|"Happy Days" (TV series)|
"Happy Days" logo and original cast.
Country / Launguage
USA / English
255 / 11 seasons
Happy Days is an American television sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984 on ABC-TV, with a total of 255 half-hour episodes spanning over eleven seasons. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presented an idealized vision of life in the mid-1950s to mid-1960s Midwestern United States, and starred Ron Howard as teenager Richie Cunningham, Henry Winkler as his friend Arthur "Fonzie / The Fonz" Fonzarelli, and Tom Bosley and Marion Ross as Richie's parents, Howard and Marion Cunningham. Happy Days became one of the biggest hits in television history and heavily influenced the television style of its time.
The series began as an unsold pilot starring Howard, Ross and Anson Williams, which aired in 1972 as a segment entitled "Love and the Television Set" (later retitled "Love and the Happy Days" for syndication) on ABC's anthology show Love, American Style. Based on the pilot, director George Lucas cast Howard as the lead in his 1973 hit film American Graffiti, causing ABC to take a renewed interest in the pilot. The first two seasons of Happy Days focused on the experiences and dilemmas of "innocent teenager" Richie Cunningham, his family, and his high school friends, attempting to "honestly depict a wistful look back at adolescence".
Initially a moderate hit, the series' ratings began to fall during its second season, causing Marshall to retool it emphasizing broad comedy and spotlighting the previously minor character of Fonzie, a "cool" biker and high school dropout. Following these changes, Happy Days became the number-one program in television in 1976-1977, Fonzie became one of the most merchandised characters of the 1970s, and Henry Winkler became a major star. The series also spawned a number of spin-offs, including the hit shows Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy.
Main article: List of "Happy Days" episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||16||January 15, 1974||May 7, 1974|
|2||23||September 10, 1974||May 6, 1975|
|3||24||September 9, 1975||March 2, 1976|
|4||25||September 21, 1976||March 29, 1977|
|5||27||September 13, 1977||May 30, 1978|
|6||27||September 5, 1978||May 15, 1979|
|7||25||September 11, 1979||May 6, 1980|
|8||22||November 11, 1980||May 26, 1981|
|9||22||October 6, 1981||March 23, 1982|
|10||22||September 28, 1982||March 22, 1983|
|11||22||September 27, 1983||September 24, 1984|
|Ron Howard||Richie Cunningham||Main||N/A||Guest|
|Anson Williams||Potsie Weber||Main|
|Marion Ross||Marion Cunningham||Main|
|Tom Bosley||Howard Cunningham||Main|
|Henry Winkler||Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli||Recurring||Main|
|Don Most||Ralph Malph||Recurring||Main||N/A||Guest|
|Erin Moran||Joanie Cunningham||Recurring||Main||Recurring||Main|
|Al Molinaro||Al Delvecchio||N/A||Recurring||Main||N/A||Guest|
|Pat Morita||Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi||N/A||Recurring||N/A||Recurring||N/A|
|Scott Baio||Charles "Chachi" Arcola||N/A||Recurring||Main||N/A||Main|
|Lynda Goodfriend||Lori Beth Allen-Cunningham||N/A||Recurring||Main||N/A||Guest|
|Cathy Silvers||Jenny Piccalo||N/A||Recurring||Main||Guest|
|Ted McGinley||Roger Phillips||N/A||Recurring||Main|
|Linda Purl||Ashley Pfister||N/A||Main||N/A|
Cast changes Edit
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 discontented, 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.
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