Episode 15 – Knock Around The Block

Ralph, Richie and Potsie are relaxing at Arnolds when they are confronted by tough-talking members of THE DUKES. Their leader, Frankie Molinar, thanks Richie for helping his kid sister who he says was getting picked on one day after school. Frankie promises to owe Richie a favour.

The next day THE DUKES steal Potsie’s bicycle. Richie, remembering Frankie’s gratitude for his good deed, goes down to the pool hall to ask for it back. He is unsuccessful and returns to ask for Fonzie’s assistance. However Fonzie says he will not go to war over a mere bicycle.

Potsie volunteers that he is friends with the football team and says they would make formidable opponents to intimidate THE DUKES. He promises to be at the poolhall at 7pm with the entire team.

Potsie, Ralph and Richie arrive at the pool hall shortly before 7pm. The only person who turns up to support them from the football team however is the duck-costume-wearing mascot. THE DUKES arrive and are about to launch into demolition mode when Fonzie and a group of tough looking mates arrive.

Richie, Ralph and Potsie go to thank Fonzie but he says his friends didn’t come to rumble. He says he told them he knew some guys who wanted to shout them to free drinks and pool. Potsie is elected as the one who will pay them.

The actor who played the pool hall attendant was Herbie Faye (1899 – 1980). Among a great many television and film credits, he appeared in three of my all-time favorite Jerry Lewis movies –

Episode 14 -The Best Man

Howard invites an old army buddy, Fred Washington, over for dinner. His friend is in town to get married. Fred asks Howard to be his ‘Best Man‘ but warns him that he and Marion may be the only white couple at the wedding. Howard gratefully accepts.

A neighbor of the Cunninghams, Mrs Finley, asks to use their phone. When she sees Fred in the living room however she makes an excuse to leave quickly, not bothering to make the call.

Later, Howard tells Marion he gets the feeling she doesn’t want them to go to Fred’s wedding. He accuses Marion of being prejudiced. Marion takes exception but admits at some unconscious level, and against her better judgement, that may be true. Marion admits she’s never met a ‘Negro’ before.

The next day Howard accompanies his friend to Fred’s father-in-law’s office to discuss plans for the wedding. The Father-in-law, Mr Davis, tells Fred that Howard can’t be his best man because he’s the wrong colour.

Fred explodes, telling Mr Davis his services will no longer be required and that he himself will be taking over the wedding planning. He soon discovers however all the alternative hosting venues are either ‘out of his price-range or out of his race-range’.

Marion then offers the Cunningham house as the wedding venue. Howard wonders ‘whether the neighborhood is ready for this’ but plans begin in earnest. It soon becomes clear the wedding has become the talk of the town and not all of it is positive.

Joanie comes home from school and says Sarah Johnson’s mother won’t let her play with her any more. Marion confesses Mrs O’Good from the Church told her “under the circumstance it was best if she handed in her bingo card.”

Despite the backlash, the wedding goes ahead and is a joyous occasion. Citing the racial prejudice, Richie tells his father, “I wouldn’t mind if Fred moved in next to me”. Howard replies, “Richie, by the time you get married, maybe he can.”

The actor who played Howard’s army buddy Fred was Robert DoQui (1934 – 2008). Among many film and television credits, he played the role of Sgt. Warren Reed in ROBOCOP (1987) – ROBOCOP 2 (1990) – and ROBOCOP 3 (1993).

Episode 13 – Great Expectations

Richie befriends a beatnik girl named Deidra he meets in a movie theatre. She says she was leaving town after breaking up with her boyfriend but her car broke down. Richie asks Fonzie to fix Deidra’s car. Fonzie says the car will need to be in the workshop for several days.

Richie invites Deidra to his house for dinner. She arrives sprouting hippie sayings – “I’d like to wash the world’s impurity and insincerity from my hands” (translation: Can I use the bathroom?) and professes its against her principles to eat murdered animals.

Howard is not a fan. “I don’t want any of that beatnik stuff during dinner” he confides to Marion. After dinner, Richie shows Deidra some poetry he has written. Unexpectedly she faints. Later it is revealed she is pregnant.

Listen at the 2 minute – 13 second mark when Ralph says “I read ON THE ROAD“.

Richie goes looking for Deidra’s boyfriend at a Beatnik joint called THE PURPLE EGO to tell him the news. He locates ‘Lawrence’ and then brings him back to the Cunningham house to reunite with Deidra. This sparks an argument with Howard who tells Richie, When are you going to learn you can’t bring home every stray you meet.”

Deidra and Lawrence try to convince Richie to come with them and go “on the road” in search of adventure and self-discovery. Richie says he’ll think it over. The next morning, still reeling from the clash with his Father, Richie leaves a note saying he is leaving to “find himself”.

