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Happy Days

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Happy Days
Happy Days-Logo.jpg
Premiere January 15, 1974
Finale September 24, 1984
Airs Weeknights at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. on MeTV
Creator Garry Marshall
Network ABC
Style 30-minute sitcom
Company Miller/Milkis Productions
(seasons 1–8)
Miller/Milkis/Boyett Productions
(seasons 9–11)
Henderson Production Company
(seasons 4–11)
Paramount Television
Distributor Paramount Television (1979–2006)
CBS Paramount Television (2006–2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007– )
Seasons 11
Episodes 255
Origin USA

Happy Days is a sitcom that aired on ABC.

Derived loosely from the movie American Graffiti and mainly from the Love, American Style episode "Love and the Happy Days", the series is a look at the Cunningham family, a typical close-nit American family in Milwaukee. Howard is the husband and father, Marion the mother and wife, and they have three children, their sons Chuck (who was later written out of the show without explanation) and Richie, and their daughter Joanie.

The first two seasons, studio shot with a laugh track, mainly focused on Richie's forays meeting girls and chumming with his pals, Potsie Weber and Ralph Malph. Arthur Fonzarelli, "Fonzie" to his closest friends, was a motorcycling greaser who would usually appear to stir up trouble but usually offered sage advice to Richie. Fonzie worked at a garage and had his own apartment, but later moved in to the vacant room above the Cunninghams' garage.

Social commentary was offered as well, with episodes involving the Quiz Show Scandals, the 1956 presidential election, building a bomb shelter, and even getting a shot of Howdy Doody Show's Clarabelle the clown sans makeup.

As the show began filming in front of live audiences, Fonzie was slowly groomed to be more of a hero, especially when it came to thugs trying to pick on Richie. Fonzie also helped children across the nation overcome their fears about wearing glasses as, after being diagnosed as being farsighted, he told an audience that "wearing glasses is cool." Fonzie was consummate coolness, losing it once in awhile (along with his emotions in an episode where Richie is seriously injured in a motorcycle accident) but always regains it by the end of the show.

The show also helped coin the recent phrase "Jump the Shark", used to denote a show that was good but went downhill citing a specific instance as to when it stopped being good. The start of the 1977 season had Fonzie and the crew going to Hollywood, where a hotshot surfer challenges Fonzie to a surfing contest over a bay of sharks. The same season, Fonzie's second nephew, Chachi Arcola (the first was Spike) was introduced, and his character had a crush on Joanie, who at first didn't return the affection.

Later in the series, Ron Howard left, so his character of Richie was written off as having joined the Army. Fonzie became a partner of ownership of a new Arnold's restaurant, along with Al Delvecchio, after the original Arnold's burned down in a 1980 episode. Romantic sparks began to spark between Chachi and Joanie, and the two launched a singing gig. Joanie also got work as a teacher at a high school. Richie returned at the end of the final season to see his sister get married to Chachi. Fonzie adopted a little boy as well.

Happy Days spawned four spinoffs: Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, Joanie Loves Chachi, and the Saturday morning cartoon Fonz and the Happy Days Gang. When the show first entered syndication in the fall of 1979, the syndicated episodes aired under the title Happy Days Again to distinguish them from the first-run episodes still in production on ABC at the time.

Miller-Milkis Productions (later Miller-Milkis-Boyett Productions) produced the show in association with Paramount Television. CBS Studios now owns the show's copyright, with the TV distribution rights handled by CBS Television Distribution.



Actor Character Duration
Main Cast
Ron Howard Richie Cunningham 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 11
Henry Winkler Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Marion Ross Marion Cunningham 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Anson Williams Warren "Potsie" Weber 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Donny Most Ralph Malph 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 11
Erin Moran Joanie Cunningham Arcola 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Al Molinaro Alfred "Al" Delvecchio 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Scott Baio Charles "Chachi" Arcola 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Lynda Goodfriend Lori Beth Allen Cunningham 5 6 7 8 9 11
Cathy Silvers Jenny Piccalo 8 9 10 11
Ted McGinley Roger Phillips 8 9 10 11
Linda Purl Gloria 2
Ashley Pfister 10
Tom Bosley Howard Cunningham 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Season numbers in red indicate a recurring or guest role in that season.
Supporting/Recurring Cast
Beatrice Colen Marsha Simms 1 2 3 5
Pat Morita Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi 3 4 6 10 11
Harris Kal Bobby 8 9 10 11
Kevin Rodney Sullivan Tommy 8 9 10 11
Billy Warlock Leopold "Flip" Phillips 9 10
Crystal Bernard Krystal "K.C." Cunningham 10
Heather O'Rourke Heather Pfister 10


Season Premiere Finale #
Season One January 15, 1974 May 7, 1974 16
Season Two September 10, 1974 May 6, 1975 23
Season Three September 9, 1975 March 2, 1976 24
Season Four September 21, 1976 March 29, 1977 25
Season Five September 13, 1977 May 30, 1978 27
Season Six September 12, 1978 May 15, 1979 27
Season Seven September 11, 1979 May 6, 1980 25
Season Eight November 11, 1980 May 26, 1981 22
Season Nine October 6, 1981 March 23, 1982 22
Season Ten September 28, 1982 March 22, 1983 22
Season Eleven September 27, 1983 September 24, 1984 22


DVD Releases

Title Release Date #
Season Sets
The Complete First Season August 17, 2004 3


The Complete Second Season April 17, 2007 4


The Third Season November 27, 2007 4


The Fourth Season December 9, 2008 4


The Fifth Season May 20, 2014 4


The Sixth Season December 2, 2014 4


External Sites