“Happy Days,” the wildly popular show that ran from 1974 – 1984, was a cultural phenomenon. Steeped in nostalgia for a simpler time, the show was set from 1955 – 1965, a golden era for the American teenager. Featuring an ordinary family living in Milwaukee, the characters – especially high school dropout, Fonzie – resonated deeply with the TV watching public and is still popular in reruns today. These rare facts from behind the scenes, including the tidbits about characters, the actors, guest stars and story development are truly fascinating. Most surprising? The pilot episode was not picked up by the network so the creators featured it on another popular show, “Love, American Style,” where the episode is called “Love and the Television Set.” The rest, as they say, is history!
As the story sometimes goes, the ratings for the show were dismal at the end of its first season and the network was considering canceling it. But luckily, that’s when Henry Winkler’s portrayal of Fonzie started attracting legions of viewers. The ratings quickly took a turn for the better and the show was renewed… for 10 total years. *whew*
Hard to imagine (or remember) but in the first season, Fonzie had not yet adopted his famous brown leather jacket (which now hangs in the Smithsonian). Instead, he wore a very tame blue windbreaker.