Also known as Happy Days Again
Created by Garry Marshall
|Starring Ron HowardMarion RossAnson WilliamsTom BosleyHenry WinklerDonny MostErin MoranAl MolinaroScott BaioLynda GoodfriendCathy SilversTed McGinleyLinda Purl|
Theme music composer Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers (1974–75, opening)Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox (1975–83, opening), (1974–84, ending)
Opening theme "Rock Around the Clock", performed by Bill Haley & His Comets (1974–75)"Happy Days", performed by: Jim Haas (1975–83),Bobby Arvon (1983–84)
Theme songs Happy Days, Rock Around the Clock
Spin-offs Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Joanie Loves Chachi, The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang
Networks American Broadcasting Company, Channel 4
Cast Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, Erin Moran, Marion Ross, Tom Bosley
Happy Days is an American television sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984, on ABC, with a total of 255 half-hour episodes spanning over eleven seasons. The show was originally based on a segment from ABC's Love, American Style titled Love and the Television Set, later retitled Love and the Happy Days for syndication, featuring future cast members Ron Howard, Marion Ross and Anson Williams.
- Happy days season 11 clip richie says goodbye to fonzie and the cunninghams 1983
- Cast changes
- Notable guest stars
- Production and scheduling notes
- Production styles
- Theme music
- Jumping the shark
- Merchandising revenue lawsuit
- DVD releases
- Spin offs
The series was produced by Miller-Milkis Productions (Miller-Milkis-Boyett Productions in later years) and Henderson Productions in association with Paramount Television. Happy Days was one of the highest-rated shows of the 1970s.
Happy days season 11 clip richie says goodbye to fonzie and the cunninghams 1983
Set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the series revolves around teenager Richie Cunningham and his family: his father, Howard, who owns a hardware store; traditional homemaker and mother, Marion; younger sister Joanie; Richie's older brother Chuck (seasons 1 and 2 only), and high school dropout, biker and suave ladies' man Arthur "Fonzie"/"The Fonz" Fonzarelli, who would eventually become Richie's best friend and the Cunninghams' upstairs tenant. The earlier episodes revolve around Richie and his friends, Potsie Weber and Ralph Malph, with Fonzie as a secondary character. However, as the series progressed, Fonzie proved to be a favorite with viewers and soon more story lines were written to reflect his growing popularity, and Winkler was eventually credited with top billing in the opening credits alongside Howard as a result. Fonzie befriended Richie and the Cunningham family, and when Richie left the series for military service, Fonzie became the central figure of the show, with Winkler receiving sole top billing in the opening credits. In later seasons, other characters were introduced including Fonzie's young cousin, Charles "Chachi" Arcola, who became a love interest for Joanie Cunningham. Each of the eleven seasons of the series roughly tracks the eleven years from 1955 to 1965, inclusive, in which the show was set.
The series' pilot was originally shown as Love and the Television Set, later retitled Love and the Happy Days for syndication, a one-episode teleplay on the anthology series Love, American Style, aired on February 25, 1972. Happy Days spawned the hit television shows Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy as well as three failures, Joanie Loves Chachi, Blansky's Beauties featuring Nancy Walker as Howard's cousin, and Out of the Blue. The show is the basis for the Happy Days musical touring the United States since 2008. The leather jacket worn by Winkler during the series was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for the permanent collection at the National Museum of American History.
With season four, 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. (Morita had 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 also starred in a subsequent short lived Happy Days spin-off series titled 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.
The most major character changes occurred after season five with the addition of Scott Baio as Fonzie's cousin, Charles "Chachi" Arcola. Originally, the character Spike (mentioned as Fonzie's nephew in the episode "Not With My Sister You Don't," but also claimed to be his cousin, as was stated in one episode) was supposed to be the character who became Chachi. Season five also saw the introduction of more outlandish and bizarre plots including Fonzie making a bet with the Devil, and the appearance of Mork (Robin Williams), an alien who wanted to take Richie back to his homeworld. Although when first aired this ended with it all simply being a dream Richie was having, this episode was retconned in subsequent airings by way of additional footage to have actually taken place, with Mork having wiped everyone's memory except Richie's and then deciding to time travel to the present day (the setting of Mork & Mindy).
Lynda Goodfriend joined the cast as semi-regular character Lori Beth Allen, Richie's steady girlfriend, in season five, and became a permanent member of the cast between seasons eight and nine, 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. Cathy Silvers also joined the cast as Jenny Piccalo, Joanie's best friend who was previously referenced in various episodes from earlier seasons and 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 season ten 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., whom he later worked for at Cunningham Hardware, or Fonzie).
Billy Warlock joined the cast in season 10 as Roger's brother Flip, along with Crystal Bernard as Howard'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. Al Molinaro also left Happy Days in season 10 for Joanie Loves Chachi. Pat Morita then returned to the cast as Arnold in his absence.
