alien from planet Ork landed in 1970s Boulder, Coloradomarker, to study humans.
  • Joanie Loves Chachi was a short-lived show about Richie’s younger sister Joanie and Fonzie’s younger cousin Chachi’s relationship during their years as musicians in Chicago. Two myths arose around the series in recent years. The first involves the series' popularity in Korea, as "Chachi" is slang for “penis”. The other rumor suggests that the show was canceled due to low ratings. Actually, the program finished in the Top 20 its first season, but ABC determined that the show was losing too much of its lead-in, suggesting low appeal if the show were moved. This type of cancellation seemed strange in the early 1980s, but soon became a commonplace part of TV audience research.
  • Out of the Blue is a spin-off of Happy Days, though a scheduling error had the series airing prior to the main character's introduction on Happy Days.
  • Blansky's Beauties (1977) starred Nancy Walker as former Las Vegas showgirl Nancy Blansky. One week before the show's premiere, the Blansky character appeared on Happy Days as a cousin of Howard Cunningham's.


Animated spin-offs

There are two animated series. One was produced by Hanna-Barbera titled The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang which ran from 1980–1982. There are also animated spin-offs of Laverne & Shirley and Mork and Mindy. Another is The Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour (1982).

Musical

In the late 1990s, a touring arena show called 'Happy Days, The Arena Spectacular' toured Australia's major cities. The story featured a property developer, and former girlfriend of Fonzie called Miss Frost (Rebecca Gibney) wanting to buy the diner and redevelop it. It starred Craig McLachlan as Fonzie, Max Gillies and Wendy Hughes and Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham, Doug Parkinson as Al and Jo Beth Taylor as Richie's love interest Laura. Tom Bosley presented an introduction before each performance live on stage, and pop group Human Nature played a 50's style rock group.Based on the sitcom, Happy Days: A New Musical began touring in 2008.

References



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