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Trivia / Happy Days

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  • Ability over Appearance: Garry Marshall admits that when he envisioned Fonzie he was thinking of "someone who is cut" like Sylvester Stallone or Perry King, not physically someone like Henry Winkler, i.e. short and Jewish. But he said Winkler nailed it in the audition, he had the attitude of Fonzie down, if not the look, so he got the part.
  • Acting for Two: Al Molinaro, as Arnold's proprietor Al Devecchio and (less frequently) his priest twin brother, Father Anthony Delvecchio.
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  • Billing Displacement: Averted when the producers wanted to change the name of the show to Fonzie's Happy Days to reflect The Fonz's growing popularity. Both Ron Howard and creator Garry Marshall threatened to leave the show if the producers did so, and even Henry Winkler himself objected to this proposal, feeling that Howard was the real star of the show.
  • The Cast Showoff:
    • Anson Williams as Potsie was given the chance to sing on a number of occasions (with footage of him singing incorporated into the opening credits eventually). One episode even stops in its tracks so Potsie can sing "Deeply," an original song Williams recorded, even though it's a '70s pop song out of place in the '50s setting.
    • When actress Jane Lynch was on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, she said she wrote a fan letter to Anson Williams when she was a teenager in the '70s and she got a written response back from him. Kimmel showed the letter and in it Williams asked Lynch if she and her friends would write to the show asking for more Potsie singing! Lynch didn't but if Williams responded to every fan letter the same way and most of them complied, it explains why Potsie sang so much on the show!
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    • Scott Baio and Erin Moran would become this later on, mainly due to the teen idol status of the former (who released back-to-back albums in the early-'80s).
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Don Most originally auditioned for both Richie and Potsie, and was almost considered to play the latter. Since they liked Don Most's audition, they eventually decided to create the character of Ralph Malph just for him. While a minor character in the pilot, he eventually becomes a a regular.
  • The Danza: Marion Ross as Marion Cunningham, Al Molinaro as Al Delvecchio, and Heather O'Rourke as Heather Pfister.
  • Dawson Casting: Which became increasingly obvious as the series progressed and the actors aged well into their twenties (or, in the case of Henry Winkler and Anson Williams, their thirties). Even from the start, Winkler looked older than the age Fonzie was supposed to be.
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  • Enforced Method Acting: When doing the episode about Arnold's burning down, the cast was not allowed to see the destroyed set until filming the reaction scene so that the emotions would pack more of a punch.
  • Executive Meddling: The reason why Fonzie wore a windbreaker instead of a leather jacket for a while. The executives feared he'd come off as a hoodlum to viewers. Garry Marshall got around this by convincing network executives that a leather jacket would function as motorcycle safety gear. Marshall then instructed the writers to include the motorcycle in all of Fonzie's scenes until the network finally relented. Interestingly, once Fonzie's popularity became well established, those same executives later demanded that the producers rename the show to Fonzie's Happy Days, or simply, Fonzie. Threatened resignations from the cast members, including Henry Winkler himself, nixed this idea.
  • Hostility on the Set:
    • In interviews about the show Roz Kelly, who played Pinky Tuscadero, said she didn't get along with Henry Winkler, her onscreen boyfriend. "I was from the wrong side of the tracks and he was a rich kid. That rubbed me the wrong way." Kelly was originally slated to be a permanent cast member but infighting with Winkler and other cast members got her written off the show.
    • Otherwise averted, as the Happy Days regular cast was known for getting along unusually well. Even after Henry Winkler supplanted Ron Howard as the show's most famous cast member, the two actors continued to be good friends, and Winkler starred in the first major studio movie that Howard directed, Night Shift.
  • I Am Not Spock: A good number of fans actually believed Henry Winkler actually possessed Fonzie's Rule of Cool powers, begging him to do things for them that ranged from banging on a car's hood to make it work to quieting all the animals in a zoo. However, unlike most who are blessed/cursed with this trope, however, Henry embraces his Fonzarelli past, so much so that his daughter went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Although Fonzie loved motorcycles, Henry Winkler was terrified of them. Most of the scenes of Fonzie riding the motorcycle were shot with the bike attached to a platform, and being pulled by a truck. (The shot of Winkler riding a bike without apparent aid in the opening credits was an exception.)
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Chuck Cunningham was played by two different actors before being written out of the show.
    • The initial Love, American Style episode featured Harold Gould as Howard and Susan Neher as Joanie.
    • The original "test" version of the first aired Happy Days episode, "All the Way", featured yet another actress, uncredited, as Joanie.
  • The Pete Best: Before Chachi, Fonzie had another, younger cousin named Spike, who took a lot of mannerisms — acting "cool" and rebellious, wearing a leather jacket — from the Fonz. After Chachi was introduced, the character just up and vanished.
  • Real-Life Relative: In the episode "I Drink, Therefore I Am" Heather O'Rourke's actual sister Tammy O'Rourke plays a neighbor girl, also named Tammy.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Harold Gould originally signed on to reprise the role of Howard when Happy Days went to series, but had to back out due to prior commitments.
    • Both Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith of The Monkees auditioned for Fonzie. However, both were considerably taller than the other main cast members and the producers decided that the Fonzie character should be more at an eye level with his peers.
    • Arnold's was originally named "Arthur's", and Fonzie's first name was originally Arnold. Both ideas lived long enough to make it into the original "test" version of "All the Way" (the former also remains in reruns), but the names themselves were switched soon after.
    • As the character of the Fonz became increasingly popular, ABC considered giving Henry Winkler his own Spinoff. Another consideration was keeping Winkler on Happy Days (renaming it "Fonzie's Happy Days"), but either giving him top billing or the "and starring" credit. Winkler, not wanting to upstage his costars, turned down all offers. However, he eventually settled for taking second billings (under Ron Howard, whom Winkler felt was the series' real star, eventually accepting top billing when Howard left to pursue directing).
    • Ralph and Potsie, a spin-off for Ralph Malph and Potsie Weber was planned. "The Apartment," a fifth season episode, acted as the proposed series' backdoor pilot.
    • Following the cancellation of the series' animated spin-off The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, a second cartoon that would have teamed Fonzie with Scooby and Scrappy-Doo was proposed. Animated Fonzie was eventually placed on Laverne and Shirley in the Army, an animated version of Laverne & Shirley.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Happy Days Wiki.
  • Working Title: Cool.

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