He arrives at Fonzie’s garage the next morning with a packed suitcase. There are assorted other beatniks gathered around helping to pack a yellow bus. Lawrence and Deidra however inform Richie the trip is off because they are getting married.

In this episode, Ralph mentions that he has read ON THE ROAD. This was a 1957 novel by American writer JACK KEROUAC (1922 – 1969) based on his travels across the United States. It is considered a defining work of the post-WW2 Beat generation.

The novel was chosen by TIME MAGAZINE as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. THE NEW YORK TIMES hailed the book’s appearance as “the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as ‘beat,’ and whose principal avatar he is.”

The book was made into a movie 10 years ago, starring Amy Adams, Kristen Stewart, Kristen Dunst, and one of my favorite actors, Viggo Mortensen.

Episode 12 – In the Name of Love

Prom Queen Cindy Shellenberger asks Richie would she be his tutor. They agree Cindy will come over that night to Richie’s house so they can study together. Potsie invites himself over just to catch another glimpse of Cindy, but is quickly sent packing.

While in Richie’s room, Cindy asks Richie, “Do you want to kiss me?” Richie can’t believe his luck. After the kiss, and without skipping a beat, Cindy then presses Richie to explain the difference between a simile and a metaphor.

Richie then approaches Fonzie for dating advice. Fonzie says to take Cindy to the HALF MOON DRIVE-IN and park in row L alongside the 7th stall from the left. Richie questions whether that will be romantic enough. Fonzie replies, “The car speaker there is busted. There’s nothing to do BUT be romantic – unless of course you can lip read”.

At the drive-in, Richie asks Cindy would she like to go steady. She says she never goes steady unless she hears THE PLATTERS singing MY PRAYER. Explaining further, Cindy tells Richie some girls know when they’re in love when they hear bells, but for her it’s that song.

Ok, so this isn’t MY PRAYER. What it is, is THE PLATTERS (formed in 1952 and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990) most successful #1 hit THE GREAT PRETENDER.

Richie then asks, “Why did you let me let me kiss you if you didn’t want to go steady?” Cindy explains that whenever she studies with boys, all they ever think about is how to kiss her. “So I give them one kiss and then we can concentrate on the books. It’s sort of a study system”.

The next morning Richie shares at the breakfast table his troubles winning the heart of Cindy. Marion tells the story of back when Howard was trying to woo her by using red paint to paint the words I LOVE YOU in symbols on the sidewalk outside her house.

Richie decides to do the same, writing in chalk on a sidewalk he knows Cindy passes on her way home from school every day. However when Cindy sees the engraving she fails to understand the symbols and Richie’s message falls flat.

No, "ewe." I love "ewe."

Later, Richie observes Cindy looking at a tattoo on the arm of a worker at Arnolds. Richie decides this is a way he can impress Cindy and heads to the tattoo parlor. Howard gets wind of Richie’s plan and heads down to the parlor to stop Richie.

Determined not to give up, Richie gets Fonzie to stencil a non-permanent image of a fish on his arm. When he shows Cindy however, she says she’s not crazy about tattoos but was just fascinated with the busboy’s one at Arnold’s “because he could make his wiggle”.

Richie uses a napkin to rub off his fish stencil-tattoo in front of Cindy. Finally accepting they will only ever be friends, Richie hands the napkin to Cindy, saying “I’d like you to have a memento of our relationship.”

For those who are interested in this sort of thing, apparently this scene, where Fonzie is shown reading a magazine while sitting in a booth at Arnolds, represents a goof.

The edition of HOT ROD MAGAZINE (published since 1948) read by Fonzie was from the same year the episode was filmed, 1974, yet HAPPY DAYS was set in the 1950’s.

Episode 11 – Because She’s There

Potsie’s date for Ralph’s costume party has a cousin named Phyllis. She is from out of town and so has no one to attend the party with. Potsie approaches Richie and asks would he be her date for the party. Richie asks to see a picture of Phyllis first. Richie remarks, “She seems pretty enough”, and the plan is set to go ahead.

When Richie meets Phyllis, dressed as the statue of liberty for the costume party, he is immediately struck by how tall she is. Ralph jokes, “She seems nice enough but somehow I get the feeling you don’t see eye to eye.”

Howard, who is playing cards with Ralph’s parents upstairs while the costume gathering is being held in the basement, pops into the party. Richie introduces her to Phyllis and confesses it feels strange looking up at his date all night.

HOWARD: “Richard, there never was a law that said a man had to be taller than a woman. If there was I wouldn’t be married to your mother.”

RICHIE: “But somehow it just seems more natural for the guy to be taller than the girl.”