In season 11, the story line of Richie and Lori Beth is given closure with the two-part episode "Welcome Home." Richie returns home from the Army, but barely has time to unpack when he learns that his parents have lined up a job interview at the Milwaukee Journal for him. However, they are taken aback when he tells them he prefers to take his chances in California to become a Hollywood screenwriter. They remind him of his responsibilities and while Richie gives in, he becomes angry and discontent, torn between his obligations to his family and fulfilling his dream. After a confrontation that ends with a conversation with Fonzie, he decides to face his family and declare his intentions. While somewhat reluctant at first, they support him and bid Richie, Lori Beth, and Little Richie an emotional farewell.
Notable guest stars
Happy Days originated during a time of 1950s nostalgic interest as evident in 1970s film, television, and music. Beginning 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, Paramount passed on making it into a weekly series, and the pilot was recycled with the title Love and the Television Set (later retitled Love and the Happy Days for syndication), 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 pre-production. 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. According to Marshall in an interview, executive producer Tom Miller said while developing the sitcom, "If we do a TV series that takes place in another era, and when it goes into reruns, then it won't look old." This made sense to Marshall while on the set of the show.
Gould had originally been tapped to reprise the role of Howard Cunningham on the show. However, during a delay before the start of production he found work doing a play abroad and when he was notified the show was ready to begin production, he declined to return because he wanted to honor his commitment. Bosley was then offered the role.
Production and scheduling notes
The first two seasons of Happy Days (1974–75) were filmed using a single-camera setup and laugh track. One episode of season two ("Fonzie Gets Married") was filmed in front of a studio audience with three cameras as a test run. From the third season on (1975–84), the show was a three-camera production in front of a live audience (with a cast member, usually Tom Bosley, announcing in voice-over, "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 during post-production to smooth over live reactions.
Gary Marshall's earlier television series The Odd Couple had undergone an identical change in production style after its first season in 1970–71.
The show had two main sets: the Cunningham home and Arnold's/Al's Drive-in.
In seasons one and two, the Cunningham house was arranged with the front door on the left and the kitchen on the right of screen, in a triangular arrangement. From season three on, the house was rearranged to accommodate multiple cameras and a studio audience.
The Cunninghams' official address is 565 North Clinton Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The house that served as the exterior of the Cunningham residence is actually located at 565 North Cahuenga Boulevard (south of Melrose Avenue) in Los Angeles, several blocks from the Paramount lot on Melrose Avenue.
The Milky Way Drive-In, located on Port Washington Road in the North Shore suburb of Glendale, Wisconsin (now Kopp's Frozen Custard Stand), was the inspiration for the original Arnold's Drive-In; it has since been demolished. The exterior of Arnold's was a standing set on the Paramount Studios lot that has since been demolished. This exterior was close to 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 changed to a studio production in 1975, the set was widened and the entrance was hidden, but allowed an upstage, central entrance for cast members. The barely-seen kitchen was also upstaged 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 restroom doors camera right, labeled "Guys" and "Dolls". A 1953 Seeburg Model G jukebox (with replaced metal pilasters from Wico Corp.) was positioned camera right, and an anachronistic "Nip-It" pinball machine (actually produced in 1972) was positioned far camera right.
College pennants adorned the walls, including Purdue and University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, along with a blue and white sign reading "Jefferson High School". Milwaukee's Washington High School provided the inspiration for the exteriors of the fictional Jefferson.
In a two-part episode from the seventh season, the original Arnold's Drive-In was written out of the series as being destroyed by fire (see List of Happy Days episodes, episodes 159 and 160). In the last seasons that covered the 60s timeline, a new Arnold's Drive-In set (to portray the new Arnold's that replaced the original Arnold's destroyed by the fire) emerged in a 60s decor with wood paneling and stained glass.
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 set was rebuilt by production designer James Yarnell based on the original floor plan. The reunion special was taped at CBS Television City's Bob Barker Studio in September 2004.
Season one 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 the song's use on the show. The "Happy Days" recording had its first commercial release in 2005 by the German 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). In some prints intended for reruns and overseas broadcasts, the original "Rock Around the Clock" opening theme is replaced by the more standard "Happy Days" theme.
The show's closing theme song in seasons one and two was a fragment from "Happy Days" (although in a different recording with different lyrics to that which would become the standard version), whose music was composed by Charles Fox and whose lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel. According to SAG, this version was performed by Jimmy Haas on lead vocals, Ron Hicklin of the Ron Hicklin Singers, Stan Farber, Jerry Whitman, and Gary Garrett on backing vocals, and studio musicians.
From seasons three to ten 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 at #1, ending the five-year Nielsen reign of All in the Family. On the Season 2 DVD set release & later re releases of the Season 1 DVD set, the song "Rock Around the Clock" was replaced with a reconstructed version of "Happy Days" because of music rights issues.
For the show's 11th and final season (1983–84), the theme was rerecorded in a more modern style. It featured Bobby Arvon on lead vocals, with several back-up vocalists. 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).
