LIFE

11 Surprising Secrets Hiding Behind The Classic Show ‘Happy Days’

by Grace Eire
Grace plays in a band and is the mother to a black cat named Fitzhugh.

There are some characters from TV that will simply stick with you forever.

The Fonz is one of them, along with the rest of the talented cast from the show Happy Days. 

The show, which ran for 11 seasons, gave us lots of timeless catchphrases, like “YOWSAH YOWSAH YOWSAH” and “exactamundo.” But it’s the characters who said them that we all fell in love with.

As with every show, there are many things that even the biggest Happy Days fans don’t know, just like most people don’t know everything on this list about The Dick Van Dyke Show. 

These 11 surprising facts might give you a whole new perspective on your favorite ’50s throwback that was filmed in the ’70s and ’80s.

Who was your favorite character from the show? Do you remember gathering around and watching with family and friends? I know that the theme song alone brings back plenty of memories for me!

Let us know if we missed any fun facts in the comments, and please SHARE this surprising list with your family and friends on Facebook!

Thumbnail source: Wikimedia Commons

1. It Was Supposed To Be Called “COOL”

1. It Was Supposed To Be Called “COOL”

Executive producers wanted the show to be called “COOL,” but focus groups thought that the show was about eskimos who smoked. To be honest, I might watch that show, too.

2. It Was Also Supposed To Be Set In The 1920s–30s

2. It Was Also Supposed To Be Set In The 1920s–30s

When Marshall was approached by Paramount, they wanted him to write a show based in the ’20s or ’30s, but he said he’d be much more suited to write for the time in which he grew up, which was the ’50s and ’60s. His initial pilot wasn’t picked up, but Happy Days wasn’t too far behind.

3. Anson Williams Sang The Songs On The Jukebox

3. Anson Williams Sang The Songs On The Jukebox

Getting the royalties for popular songs was, and still is, very expensive. After producers heard Williams, who played Potsie, singing backstage, they got the bright idea to have him sing the songs on the jukebox for free. They also then wrote some singing into the script.

4. Ron Howard Almost Passed Up The Role

4. Ron Howard Almost Passed Up The Role

Howard really did not want to play a teenager for the rest of his life, so he almost turned down the role. But, when Marshall promised that all the boys would graduate from high school, the former child star and future director accepted the role.

5. The External Shot Of The Home Was Actually In L.A.

5. The External Shot Of The Home Was Actually In L.A.

While the show was set in Milwaukee, WI, the Cunninghams’ house was actually located at 565 North Cahuenga Boulevard in Los Angeles. Well, at least the establishing exterior shot was. The rest was filmed in the studio, of course.

6. The Fonz Originally Wasn't Allowed To Wear A Leather Jacket

6. The Fonz Originally Wasn't Allowed To Wear A Leather Jacket

Executives didn’t want Fonzie to be depicted as a hoodlum, so they put him in a windbreaker in the beginning. However, creator Garry Marshall convinced the studio to let The Fonz wear his leather jacket while his bike was in the scene, as it’s safer to wear a leather jacket on the bike. When Fonzie became the most popular character on the show, the leather jacket issue was no more, and the Fonz wore it all the time.

7. Henry Winkler Was Terrified Of Motorcycles

7. Henry Winkler Was Terrified Of Motorcycles

Most of the scenes where The Fonz was riding his beloved bike were shot with Winkler on a stationary bike attached to a moving truck. Imagine that, The Fonz afraid of motorcycles.

8. Winkler Couldn't Read His Audition Script

8. Winkler Couldn't Read His Audition Script

Henry Winkler wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until he was 31 years old. So, when he went in to read for the part of The Fonz, he thought on his feet and made up his lines. When producers and casting directors asked him why he wasn’t giving them the lines as written, he told them that he was giving them the essence of the character, and that if he was hired he’d read the lines as is.

Very sneaky, Mr. Winkler. Luckily, it worked!

9. The Show Gave Robin Williams His Big Break

9. The Show Gave Robin Williams His Big Break

Robin Williams was performing in the street for cash at the time of the space man episode. Marshall was having trouble casting the role of the alien, Mork from Ork, when his sister suggested the man she’d seen on the street. When Williams came in for the audition, he was asked to take a seat, which is when he set his head down on the chair instead of sitting in it. He got the role immediately.

10. The Monkees' Micky Dolenz Auditioned For Fonzie

10. The Monkees' Micky Dolenz Auditioned For Fonzie

Henry Winkler remembers seeing Dolenz at the audition and thinking that his chances were shot. Dolenz, though, doesn’t recall seeing Winkler there at all.

11. Jerry Helper From “The Dick Van Dyke Show” Directed Many Episodes

11. Jerry Helper From “The Dick Van Dyke Show” Directed Many Episodes

Jerry Paris, who played Jerry Helper on The Dick Van Dyke Show directed every episode of “Happy Days” from season 3 onward, except for these: “Jailhouse Rock,” “Dance Contest,” and “Arnold’s Wedding.” It’s always so fun to learn when two of your favorite shows overlap like this!

How much do you love Happy Days? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments and please SHARE with your family and friends on Facebook.