30 Facts You Didn’t Know About Happy Days

Arthur H. Fonzarelli’s First Choice Wasn’t Henry Winkler

Garry Marshall, the fame show’s producer and writer had initially wanted Micky Dolenz (former Drummer of the Monkees) to play Fonzie’s role but some physical factors like Dolenz’s height after he had auditioned for the role (he was too tall for the character of Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli) made him choose Henry Winkler instead.

To play the character Mork from Ork, Robin Williams was discovered on the street

Garry Marshall was struggling in his hunt for the perfect actor for the alien Mork so Williams was suggested by Penny, Marshall’s sister. Robbin Williams was then approached while he was performing a comedy act in front of street audience. In case you forgot who Mork was, he was the alien in 1978 Happy Days’ episode of “My Favorite Orkan”, when he kidnaps Richie. Robin Williams was instantly given the role when instructed to sit on a chair, he sat on his head instead. In the few episodes that Robin was in, his lines were unscripted and add-lipped.

The Phrase “Jumped the Shark” took its toll from Happy Days

The show saw its declines after a scene played in season 5 showing its character, Fonzie, on water skis and tries to jump over a shark. They created this weird scene to lift their ratings but luck turned against them, I guess. This phrase is now commonly used when a high rating show faces a decline in its ratings.

Nearly Cancelled

During the airing of its first season, the show became a hit a on the Nielson’s Rating but then it started to decline and during the second season, it wasn’t even included in the list of top 30 and was nearly cancelled. People seemed to be fond of Fonzie who was meant to be only a secondary character.  Newer stories were presented with a bigger role to save the show. Consequently, Ron Howard was approached by Winkler to present both their names together in opening credits. They were credited for top billing. However, its character helped in survive and it spent another 10 years successfully. However, some haters still say that they should have ended it long ago.

“Chuck Cunningham Syndrome”

Chuck, who was the elder brother to Joanie and Richie was forgotten very quickly. In the last episode, too, Howard only mentions his pride in two of his kids.  Chuck Cunningham was featured in the first season as the older brother that was basketball player in college but was quickly written off the show as viewers were dismissive of his character. so now when an character is dropped from a show, it is known as the “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.”

Arthur Masciarelli was the name originally written for Fonzie

Garry Marshall’s real last name is Masciarelli which could have been reduced to simply be called Mash. However, the producers of Happy Days decided that Mash might seriously be confused with M*A*S*H, the TV show about the medics during the Korean War, could create confusion and Masciarelli was dropped for Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli.

The setting time for the show was originally decided to be 1920

Paramount had originally set the sitcom to take place in the 1920s – the age of flapper girls and political change. However, Garry Marshall insisted that he wrote the show to be based in the 1950s when he was a teenager.

Ron Howard turned down the role

Ron Howard had originally tuned down the role of Richie Cunningham as he thought the role would typecast him to be a forever “teenager“. He finally agreed to accept the role after Garry Marshall promised him that Richie Cunningham character will grow up and eventually graduate from high school.

Fonzie’s special jackets have hit the markets:

Fonzie’s leather jacket was his trademark look which people like so much that it is now displayed at Smithsonian in Washington D.C.. Many leather manufacturers at the time produced replicas of it in order to increase their sales as there was a huge demand for the Fonz’s look.

Henry Winkler had dyslexia

Winkler always had reading problems. When he stood up for auditions, he delivered his dialogues “creatively” because of his readings problems and this turned out to be very impressive for the producers. His dyslexia was confirmed at the age of 31.

Potsie and Richie were to be the main focus of the show

Potsie and Richie were the main characters of the show until Fonzie dropped in after a few seasons. He was initially granted a secondary role but gradually became the main focus after a few seasons.

Howard’s Character was considered among the best TV dads. In June 2004, Howard Cunningham secured a very impressive position in one of the award lists. He was considered among the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time” on 9th position.

Signature Look of Fonzie was almost a windbreaker

The leather jacket made Fonzie resemble a “hoodlum” according to ABC so it was decided that Fonzie would be allowed to put on his jacket in all his motorbike scenes. However, this became his signature look which eventually made Garry Marshall write all of Fonzie scenes must include the jacket and the his motorbike.

Danny’s role in Grease was almost given to Fonzie

In Grease (1978), Winkler was offered to play Danny but he rejected the offer later. He claimed that John Travolta could play it better because he had a unique look for the female audience.

Pinky Tuscadero was a regular character.

It was originally written that Pinky Tuscadero was to be a recurring role; frequently repeating in the series but the idea was dropped when Roz Kelly, the actress playing Pinky in Happy Days, failed to make well with the cast so she and her character was eventually written off the show.

Its originally decided name was ‘Cool’

A cool person never calls himself cool or he loses the charm of the so-called “coolness.” When the show was tested, it was said that the name made them think of cigarettes so the idea of calling the show “Cool” was rejected and Happy Days was born.

It was almost, officially, called ‘Fonzie’ or ‘Fonzie’s Happy Days’

Fonz gained much fame gradually and it was proposed that new name for the show be wither ‘Fonzie’ or ‘Fonzie’s Happy Days’ but Garry Marshall and Ron Howard didn’t take the news very well. They made threats of quitting the show in case the proposal was carried forward.

Library cards increased 500% and Fonz was credited for it

Reading rates of children were falling and hence the show was requested to do something to make kids read more. So the writers of the show added an episode where Fonzie goes to the library, checks out a book and was heard saying ““Everybody is allowed to read.” After this episode was aired, there was a 500% increase was observed in library cards registration.