‘Laverne & Shirley’: 12 Surprising Things You Never Knew About This Classic Sitcom

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

After the success of Happy Days, the network decided to give two popular characters their own spin-off, debuting Laverne & Shirley back in 1976.

I’ve loved watching the antics of those hilarious roommates since I was a little girl. I even memorized the chant they said before the theme song in every episode despite having no clue what it meant. Turns out, there was a ton of stuff from behind the scenes of this classic sitcom that most folks never knew about!

For instance, do you know what Squiggy’s real name is? I had no clue — or just how close he was with Cindy Williams, who played Shirley, backstage.

Do you remember tuning into this silly show back in the day? Take a look at all the fascinating facts most people never knew about Laverne & Shirley below.

Let us know in the comments if we missed any juicy trivia that you’ve heard about and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

Thumbnail sources: YouTube / CBS 1, 2

1. Cindy Williams Walked Off Set During The First Season

Laverne & Shirley: Cindy Williams

She was upset with the writers for giving Penny Marshall all the best lines, but returned to work two days later.

2. Penny Really Drank Milk And Soda

Laverne & Shirley: milk and pepsi

She worked the joke into the series as an homage to her mother, who would often give her soda in the same glass she had previously filled with milk without rinsing it out first.

3. Penny Came Up With The "L"

Laverne & Shirley: Laverne's "L"

The actress hoped that sewing the iconic “L” into all of her tops would help keep the series from being too repetitive like other shows that constantly mentioned characters’ names and where they worked.

Unfortunately, she still ended up frustrated by the amount of times Cindy would have to say “Laverne” in a single episode.

4. Their Apartment Might Look Familiar

Laverne & Shirley: apartment

That’s because it’s the same set they used for another pair of famous roommates: Oscar and Felix from The Odd Couple TV series, which was also developed by Garry Marshall.

They gave it a slight makeover and moved the ladies in.

5. Lenny And Squiggy Weren't Meant To Be On Screen

Laverne & Shirley: Lenny & Squiggy

Michael McKean and David L. Lander were only hired on as writers, but decided to include the characters they developed while in college together. Squiggy’s name was originally “Ant’ny,” but producers wanted it to match more with Laverne and Shirley, so they switched it with another character from their sketch.

6. Shotz Was Based On A Real Milwaukee Brewery

Laverne & Shirley: brewery

The actual brewery was known as “the beer that made Milwaukee famous,” and was the inspiration for the roommates’ workplace before they moved the show to California and began working at a department store.

7. Squiggy's First Name Was Andrew

Laverne & Shirley: Squiggy

His more whimsical nickname came from the character’s last name: Andrew “Squiggy” Squiggmann.

8. The Chant Before The Theme Song Was From Penny's Childhood

Laverne & Shirley: credits

Each episode included the chant before the theme song: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”

For those unfamiliar with the Yiddish terms, a “schlemiel” is someone who is extremely clumsy, while a “schlimazel” is someone who is incredibly unlucky. Finally, “hasenpfeffer” is a traditional rabbit stew.

9. Cindy's Pregnancy Caused Her To Leave

Laverne & Shirley: Cindy

The actress has made claims that she was fired when she refused to work on her due date, but producers deny that and say she chose to leave after the seventh season on her own.

10. They Tried To Give Carmine A Spin-Off Series

Laverne & Shirley: Carmine

The series finale, “Here Today, Hair Tomorrow,” was meant to be what’s known as a “backdoor pilot” for a new series starring Eddie Mekka as an aspiring Broadway performer. Unfortunately, it was not picked up for a full season.

11. The Girls Released An Album

Laverne & Shirley Sing

Simply titled Laverne & Shirley Sing, the album include covers of popular songs from the ’50s and ’60s like “Da Do Run Run” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” as well as a two-minute track of the pair reading yearbook entries.

Lenny and Squiggy produced their own album as well, Lenny and Squiggy Present Lenny and the Squigtones.

12. Squiggy Had Better Luck With Love In Real Life

Laverne & Shirley: David and Cindy

In the show, Squiggy regularly tries to convince Shirley to go on a date with him, but she always refuses. In real life, however, the actors were in a relationship throughout the early seasons.

Did we miss any facts you remember about the classic show? Let us know below, and be sure to SHARE with your friends!