July 2, 2023

Here Are 10 Little-Known Facts About "Happy Days" That May Surprise You

This post may contain affiliate links from places like Amazon and Green Man Gaming — and we may earn a small commission when you click these links. All earnings will go to keeping this website as minimally ad-free as possible. Learn more here.

Here Are 10 Little-Known Facts About "Happy Days" That May Surprise You

By Joel | July 2, 2023

Happy Days was an iconic American television sitcom that aired from 1974 to 1984. Set in the 1950s and 1960s, the show revolved around the Cunningham family and their friends, capturing the essence of post-war suburban America. While many of us may fondly remember the catchy theme song and beloved characters like Richie, Fonzie, and Joanie, there are some lesser-known facts about the show that are worth exploring.

Here Are 10 Little-Known Facts About "Happy Days" That May Surprise You

The Show Almost Had a Different Name

Before becoming known as "Happy Days," the show was initially titled "New Family in Town." However, the network decided to change it to "Happy Days" to reflect a more joyful and relatable tone.

Fonzie Wasn't Originally a Main Character

The character of Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler, was initially intended to be a minor character. However, his popularity with the audience quickly grew, leading the show's producers to make him a central figure. Fonzie's cool demeanor, leather jacket, and catchphrase "Ayyyy" became iconic symbols of the show.

The Cast Never Shot Scenes in Milwaukee

Although "Happy Days" was set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the entire series was filmed in Los Angeles, California. The show's creators used stock footage of Milwaukee's famous landmarks to create the illusion of authenticity.

Ron Howard Directed Several Episodes

Ron Howard, who portrayed the lead character Richie Cunningham, not only acted but also directed a significant number of episodes throughout the series. This experience behind the camera laid the foundation for Howard's successful career as a film director, helming movies such as "Apollo 13" and "A Beautiful Mind."

The Origin of the Phrase "Jumping the Shark"

In a fifth-season episode titled "Hollywood (Part 3)," Fonzie performs a water ski jump over a shark. This stunt, initially intended to boost ratings, later became synonymous with a show's decline in quality. The phrase "jumping the shark" entered the pop culture lexicon, referring to a moment when a television series takes an ill-advised creative turn.

The Inspiration for Arnold's Drive-In

Arnold's Drive-In, the central hangout spot for the characters in "Happy Days," was inspired by a real drive-in restaurant in Los Angeles called The Milky Way. It served as a popular gathering place for teenagers in the 1950s and 1960s, much like Arnold's did on the show.

Pinky Tuscadero and the Fonzie-obsession

Pinky Tuscadero, Fonzie's on-again, off-again girlfriend, was played by Roz Kelly. Interestingly, Kelly's character became so popular that she starred in a spin-off called "Blansky's Beauties." However, the spin-off series didn't enjoy the same success as "Happy Days" and was eventually canceled.

Richie Cunningham's Ever-changing Family

Richie Cunningham, played by Ron Howard, had two different younger siblings throughout the series. Chuck, Richie's younger brother in the early seasons, mysteriously disappeared without any explanation. The writers later introduced a new sibling, Joanie, played by Erin Moran, who became a beloved character.

Pat Morita's Oscar Nomination

Pat Morita, who portrayed Arnold, the owner of Arnold's Drive-In, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "The Karate Kid" (1984). His iconic portrayal of Mr. Miyagi showcased his incredible acting range beyond the character of Arnold.

The Last Episode

The final episode of "Happy Days" aired on September 24, 1984, marking the end of an era. Titled "Passages (Part 2)," the episode saw Richie and his wife, Lori Beth, bid farewell to the show, leaving fans with a bittersweet conclusion.

Happy Days remains a timeless classic that continues to capture the hearts of viewers across generations. Exploring these lesser-known facts about the show brings us closer to understanding its cultural impact and the behind-the-scenes stories that shaped its success. From the unexpected rise of Fonzie to the enduring legacy of "jumping the shark," "Happy Days" has left an indelible mark on television history, reminding us of the joy and nostalgia of the bygone era it depicted.

May 24, 2024
Steam Next Fest Feels the Bite of Vampire Dynasty's Demo

Embrace immortal power in this dark fantasy world of Vampire Dynasty were you build castles and make gut-wrenching choices that shape your realm

Read More
May 11, 2024
From Zero to Mythic Hero: Unleash Your Inner Godslayer in Dawn of Defiance

Embark on an epic survival adventure with Dawn of Defiance! Craft, build, and battle in a mythic open-world setting inspired by ancient Greek mythology.

Read More
April 21, 2024
Step into Cryptmaster: Where Your Words Really Matter

Embark on a unique adventure with Cryptmaster, where your choice of words shapes the fate of undead heroes in a mysterious, text-driven dungeon craw

Read More


December 5, 2023
A Storm of Excellence - Risk of Rain Returns (Steam) Review

Risk of Rain Returns, the remastered roguelike sensation by Hopoo Games, featuring new Survivors, enhanced graphics, and revamped multiplayer modes.

September 8, 2023
The Perfect Mix of Old and New - Escape Space (Steam) Review

Choose your contract, chase down rewards, and challenge yourself in a cosmic arena of vibrant visuals and vintage vibes.

March 2, 2022
Operation Success! Operation Steel (Steam) Review

Operation STEEL is a shoot-em-up that uses hand-drawn art to create a game that's as fun to watch as it is to play.

June 1, 2021
Hands Up! Police Simulator Will Be On Patrol June 17

Police Simulator: Patrol Officers promises to clean up crime in your neighborhood one pixel at a time.

July 29, 2023
Pavement Pandemonium: Tristan Cole's Pro Driver

Embrace the adrenaline rush of high-octane stunts and neck-breaking speeds in this tribute to Sega's Crazy Taxi and the glory days of racing games

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram