You grew up with the Fonz. You watched this family grow together, argue, and work through their issues. Happy Days is a show you’re still watching when it comes on late at night and you’re flipping through the channels. It is the epitome of a family-friendly classic sitcom. It’s clean, it’s funny, and the jokes never seem to get old even though the sitcom was set in the 1950s. It’s one of those shows you think back on with fond memories, and now you get to look back on it and how long ago it was on television and realize just how much you miss those days.
Ron Howard is the Most Famous
The man who portrayed Richie wasn’t looking for a job. He was done with his other hit show, “The Andy Griffith Show,” and was looking for something more. He enjoyed his time in front of the camera, but he really wanted to be behind it. However, that didn’t work out for him right away. He ended up becoming even more famous, and he’s gone on to earn an Oscar, to make many movies, shows, and even have four kids with the wife he married more than 40 years ago.
The Leather Jacket Almost Wasn’t
During the time this show was filmed, people thought the leather jacket Fonzie wore was too tough. ABC executives were worried their family-friendly programming would suffer when he walked onto the set in a very masculine and tough leather jacket, and they pushed for him to wear a light windbreaker. Garry Marshall, however, stood his ground and decided quickly that was not going to happen. We are glad it didn’t.
Anson Williams Almost Wasn’t Potsie
The stars didn’t seem aligned for him the day of his audition. He had some car trouble and almost didn’t get the role because of it. Fortunately, his callback was so good that the show decided to cast him even though all that happened to him, and fans are quite happy that he was cast. Keep reading to find out yet another reason it’s a good thing he was given this role so he could help the show out with some musical issues.
Joanie was Homeless
The actress who played Joanie had a very successful career with this show and her own spinoff, but she had a run of bad luck later. She was unable to pay her mortgage and was evicted from her home. She temporarily lived the homeless lifestyle before she was able to get her life back together and focus on making things right. Unfortunately, she passed in 2017 and is no longer with the rest of the cast and crew as they look back on their success and the good times they once had.
Scott Baio Was Made Famous Here
He’s yet another actor who had a long run of good luck in the acting world when he was cast on several high shows, and this is the reason. He was cast on this show as the boy Joanie had feelings for, and then they were sent off to create their own spinoff show, and then he was given lead roles in other shows. He, just like Robin Williams, can attribute his own success to this show just as much as anyone else. It was a big show that created some big names.
It Was Created in 1971
Creator Garry Marshall first had the idea for this sitcom in 1971. He wanted to write it and create it, but the bigwigs at Paramount said that they wanted to set the show in the 20s or 30s. Marshall, knowing little to nothing about either decade, said he knew a lot more about life in the 50s since that’s when he did the primary bulk of his own growing up. That’s where the idea was created.
The Theme Song Was Special Recorded
Billy Haley & His Comets recorded the hit song “Rock Around the Clock” back in 1955 when it was making waves at the top of the Billboard charts. However, this is not the original version of the song. The show used a special version nearly 20 years later that was designed for the show and recorded just for this. It’s the same premise, but it’s not the same layout. It’s just one of those very interesting facts people want to know.
The Characters Played Ball Together
Garry Marshall wanted to do something fun with his cast and crew, so he put them on a baseball team and they played together. They often played other celebs before major league games as a way of raising money for their favorite charities, which is something the fans of the show loved to hear. They got along very well, and there is a lot of fond memories about their baseball games floating among those who were on the show.
Arnold Has No Accent
It’s clear that Noriyuki “Pat” Morita is an Asian man, but he had no accent. He was born and raised in California, and his English was perfect. However, the director of the show told him that his fans wanted to see him with an accent, and he’d need to pick one before they began filming so that people believed he was who he was portraying on the show. That’s where he would then create his own very over-exaggerated Asian accent.
The Name Was Almost COOL
The name Happy Days was not the original name of this show. It was designed to be COOL but it did not work out for the show. When test audiences were given a run at the show to find out what they thought of things, they announced that the name the show had at that time was something that made them think of cigarettes and smoking, and that is not what anyone wanted them to think of when they saw the show.
