1) It Was Popular For A Long Time
Happy Days aired from January 1974 until September 1984, finishing with a total of 255 half hour episodes over eleven series.
2) It Wasn’t Actually That Funny To Begin With
The first two series of focused on the experiences and dilemmas of teenager Richie Cunningham, played by the now acclaimed film director Ron Howard. Unfortunately ratings fell during the second series, so more emphasis was given to broad comedy, and the previously minor character of Fonzie was given far more screen time.
3) It Coined The Phrase ‘Jumping The Shark’
You may have heard the phrase ‘Jumping The Shark’, which is defined as ‘a point in a TV show or film when far-fetched events are included merely for the sake of novelty, indicative of a decline in quality’. The phrase came from a scene from a fifth season episode of Happy Days, when Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis, which was deemed as being a blatant ploy to increase ratings.
4) Fonzie Was Almost A Monkee
Former Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz was down to the last two in contention to play the part of Fonzie.
5) Henry Winkler Struggled To Read His Scripts
Due to having dyslexia (which wasn’t actually diagnosed until he was 31), Winkler struggled to read the 6 lines he was given at his audition, and apparently made them up instead. “That’s not in the script,” the producers pointed out, to which Winkler replied: “I know, but I’m giving you the essence of the character and if I get the part I’ll do it verbatim.”
6) Bill Haley Recorded A Special Version Of ‘Rock Around The Clock’ Just For The Show
This original single version was only used for the first episode, after which Haley recorded a new version of the song exclusively for the series.
7) Robin Williams Landed His Role In A Rather Strange Way
When Robin Williams auditioned for the role of alien Mork, he was directed to sit down by the show’s producer. Unbelievably, he instead turned to face the chair and sat on his head, which won him the part straight away.
8) John Lennon Showed Up Unannounced
The cast got a surprise in 1975 when the legendary former Beatle showed up unannounced on the set. It was because his son Julian Lennon was a huge fan of the show and his dad had brought him along to meet the cast.
9) It Starred In A Brilliant 1994 Music Video
If you haven’t seen the video for Weezer’s 1994 hit ‘Buddy Holly’ then you should rectify that immediately as it’s absolutely brilliant…
10) Fonzie’s Leather Jacket Is Now A Historical Treasure…
The leather jacket worn by actor Henry Winkler was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution to be displayed at the National Museum of American History.
11) …But He Didn’t Begin The Show Wearing It
When Fonzie made his first appearance on the show he didn’t wear a leather jacket, instead wearing a windbreaker. This was because executives thought that his trademark leather jacket made him look like a ‘hoodlum’.
12) It Gave Birth To A Number Of Spin-Offs
How many of the 7 Happy Days spin-off shows can you name? They were Laverne & Shirley (1976–1983), Blansky’s Beauties (1977), Mork & Mindy (1978–1982), Mork & Mindy (animated, 1982–1983), Out of the Blue (1979), The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (animated, 1980–1982) and Joanie Loves Chachi (1982–1983).