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Happy Days on Love American Style TV Show
As a kid growing up in the late 60s, early 70s, I remember watching episodes of "Love American Style". So, while in a nostalgic mood, I turned to YouTube to see if I could find a few old episodes.
What I found surprised me.
Did you know that "Happy Days" starring Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham first began on an episode of "Love American Style"? The TV series "Happy Days" did not begin until two years later.
Opening Theme for the Happy Days Pilot Episode
I just love trivia. Here's a bit of trivia I found on the IMDB website about "Happy Days".
- In the beginning, the Cunninghams had three children. Joanie and Ritchie's older brother Chuck was off to college on a basketball scholarship. The producers decided to phase him out once they realized Fonzie's popularity. Fonzie's full name is Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli.
- The only person Fonzie allowed to call him by his proper name was Mrs. Cunningham. His proper name was Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli. He was originally going to be named Arthur Maschiarelli and nicknamed "Mash". Maschiarelli is producer Garry Marshall's real last name. The "Mash" idea was scrapped when they decided it might remind people of the TV show M*A*S*H that was a popular show on their rival network.
- In the beginning, the show revolved around Ritchie and his friend Potsie. Over time Ralph and Fonzie began appearing more often.
- Two members of The Monkees auditioned for the role of Fonzie, Michael Nesmith and Mickey Dolenz. Robby Benson had auditioned for the role of Ralph.
- ABC was concerned that the public would perceive Fonzie as a hoodlum or criminal, so they would not allow him to wear a leather jacket. In the first episodes Fonzie is seen wearing a blue/gray windbreaker. His leather jacket became his signature piece and now hangs in the Smithsonian.
- The Fonz became so popular just after a few seasons causing the network to want to rename the show to "Fonzie" or "Fonzie's Happy Days". This idea was scrapped after Garry Marshall and Ron Howard threatened to leave the show.
- Many fans felt the show's quality deteriorated after season five's opening where Fonzie jumps a shark while water-skiing. Today, when a show takes a sharp drop in quality, it's said to "jump the shark".
- When Ron Howard and Donnie Most left the show, their absences were explained by having saying that Richie and Ralph had joined the army.
- Ron Howard at first passed on playing Richie, because he didn't want to "be a teenager the rest of my life" on television. 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.
- Once 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 goes to the library to check out a book to show that despite his tough man reputation, it was still cool to check out books. Registration for library cards went up 500% that week.
- 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.
- Tom Hanks guest starred late in the series as an old rival of Fonzie's who had learned martial arts and wanted to settle the score in a fight.
- 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.
- Henry Winkler and Tom Bosley are the only two cast members to appear in all 255 episodes and ironically neither of them were in the "Love American Style" pilot.
- "Laverne & Shirley", "Mork & Mindy", animated TV series "The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang", "Blansky's Beauties" and "Joanie Loves Chachi" were all spin-off of "Happy Days".