HOWARD: “Size doesn’t mean anything. people are as big as they feel on the inside, believe me. Do I seem short to you?

RICHIE: (after thinking for a moment) Yeah Dad, you do.

After the party Richie and Ralph head in their cars to the lake with their dates so they can ‘run out of gas’. Richie has something a little more platonic in mind and takes Phyliss on a ‘historical tour’ (with commentary) of the local neighborhood. During the sightseeing, Richie’s car legitimately runs out of gas.

After a series of misadventures that ends when they are rescued by Fonzie who donates some petrol from his motorcycle, Richie and Phyliss end up on the doorstep at Phyliss’s house saying good night to each other.

They agree that after everything that happened it turned out to be a nice date afterall. They exchange a tender kiss and agree to see each other again next time Phyliss comes to town.

The actress that played Richie’s taller date was Diana Canova. This episode of HAPPY DAYS was her television acting debut. In reality, both she and Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham) were the same height at 5’9″ (178 cm). In 1980 she landed her own tv series I’M A BIG GIRL NOW starring alongside Danny Thomas and a young Martin Short.

Since 2015, Canova has been an adjunct professor of voice at Manhattanville College in New York.


Episode 10 – Give the Band a Hand

Richie and Potsie see Ralph working part-time at Arnolds. They start thinking of ways they could earn extra money as well. Soon they come up with the idea of getting their ‘ol band back together.

After a couple of practice sessions they land their first gig playing at a ‘Frat’ party. After it’s finished Richie goes to get paid the $45 they are owed. The party organizers tell Richie they have most of the money but are ‘a little short’. They invite Richie to join their poker game to make up the difference.

Richie eventually arrives back home and tells Howard he lost all the band’s money playing poker with the party hosts. He says he won every hand until the last one of the night and just before that final hand a card was ripped so the hosts brought out a brand new pack.

Howard goes down to the Frat house accompanied by Richie. He agrees to play poker himself with the frat boys, after passing himself off as a card novice and making them believe he ‘taught Richie everything he knows’. Howard comes out on top in the poker game and wins back all of Richie’s band money.

This episode marked the final appearance of actor Gavan O’Herhily playing the role of Richie’s older brother Chuck. Fourteen years later, O’Herhily would go on to star in the movie WILLOW, directed by Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham).

Episode 9 – Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Richie breaks up with Arlene after a two week romance. He asks Fonzie for advice how he can get back together again. Fonzie recalls the movie A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and advises him to act like Brando in the famous “Steeeeeella!” scene. This does not work for Richie, needless to say.
(Episode 9 – Breaking Up is Hard to Do)

Richie asks Darlene if she is going to Jefferson High’s Teen Angel Prom. When she says yes, Richie offers her a lift. She accepts and they arrive together. Howard and Marion also attend as supervising chaperones. Howard spends most of his time removing couples from the broom closet, which is marked on a map of ‘make-out’ locations (2 mins 44 secs in the clip below).

Richie observes Arlene dancing with other boys. He naturally gets jealous. Eventually the two reunite as a couple. During the cleanup after the prom is over, Howard is left wondering how the punchbowl got ‘spiked’ (with alcohol) when he was guarding it most of the night.

In the scene when Fonzie and his date enter the prom, she tells Fonzie she’s going to speak to her friend Doris. Fonzie then says “I’ll tell you when you can go.” He pauses for a brief moment and adds “You can go.”

This is the exact same dialogue Sylvester Stallone’s character speaks to his on-screen girlfriend in the 1974 film THE LORDS OF FLATBUSH. This movie also starred Henry Winkler, who has been quoted as saying he based his performance of Fonzie on Stallone’s character in this film.

Episode 8 – The Skin Game

Richie and Potsie plan to go to a strip club. They get the idea after listening to Ralph Malph tell of his experience watching Bubbles McCall ‘take it all off’ down at Eddy’s Pink Palace.
(Episode 8 – The Skin Game)

To get into the club, Richie and Potsie need fake ID cards. They ask Fonzie for help. He organizes a visit to Richie’s house the next night, accompanied by his friend ‘Pockets’ who is a skilled forger.

The next night at Eddy’s Pink Palace, Richie and Potsie gain entry using the fake ID cards. They seat themselves at a table and wait for the main act to start. While waiting, Richie overhears a loud sneeze from the audience. The sneeze sounds familiar. He turns around and realizes his father is there as well.

Bubbles McCall performs her routine. Contrary to what Ralph had led them to believe, she definitely does not ‘take it all off’. When Richie notices Howard has gone to the bathroom, he and Potsie make a quick exit. Outside the club, Richie wonders what his father was doing at a strip-club.