"Jumping the shark"
The idiom "jumping the shark" describes a point in a series where it resorts to outlandish or preposterous plot devices to maintain or regain good ratings. Specifically, the term arose from the season five episode "Hollywood (Part 3)" that first aired on September 20, 1977, in which a water-skiing Fonzie (clad in swim trunks and signature leather jacket) jumps over a confined shark. Despite the decline in ratings, Happy Days continued for several years until its cancellation in 1984. The program never received an Emmy nomination for writing during its entire run; comedy writing Emmy nominations during Happy Days broadcast history were routinely awarded to the writers of such shows as M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and All in the Family.
Happy Days has been syndicated by many networks. It aired in the United States on TBS from 1989 to 1995, The Family Channel from 1990 to 1996, Nick at Nite from 1995 to 2000 (and again in 2002–03), Odyssey Network/Hallmark Channel from 1999 to 2002 (and again from January to April 2013), TV Land from 2002 to 2007, WGN America from 2002 until 2008, and FamilyNet from 2009 to 2010. It also aired on Me-TV from December 21, 2010, until early 2012, when it was removed from the network's lineup, where it aired on Sunday afternoons at 1pm Eastern and Pacific time. The series also joined INSP's line-up, airing in an hour block from 6 to 7 pm Eastern time, on January 2, 2012 to September 30, 2013. From October 11, 2010 through October 3, 2014, the show aired on Hub Network. The show returned to Me-TV on May 26, 2014.
In the United Kingdom reruns aired on Five USA and on Channel 4 between the early 1990s and the early 2000s. Original-run episodes in the 1970s and 1980s were shown on various regions of the ITV network usually on a weekday afternoon at 17:15. It is currently (2015–16) being shown on the True Entertainment channel.
When reruns first went into syndication on local stations while the series was still producing new episodes, the reruns were re-titled Happy Days Again. The series went into off-network syndication in fall 1979, just as season seven began on ABC. There are also some episodes still aired with the Happy Days Again title.
Merchandising revenue lawsuit
On April 19, 2011, five Happy Days co-stars; Erin Moran, Don Most, Marion Ross, Anson Williams and the estate of Tom Bosley, who died in 2010, filed a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS, which owns the show, claiming they had not been paid for merchandising revenues owed under their contracts. The cast members claimed they had not received revenues from show-related items, including comic books, T-shirts, scrapbooks, trading cards, games, lunch boxes, dolls, toy cars, magnets, greeting cards and DVDs where their images appear on the box covers. Under their contracts, they were supposed to be paid 5% of the net proceeds of merchandising if their sole image were used, and half that amount if they were in a group. CBS said it owed the actors $8,500 and $9,000 each, most of it from slot machine revenues, but the group said they were owed millions. The lawsuit was initiated after Ross was informed by a friend playing slots at a casino of a "Happy Days" machine on which players win the jackpot when five Marion Rosses are rolled.
In October 2011, a judge rejected the group's fraud claim, which meant they could not receive millions of dollars in potential damages. On June 5, 2012, a judge denied a motion filed by CBS to have the case thrown out, which meant it would go to trial on July 17 if the matter was not settled by then. In July 2012, the actors settled their lawsuit with CBS. Each received a payment of $65,000 and a promise by CBS to continue honoring the terms of their contracts.
Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS DVD have released the first six seasons of Happy Days on DVD in Region 1, as of December 2, 2014. For the second season, CBS features music replacements due to copyright issues, including the theme song "Rock Around the Clock". (The Complete First Season retains the original opening, as it was released before CBS was involved). Each DVD release after season 2 (except for seasons 5 and 6) has contained the original music. The Sixth Season was released on December 2, 2014. As of June 2016, no more seasons have been planned for release.
Seasons 1 to 4 have also been released on DVD in the UK and in regions 2 and 4.
Happy Days, itself a spin-off from Love, American Style, resulted in seven different spin-off series, including two that were animated: Laverne & Shirley, Blansky's Beauties, Mork & Mindy, Out of the Blue, Joanie Loves Chachi, The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (animated) and Laverne & Shirley with Special Guest Star the Fonz (animated).
A series of novels based on characters and dialog of the series was written by William Johnston and published by Tempo Books in the 1970s.
There are two animated series. Both were produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions in association with Paramount Television (now known as CBS Television Distribution). The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang ran from 1980 to 1982. There are also animated spin-offs of Laverne & Shirley (Laverne & Shirley in the Army) and Mork and Mindy (centering on a young Mork and Mindy in high school). The following season, they were connected together as The Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour (1982).
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 as 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 1950s-style rock group.
Another stage show, Happy Days: A New Musical began touring in 2008.
There have been two reunion shows which aired on ABC: the first was The Happy Days Reunion Special, originally aired in March 1992, followed by a second special in 2005 to commemorate the program's 30th anniversary. Both were set up in interview/clip format.