About AM

September 21, 2018

10 'ayyy' worthy behind-the-scenes facts about 'Happy Days'

Share this pen
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmail
Loading...

Advertisement

"Happy Days" changed TV shows forever. From 1974 to 1984, "Happy Days" brought a smile to the nation while also teaching life lessons. One of the biggest hits in television history, it remains an icon today.

The Cunninghams represented typical middle-class America, facing trials and tribulations in their hometown of mid-fifties Milwaukee and many of the relics of this show live on in our minds and hearts.

Let's raise the curtain and see what went on away from fans' curious eyes:

10. THE NAME

Loading...
Loading...

Advertisement

Show creators were all set to name the show "Cool," but a test audience claimed it reminded them of a packet of cigarettes so they scrapped it. Producer Carl Kleinschmitt would rename it "Happy Days" instead.

9. 1920s ERA

Loading...

Advertisement

Paramount wanted the sitcom to be set in the 1920s era but creator Garry Kent Marshall refused. His pilot was set firmly in the fifties. His initial pilot was rejected, but "Happy Days" eventually made it to television.

8. AS ANIMATED SERIES

Loading...

Advertisement

"Fonz and the Happy Days Gang" was a science fiction animated comedy spin-off that was on air for two years at the height of "Happy Days" popularity. Ayyy.

7. DRAFT DODGING

Loading...

Advertisement

Ron Howard joined "Happy Days" to avoid being conscripted into the Vietnam War. Ron was all set to go to college and become a director when war broke out. He chose to get a work deferment and join the cast.

6. FREE MUSIC

Loading...

Advertisement

Anson Williams sang all the songs on the jukebox so producers wouldn't have to pay royalties to fifties stars to acquire their hits. They wrote his musical talents into the script.

5. WINKLER'S DYSLEXIA

Loading...

Advertisement

Henry Winkler struggled to read the script for his audition and so he made up his lines, ad-libbing to show them his talent. He promised to read from a script if cast. Winkler was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 31.

4. WINKLER'S STATIONARY BIKE

Loading...

Advertisement

While the Fonz absolutely loved his motorcycle, Winkler could not ride a bike and was terrified of it. Scenes of him on his hot wheels were filmed using a stationary bike attached to a moving truck.

3. FONZ'S ICONIC LEATHER JACKET

Loading...

Advertisement

The Fonz wore a gray windbreaker in the first few episodes of the show because producers were adamant that leather jackets were for hoodlums.

Since leather jackets were safer to wear when riding a motorbike, the producers reluctantly agreed to allow it in scenes where Fonz had a bike. 

Marshall told the show's writers to put a motorcycle into every one of Fonzie's scenes and the rest is history.

2. DOLENZ AS FONZ 

Loading...

Advertisement

Monkee's drummer Micky Dolenz was a front-runner to play Arthur Fonzarelli but was too tall compared to the rest of the "Happy Days" cast and was not given the part.

1. ROBIN WILLIAMS ON "HAPPY DAYS"

Loading...

Advertisement

"Happy Days" would go down in history as the show that gave a busser in Sausalito, California, his big break. Marshall's sister suggested Williams for a part, he was a gifted student of the arts, and he was called in to read.

The quirky Williams was told to take a seat at the audition and decided to rest his head on the chair instead of sitting in it. They cast him on the spot. A spin-off series created especially for him, "Mork & Mindy," would run for 4 years.

Which of these facts made you say:

Loading...
Loading...

Advertisement