When Richie arrives home Howard is inhaling hot steam under a towel to soothe his flu. Richie says goodnight, but as he goes to walk up the stairs, Howard says, “You forgot your souvenir”. He hands Richie a silk stocking that was draped over him as part of Bubbles’ act.

Richie asks what his father what he was doing at a strip-club. Howard explains that every time a client of the hardware store comes to town he drags him along to the same place. “The better the stripper the more nails I sell him.”

The next day in the carpark of Arnolds someone approaches Richie and Potsie and asks, “I heard you two went to see Bubbles McCall. What’s it like?” Potsie replies enigmatically, “You gotta see it to believe it.”

The actor who played master forger ‘Pockets’ was Frank Sivero. Among a great many film roles, he played gangster characters in the films THE GODFATHER (1972) – THE GODFATHER Part 2 (1974) – and GOODFELLAS (1990).

In 2014, Sivero brought a $250 million lawsuit against Fox Television Studios. The lawsuit claimed that a mafia-type character named Louie that had begun appearing in THE SIMPSONS in 1991 was a direct copy of the appearance and mannerisms of Sivero. The actor had been living next door to writers from THE SIMPSONS at that time.

Sivero alleged that his likeness was being infringed in violation of California’s publicity rights law. The case was dismissed in August 2015, with the judge asserting that the character Louie was a parody of several Mob characters.

Episode 7 – Fonzie Drops In

Fonzie expresses a wish to finish his high school education. After a meeting with Principal Faraday in which he enlists Richie‘s help to do his speaking for him, it is agreed he can start back the next day.
(Episode 7 – Fonzie Drops In)

Fonzie’s first class begins with him entering late and then proceeding to rearrange the seating plan so he can sit next to the prettiest girl. He later asks Richie to do his homework for him.

For an upcoming history exam, Fonzie approaches Richie for help. Richie invites Fonzie to dinner at his house and says he will tutor Fonzie for the test that same night. Joanie warns Howard and Marion prior to arrival that “Fonzie is a hood”. Richie corrects her, saying “No, he’s just… worldly.”

After dinner, Fonzie and Richie discuss the history test. Fonzie informs Richie he will actually tutor him… in the art of cheating. Richie protests but Fonzie is insistent. Richie is made to practice a series of coughing ‘signals’ in preparation for the true/false test.

During the exam the next day, Fonzie prompts Richie to commence signaling to him the answers via the coughing routine they have rehearsed – one cough for false / two coughs for true. But Richie whispers to Fonzie he has changed his mind and cannot go through with the deception.

Later that day, Richie is fearful about the possible repercussions he may suffer at the hands of Fonzie for reneging on their ‘deal’. Fonzie lets Richie know he is ok with everything and that he passed the test (“by one point”) anyway.

Fonzie then tells Richie he has informed the Principal he will not be continuing his education. Richie is incredulous, pointing out to Fonzie he has proved he can do it. Fonzie replies he knows now High School is not for him. As the “Mickey Mantel of the grease pits” he says he realizes he is more suited to being an A Grade motor mechanic.

Actor Stuart Nesbit (1934 – 2016) played the part of Principal Faraday. Among numerous film and tv roles, he appeared in the following movies –

Episode 6 – The Deadly Dares

Potsie and Richie believe that wearing a ‘Demons’ jacket is ‘date bait’. They persuade Fonzie, who used to be a Demon, to help them join the group. They somehow pass their panel interview at Demon headquarters and are deemed ready to progress to the next stage.
(Episode 6 – The Deadly Dares)

Richie and Potsie are challenged to complete six ‘deadly dares’. These involve such things as making a prank phone call, kissing Marsha the waitress at Arnold’s, pulling the wig off a teacher’s head, standing up and singing the national anthem inside a packed movie theatre and tieing a policeman’s shoelaces together so he topples over.

It is the final dare that proves the most challenging. The pair must dress up as girls and attend the Sock Hop. Their mission is to stay until someone dances with them. The Fonz attends the night and chooses Richie dressed as a girl to dance with, not knowing it is Richie.

While slow dancing together, the Fonz begins blowing in his ‘date’s’ ear. Eventually Richie whispers to Fonzie that it is him. Fonzie pretends to have known all along and says he was just helping Richie out.

After passing all the dares, Richie and Potsie conclude they don’t really like any of the other Demon members. They decide not to join the group afterall. The friends say they now realize – as Howard had advised Richie earlier – any girl impressed with a guy because he wears a Demons jacket isn’t really worth impressing.

A young Ed Begly Jr played the role of head Demon, Hank. Begly’s first credited screen role was in the 1969 Kurt Russell movie THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES. In 1972 the actor almost died after being stabbed multiple times during an attack by a street gang. To date he has appeared in 111 films including…