Rockin’ Around the Clock with Happy Days trivia

Happy Days logoSunday, Monday, Happy Days!  Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days!  Man, I used to love watching the show Happy Days when I was growing up.  I loved Fonzi and his catchphrase, “Heeeeeeeeeeeeey!”  I loved the show’s catchphrase, “Sit on it!”  I loved the theme song, I loved the setting and the sets, I loved the other characters.  It was just a lot of fun to watch.   I still enjoy it.  I DVR it every once in a while to see some of my favorite episodes.

Just a few weeks ago I got an email from Ticketmaster letting me know that tickets for Happy Days the Musical, showing in Jacksonville, were only 20 bucks during the week.  I didn’t realize there was a musical based on the TV show, but it’s not surprising considering the Broadway shows based on Saturday Night Fever, Xanadu, Road House and other movies from the ’70s and ’80s.  I thought it would be fun to see how they managed to translate the show to the stage so I bought Steph and I tickets and we went this past Saturday.Happy Days The Musical

The show was very good. The guy who played Fonzie was spot on. He had the mannerisms and voice inflection down cold. The guy who played Ritchie was familiar to me because he was in the cast of Avenue Q which I happened to see on Broadway in 2004 right before it won the Tony for Best Musical. Overall, the musical was like watching an episode of the TV show, cheesy and cute. The songs were fun, too. Steph and I really enjoyed watching it. If it comes to your town, and you loved the TV show, then give the musical a chance. I think you’ll like it.

Anywho, after watching the musical, I started Googling Happy Days. I was surprised how much info and trivia was out there. I was reading for like 3 hours about behind the scenes information and background info on the show and characters. I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would pass along some of my favorite tidbits.

So, without further adieu, here’s everything cool about the show Happy Days that you never knew.

* Originally there were three Cunningham children. Ritchie, Joanie and the eldest, Chuck.  Chuck Cunningham was phased out of the show  in Season 2 (off to college for basketball).

* Fonzie’s full name is Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli.

* Happy Days originally failed as a pilot.  Gary Marshall re-worked the pilot as an episode of the anthology series Love American Style.  This episode focused on the characters Ritchie and Potsie and there was no Fonzie.  The success of this episode and the popularity of George Lucas’ movie, American Graffiti, allowed Marshall to re-submit the idea and it was picked up.

Fonzie

* Bill Haley and the Comets’ classic “Rock Around The Clock” served as the theme song for the first season of the show. The original ’50s recording of the song was used in the very first episode of season one.  Starting with the second episode, a newly recorded version of the song was used.

* Happy Days was so popular that Rock Around the Clock went back on the pop charts 19 years after its original release. The song was #1 in 1955, and made it to #39 in 1974.

* The more familiar “Happy Days” theme was used in the opening credits beginning with the 1975-1976 season. Then, an entirely new arrangement of the theme was introduced during the 1983-1984 season.

* Both Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith of The Monkees auditioned for the role of Fonzie.

* In the first season, The Fonz wore a light blue windbreaker (see picture below) instead of the leather jacket because the network feared he would be seen as a criminal or a delinquent. Starting in season two, Fonz wore his trademark brown leather jacket, which now hangs in the Smithsonian.

happy_days_gang_s1

* The Fonz became so popular that after the first few seasons the network wanted to rename the show “Fonzie’s Happy Days” or just “Fonzie.”  Garry Marshall and Ron Howard threatened to resign if this happened so the network dropped the idea.

* Many fans agree that the show’s quality deteriorated after the three-part-season 5 opener, “Hollywood”, where Fonzie jumps a shark while water-skiing. Today, when a show takes a sharp drop in quality, it’s said to “jump the shark”.

* Robby Benson and Don Most were both considered for the role of Richie Cunningham. The character of Ralph Malph was created for Most.

* Robin Williams as Mork would make his first appearance in an episode of Happy Days.  During this first appearance, Mork is looking at a television and the show that is being shown is “The Andy Griffith Show” (1960), which featured Ron Howard.  Mork even makes a comment that he really liked the show, especially Opie, who was played by Howard.

* Henry Winkler has said that he based some of Fonzie’s movements and speech pattern on Sylvester Stallone. Winkler had worked with Stallone years earlier in The Lord’s of Flatbush (1974).

* Originally Fonzie had a younger cousin named Spike who would show up occasionally during the first few seasons. He was written out after the third season.  This younger cousin character would become Chachi in later seasons.

* Chachi’s real name was Charles.   Scott Baio, who played Chachi, would later play a male nanny named Charles in the ’80s series, Charles in Charge.  Don Most (Ralph Malph) would guest star in an episode and make many references to Baio’s Chachi character, including the trademark “Wa Wa Wa”.

* Chachi’s trademark saying, “Wa Wa Wa”, came from Scott Baio always saying “What What What”.

Happy Days game

* Pat Morita’s character is called Arnold, but in one episode he reveals that the restaurant was named Arnold’s when he bought it, and he couldn’t afford to replace the sign. His real name is Mitsumo Takahashi.

* In the first episode of the series, “Arnold’s” was identified as “Arthur’s” (different name on the logo, but with the same rotating, stylized letter “A” above the name). The restaurant and teen hangout became “Arnold’s” as of the second episode.

* After the show became successful, Garry Marshall was approached and asked if the show could do anything that would help convince kids to read. In one episode, the Fonz realized that he would go to the library and check out a book, despite his reputation. (Said the Fonz, “Everybody is allowed to read.”) That week, registration for library cards went up 500 percent.

* Tom Hanks guest starred late in the series as an old rival of Fonzie’s who had learned martial arts and wanted to settle the score in a fight.

* Henry Winkler and Tom Bosley are the only two cast members to appear in all 255 episodes.

* Happy Days spawned three live action TV shows and three cartoon shows. The live action shows were Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley and Joanie Loves Chachi. The cartoons it spawned were The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, Laverne & Shirley Join The Army and Mork & Mindy.

The Fonz and the Happy Days GangLaverne & ShirleyMork & Mindy

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17 Responses to “Rockin’ Around the Clock with Happy Days trivia”

  1. I LOVED the show. And you said it…the guy who played Fonzie was amazing. You would have thought he was the real deal.

  2. So that’s where “jump the shark” came from? I never knew how that expression came about. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  3. I used to watch this show too, Fonzie was da man.

  4. Happy Days was during my mom’s era but I have seen re-runs of course.

  5. That’s an interesting article. I just wondered if you could tell me where to find more info on this topic ?

  6. Interesting Blog there pal.

  7. Like to watch Stargate Atlantis episodes and also Lost. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  8. this gurl LUVS Chachi Says:

    Okay, i know happy days is, like, 40 years before my time, but I absolutely love the show. if u couldn’t tell, my fav character is chachi. he’s 2 funny. yur website blog thingy is really cool. Great job!

  9. No cursing to say something funny, no sex to show a romance scene
    great writing, great characters. Even as a kid (4 yrs old in ’81) I still recall doing the Fonz’s thumbs up and saying “heyyyyyy”. So I think that says alot about age appeal of the show. A way cool show.

  10. Here is clearly much information to identify about this.

  11. does anyone know the name of the twins Fonzie use to date?

    • Jennie Marie Says:

      Joan if you got an answer to what the names of the twins that Fonzie used to date was please let me know. I am totally clueless at their names but remember him walking around with them one on each arm.

  12. I would like to know what kind of motorcycle fonzi had on the show, I’m very intrigued by old classic motorcycles regarding tv shows?

  13. The Polaski Twins.

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