12 Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About Happy Days
Who didn’t love Happy Days? What a great show, filled with vibrant and interesting characters who all played well alongside each other and off each other with spot-on timing and some laugh out loud moments. But in between the light-hearted parts were plenty of very poignant moments, drama and moments to leave a lump in your throat.
The show went on for a number of years and drew up a massive cult following, especially for everyone’s favourite character, Fonzie. Let’s take a look back at some facts about Happy Days, how many of these were you already aware of?
1. Fonzie helped get teens reading again!
When the show was a hit, Garry Marshall was approached to see if the show could be used to help convince kids to read books. It was written in to an episode that Fonzie went to a library and checked out a book, in spite of his cool reputation and he was heard saying “Everybody is allowed to read” – that week registration for library cards went up by 500 percent!
2. The show coined a famous phrase
In the three-part Seaon Five opener, “Hollywood”, Fonzie jumps a shark whilst water skiing. This is the point where many fans think the show started to really deteriorate in quality, and since then when shows suddenly take a big dip in quality or suddenly change their format in a big way that makes no sense, it’s known as “Jumping the Shark”!
3. Fonzie wasn’t keen on bikes
In spite of the fact that Fonzie is a cool biker lad, Henry Winkler who played Fonzie hated motorcycles and so whenever he was seen on one it was attached to a platform as he wasn’t happy actually riding a bike himself.
4. The show coined another phrase that isn’t as well known
Richie and Joanie originally had a brother, Chuck. He was written out with no explanation as to why he was no longer there and was never mentioned again. When this happens now it is known as “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome”.
5. The fourth wall was broken in the final episode
In the last episode of Happy Days, Tom Bosley stepped out of character and addressed the cameras thanking the audience for being a part of the Cunningham Family. A nice and fitting tribute to the fans.
6. Arnold wasn’t called Arnold
The character of Arnold, played by Pat Morita, reveals in one episode that this is not his real name, but he is actually called Mitsumo Takahashi. The reason for being called Arnold? When he bought the restaurant, Arnold’s, he didn’t have enough money to change the sign!
7. It was almost cancelled after one season
After the first season, the ratings were not good and the show was in danger of being cancelled. As word spread about the character, Fonzie, however, its reputation grew and more and more viewers tuned in and the show went on for a number of seasons and years.
8. Ron Howard originally turned down his role
Richie Cunningham is perfectly played by Ron Howard, but Howard initially turned down the role as he didn’t want to be typecast as a teenager. Garry Marshall promised Ron Howard that the characters would grow and they would graduate from high school which helped to convince Howard to take the role.
9. The show was nearly re-named which didn’t go down well…
The character of Fonzie was so popular that the show was almost re-named “Fonzie’s Happy Days” or just simply “Fonzie” but Ron Howard and Garry Marshall both threatened to resign and walk out if that happened so the idea was scrapped and they stuck with Happy Days.
10. Mork started off on Happy Days
Everyone’s favourite comedy alien of the era, Mork, from Mork and Mindy started life on Happy Days. The character, portrayed by Robin Williams appeared in a couple of episodes and his lines were largely ad-libbed and unscripted.
11. Tom Hanks also guest-starred
One episode also sees Tom Hanks appear as an old rival of Fonzie who has been training in martial arts and comes back wanting a fight to get revenge on The Fonze!
12. Only two people get to call Fonzie by his proper name
During the show’s run, Fonzie only let two characters get away with calling him by his real name, Arthur. The two characters were Mrs Cunningham and Fonzie’s girlfriend, Ashley. Did you remember he was called Arthur?