Ron Howard Didn’t Want to do Another Show
When he was approached about this idea, he was not entirely sold on doing another series at the time. He was just accepted into the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He wanted nothing more than to become a director. However, that didn’t work out for him at the time. He took the time to cement his name in this show, and that might be why so many people know who he is. This has helped is directing career, and it definitely put him on the map as far as his career goes.
Character Names Are Real
When Garry Marshall began creating he show, he made it his goal to us as many names as he could from real life. He named Richie Cunningham after a nice kid that went to church with him, Potsie after a kid his wife went to school with, and he was going to give the Fonz his original name. However, it didn’t work out as well as he wanted it to, and that’s when he needed to come up with something cooler like the Fonz for this character.
Ron Howard Wanted to Avoid the Draft
When Ron Howard left college to join the cast of this show, he did it on the premise he would not be drafted. He knew that there was no longer a condition allowing college students to avoid going into the military due to the draft, but he had a low number. He decided to take the job in hopes that his employment would defer him from being drafted and going to war. It worked for him. He got the job, he didn’t get drafted, and his life is doing all right.
Fonzie Wasn’t Always the Fonz
There was a time when the other person who was being considered for the role of Arthur Fonzarelli was another man. In fact, that man was Micky Dolenz from the The Monkees. There was a moment when the Fonz could have been a Monkee, but it didn’t work out that way. Henry Winkler was given the role, and he was able to make it work so well we can’t imagine anyone else ever taking a shot at something like this.
Pinky Didn’t Fit the Mold
When there was word that the Fonz might finally find his love interest, the world went nuts. This fake couple actually got as much news coverage as some of the real celebrity couples who made their relationship announcements that decade, but it didn’t work out for them. They didn’t quite work the way the director thought they might. She was too brash and overly abrasive, and she didn’t mesh well with her costars. The actors who played Pinky said it was because she was working with rich kids and she grew up using welfare as a poor kid and she can’t relate.
Robin Williams Got his Break Here
When there was an episode about Mork from Ork, they needed a funny comedian to take part in the role. However, Garry Marshall could not find a reputable comedian who wanted the role. That’s when his sister told him about a comedian she passed regularly on the street and enjoyed, so she suggested him to her brother. He was hesitant to hire a street comedian, but he later realized that Robin Williams was one of the funniest men he’d ever met in his life. And that, friends, is where Robin Williams got his big break.
The Songs are All Potsie
You know how the characters would always listen to music on the jukebox? Well, it turns out there was no way for the producers to get any copyright abilities to use the music from this era on television, so they had to improvise to keep it real. They had the actor who plays Potsie sing and record the songs. Everything you ever heard on that jukebox was him singing so they didn’t get in trouble.
Henry Winkler Didn’t Think He’d Get the Role
When he walked into the audition and saw that he was up against Micky Dolenz, Henry Winkler just knew the role would never be his own. He was certain he’d not get the part, the part would go to Dolenz, and he would end up out of work and potentially looking for another opportunity elsewhere. Fortunately, things worked out for him, and he did get the role despite his own personal feelings he wouldn’t.
Winkler Got the Job Because He’s Short
He wasn’t short, but he was shorter than the Monkees’ Micky Dolenz who stands 6-feet tall. He was too much taller than the average height of Ron Howard, and the producer didn’t want that. He wanted these two friends to be the same height or similar, so he cast Winkler. However, it’s been said that was the only reason the man got the job back then. He rocked it, and we can’t imagine anyone else doing it – but he almost didn’t.
Henry Winkler is Dyslexic
Did you know this fan favorite struggled to read? He wasn’t diagnosed until he was in his 30s, and that meant he struggled with the lines he had to learn when he auditioned for this role. He had six lines, but he could not read them. He didn’t know what his problem was, so he made up some lines and then told the producers he would read the script if he got the role. However, he was going to provide them with what he felt was the essence of the character at that moment.