HAPPY DAYS 30TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION (TV)

Summary

A special celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the long-running comedy about life in the 1950s, “Happy Days.” The program opens with hosts Marion Ross and Tom Bosley standing in front of the original Cunningham house, introducing the show. In “The Pilot” segment, clips are shown from the pilot episode as creator/executive producer Garry Marshall discusses creating the series. Ron Howard details what it was like doing another series after “The Andy Griffith Show.” In “The Early Years” segment, Marshall talks about the pilot show not selling and being put on “Love American Style.” However, the success of the motion picture “American Graffiti” and the revival of the play “Grease” caused interest in the 1950s and thus a remake of “Happy Days” was ordered. Marshall details how “one-man gang” Fonzie was put on the series. Henry Winkler discusses how he fashioned the character and created some of his iconic moves. Donny Most talks about how Ralph and Fonz were initially peripheral characters to Richie and Potsie. Marshall talks about the network not liking the character of Fonz, nor his leather jacket. Marshall reveals how he figured out a way to guarantee that Fonz was always leather-clad on camera. In “The New Format” segment, everyone talks about the show originally being shot as a single-camera comedy before switching to the more traditional three-camera sitcom style in front of a live audience. Howard details how he became nervous in filming before an audience. In “The Power of the Fonz” segment, Bosley talks about the show becoming a hit after the Fonz’s role was expanded. Williams talks about the watershed episode when Fonz jumped a barrage of barrels on his motorcycle. Marshall details how live audiences went crazy for Fonz. Moran talks about Fonz’s special “powers.” Marshall and Winkler detail how Fonz even helped make reading “cool,” causing registration for library cards to go up 500 percent. Next, the program looks at “Young Love,” with Most, Williams, and Moran talking about some of their romance-based episodes. In the “Getting Frisky” segment, Bosley talks about the sexual relationship between Howard and Marion. Ross discusses the harem outfit she had to wear in one episode to keep her “allure.” In the “Chachi” segment, Marshall discusses casting Scott Baio as Fonz’s cousin, Chachi. Baio then talks about becoming a sex symbol and having to sing on the show. Moran and Williams talk about Baio making the girls in the audience go wild. Next, the program looks at all the show’s iconic “Catch Phrases,” such as “sit on it” and “nerd.” Next, the program looks at all the “New Faces” that joined the show in later seasons, including Fonz’s first serious girlfriend, Pinky Tuscadero and her singing sister, Leather. Some of “Happy Days” best and favorite episodes, at least according to the cast members, are seen in “Greatest Hits.” In the “Legacy” segment, Winkler and the other actors discuss the “genius” of Marshall. Next, some behind-the-scene memories, courtesy of Winkler’s “Home Movies,” are shown. The cast members talk about how they played softball for fun, even though Winkler was not a skilled athlete. Winkler was taught to be a pitcher by Howard and Williams. Howard talks about getting to take “road trips” to play softball at Major League Baseball parks. Footage shows the “Happy Days” team playing at Shea Stadium. They also went with the USO to Germany to meet troops. Then, as the reunion show was being planned, the cast was gathered and divided into two teams -- “Cunningham Hardware” and “Arnold’s Drive-In” – to square off in softball. Special guest players Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams joined the “Happy Days” crew for the tilt, ultimately won by Arnold’s. Next, Marshall and the cast reunite on the Arnold’s set. An homage is shown to salute the countless storylines set at Arnold’s. The cast touches on such topics as the plotline that involved the burning down of Arnold’s, as well as the actors’ emotion reactions to seeing the charred remains. Winkler shows a board of wood on the Arnold’s set on which he continually wrote down major events in the cast members’ lives. Then, some bloopers are shown. Further topics touched on include: the origin of Ralph’s signature line, “I still got it”; shows that were spun off “Happy Days,” such as “Laverne and Shirley”; the appearance of Robin Williams on the show as alien Mork from Ork; the creation of the animated “The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang”; Moran and Baio getting their own series, “Joanie Loves Chachi”; Fonz helping kids learn that tears are not a bad thing; some of the show’s most emotional episodes; practical jokes which cast members played on each other; Baio’s perks and problems with being a teen idol; Moran growing up on the show; Potsie’s singing on the show and how Marshall taught him to be versatile in the business; how “Happy Days” influenced Howard’s career; why Howard still calms himself by singing about finding “my thrill”; the import of the song “Blueberry Hill” to the show; the repurcussions of the “Hollywood, Part 3” episode, which led to the “urban legend’ of TV shows that “jump the shark”; Bosley being voted by TV Guide as one of the Top Ten TV fathers; and Ross’s reaction to her “forgotten son,” Chuck Cunningham. Next, the two actors that portrayed Chuck -- Gavin O’Herlihy and Randy Roberts -- appear, followed by Pat “Arnold” Morita with a thirtieth anniversary cake. Another clip reel is shown as Elvis Presley’s “Memories” is played. Following a scene from the show’s final episode, Winkler and Howard offer closing thoughts. Includes commercials.

Details

  • NETWORK: ABC
  • DATE: February 3, 2005 8:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:00:00
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:86604
  • GENRE: Comedy
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Comedy
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - TV, 2005
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CREDITS

    • Henry Winkler … Executive Producer
    • Michael Levitt … Executive Producer
    • Linda Giambrone … Coordinating Producer
    • Gregory Sills … Supervising Producer
    • Gary Tellalian … Producer, Writer
    • Fred Fox, Jr. … Co-Producer, Writer
    • Paula D. Frank … Associate Producer
    • Dave Oberg … Associate Producer
    • Jeanne-Marie Bremer … Segment Producer
    • David Hayward … Segment Producer
    • Linda Mendoza … Director
    • Stephen Pouliot … Writer
    • Townsend Coleman … Announcer
    • Scott Baio … Guest
    • Tom Bosley … Guest
    • Ron Howard (See also: Ronny Howard) … Guest
    • Erin Moran … Guest
    • Donny Most … Guest
    • Marion Ross … Guest
    • Anson Williams … Guest
    • Henry Winkler … Guest
    • Garry K. Marshall … Guest
    • Penny Marshall … Guest
    • Cindy Williams … Guest
    • Gavan O'Herlihy … Guest
    • Randolph Roberts … Guest
    • Pat Morita … Guest
    • Elvis Presley
    • Robin Williams