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Happy Days

Happy Days was a popular American television sitcom that aired between 1974 and 1984. It showed an idealized window on life in 1950s America. It revolved around the lives of its principal characters: high school student Richie Cunningham (played by Ron Howard) and his parents (Tom Bosley[?] and Marion Ross[?]), Arthur "Fonzie" / "the Fonze" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler[?]), Ralph Malph (Don Most[?]), Potsi Webber (Anson Williams[?]), Al the diner cook (Al Molinaro[?]), and as time went by, various other relations and their girlfriends, including, most notably, a recurring role for Suzi Quatro as Leather Tuscadero. The show eventually spawned a short-lived spin-off show about Richie's younger sister Joanie and Fonzie's younger cousin Chachi, called (predictably enough) "Joanie loves Chachi". Robin Williams made his first appearance as "Mork" on Happy Days.

The show underwent several changes over the years. There was originally an older Cunningham brother, who went away to college and disappeared from the show. Fonzie, perhaps best described as a hood with a heart of gold, was originally a minor character, but the show focused increasingly on him over time.

Happy Days was entertaining for not being totally comedic. Like all great art, it often revealed important truths about timeless human conditions such as friendship, courage, sacrifice, love, loyalty, etc. Its characters not only dreamed of growth but succeeded despite their unique and interesting limitations. They also knew failure and loss. Many viewers found the characters easy to relate to. For people who found Shakespeare daunting, Happy Days provided many of the same lessons in an easier-to-digest form.

The show originated during a period of 1950s nostalgia in film, television, and music. Happy Days owed much to George Lucas's 1973 film American Graffiti which also starred Ron Howard, in a very similar role. The spinoff show Laverne and Shirley also took place in the same time period.

Howard, who had starred as a child actor in The Andy Griffith Show, went on to direct several critically acclaimed films, including Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. Tom Bosley (Richie's father) continued acting and appeared in other sitcoms.


Happy Days is also the name of a play by Samuel Beckett. See Happy Days (play)[?].



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