Sunday, Monday, Happy Days, Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days, Thursday, Friday, Happy Days! Saturday, what a day! Groovin’ all week with you! Ah, Happy Days, the much loved sitcom set in the ‘50s that had us all shouting ‘Ayy!’, but did you know these 25 facts about the show?
Winkler wasn’t the first choice for Arthur Fonzarelli
Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz was Garry Marshall’s preferred choice for playing Fonzi, but as Dolenz was so tall, it was decided that Winkler was a better fit. Literally!
Robin Williams was discovered on the street for his part as Mork from Ork
After he had struggled to cast the alien character, Marshall’s sister Ronny suggested Williams, who was at the time performing stand-up comedy on the street outside. He was, of course, a success.
The show started the phrase “jumped the shark.”
It is widely agreed that the show began to decline after the odd scene in Season 5 when Fonzie literally jumps a shark on water skis, a phrase which is now used for any show with fallen rating who try something bizarre to get a ratings boost.
Several actors took CBS and Paramount Pictures to court
In 2011, actors including Anson Williams filed a lawsuit against CBS and Paramount Pictures as they were not being paid enough merchandising revenue. They were hoping for $10 million but were actually only awarded $65,000 each.
There was a third Cunningham child… But we don’t talk about him
Richie and Joanie’s older brother Chuck was phased out pretty quickly and in the finale, Howard mentions being proud of his “two kids”. What characters are dropped without an explanation it is now called “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome”.
Fonzie was originally going to be called Arthur Masciarelli
Masciarelli is Garry Marshall’s real last name, however, when shortened to ‘Mash’, the producers were worried that it would be confused with the TV show M*A*S*H.
The show was supposed to be set in the 1920s!
Paramount originally had the idea for a sitcom set in the 1920s – the age of flapper girls and political change. However, Garry Marshall asked instead if he could write about the 1950s instead – when he was a teenager.
The Ratings were not high
Paramount originally had the idea for a sitcom set in the 1920s – the age of flapper girls and political change. However, Garry Marshall asked if he could write about the 1950s instead – when he was a teenager.
Ratings were not high by the end of the first series, and the show was almost cancelled as a result of it. Thankfully, it caught on during the character, and it ended up running ten years – although many would say it should have quit while it was ahead…
The trademark leather jacket is now on display
The Fonz’s trademark look was his brown leather jacket which became so iconic that you can actually see it now, hanging in the Smithsonian. There’s also plenty of replicas if you fancy wearing one yourself.
Henry Winkler was a creative dyslexic
Although he wasn’t officially diagnosed until he was 31, Winkler always struggled with reading. During his audition, he couldn’t read his lines so he made them up, which evidently impressed!
The show started as being all about Richie and Potsie
During the first few seasons, the show followed Richie and Potsie and Fonzie was just a secondary character offering light relief. He slowly became an equal part of the show, before eventually becoming the primary focus in later seasons.
Howard was an award-winning dad
Howard Cunningham was voted number 9 in TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time” in June of 2004. That’s a pretty impressive accolade to have if you ask us.
Fonzie’s signature look was almost a windbreaker
ABC thought the leather jacket made him look “like a hoodlum”, but the compromise was that Fonzie could wear his leather jacket in any scenes with his motorbike. Marshall then insisted that his bike was written into all of his scenes!
Fonzie almost became Danny from Grease
Henry Winkler was offered the role of Danny in the 1978 film, Grease. However, he turned it down later, saying that it should be John Travolta as he “had them special eyes to woo the lady audience”.
Pinky Tuscadero was intended to be a series regular
Pinky was popular with viewers and was going to be a regular character. However, Roz Kelly, who played her, did not get along with the rest of the cast and so that idea never came to fruition.
It was originally going to be called ‘Cool.’
Of course, the first rule of being cool is never having to call yourself cool, so that would never have worked! Test audiences said that ‘Cool’ reminded them of cigarettes so it was changed.
It was almost changed to “Fonzie’s Happy Days” or even just “Fonzie.”
As the character of The Fonz because so popular, it was suggested that the show name be changed to include his name. However, Ron Howard and Garry Marshall threatened to leave if that were to happen.
The Fonz was responsible for a 500% increase in library cards
The show was asked if there was anything they could do to persuade children to read and so in one episode, Fonzie goes to the library because “Everybody is allowed to read” and the next week, there was a 500% increase in registration for library cards.
There was a Happy Days All-Star Softball Team
Garry Marshall set up a softball team made up of cast and crew who played games to raise money for charity and promote the show. Not just a pretty face!
Fonzie saved a life
A teenaged boy called through to Paramount Studios, asking to speak to Fonzie as he was contemplating suicide. Henry Winkler spoke to the boy and convinced him not to do it.
They broke the fourth wall in the final episode
At the end of the final episode, Tom Bosley, who played Howard Cunningham, spoke to the camera and thanked the audience for being part of the Cunningham family for the past few years.
The Lennon’s were big fans of the show
In 1975, former Beatle John Lennon brought his son Julian to the set (unannounced!) to meet the cast as Julian was a huge Happy Days fan. Of course, the cast was just as delighted!
Arnold’s was called Arthur’s for one episode
The very first episode shows the signage on the restaurant as “Arthur’s”, however, by the second episode, it had been changed to read “Arnold’s”, as it stayed from then on.
Licensing for the music was pretty pricey
To save money on the clearance for some of the ‘50s jukebox songs played at Arnold’s, Potsie actor Anson Williams voiced covers of a lot of the tracks.
Henry Winkler was terrified of motorcycles
Unlike his onscreen personal, Winkler hated motorcycles and never actually rode his for real during the show. He was actually sat on the bike, on a platform, pulled along by a truck.