Episode 3 (S2) – Who’s Sorry Now?

Richie’s old girlfriend from three years ago – Arlene Nestrock – returns from New York. Richie recalls the only reason she agreed to go out with him back then was he had a television set.

Three years on and now Arlene is after something else from Richie – his ring. In 1950’s language that means ‘going steady’. However Richie believes ‘going steady‘ is ‘like being married but without all the fringe benefits’.

Richie can’t bring himself to break up with Arlene. He consults Fonzie for advice, mentioning he will be attending dinner the next night at Arlene’s house to meet her parents. Richie is advised to put on his best Fonzie impersonation.

At the dinner, Richie wears a leather jacket, slouches like a pro and talks about his dreams of owning a motorbike and taking Arlene cross-country. He sprinkles his speech with plenty of ‘Aaay’s‘ and masters the detached ‘vacant stare’.

Richie thinks the plan has worked when Arlene tells him the next day her father has instructed her never to have anything to do with him again. Things backfire however when Arlene’s attachment to Richie grows even stronger, Romeo and Juliet style.

Richie chooses a movie theatre to announce to Arlene he wants to break up. Arlene takes it hard, retreating to the women’s bathroom, where Richie follows her. Inside, she calls Richie “an insincere creep, like all boys” and returns his ring.

Richie returns home and confesses to Howard and Marion he thinks he has really hurt this girl. Howard consoles Richie, saying “Every break-up seems like the end of the world but you always manage to get over it.”

Things conclude with Marion saying “I remember going with a fella once. For months, I tried to break up with him. He pleaded with me. He said he couldn’t live without me. No matter what I did, I couldn’t shake him”.

Riche: “What finally happened?”

Marion: “I married him. You learn to love a person who hangs in there.”

This episode took it’s name from a 1958 hit song sung by Connie Francis (now aged 84).

Connie Francis is widely recognized as the “First Lady of Rock & Roll,”. She is estimated to have sold more than 100 million records. She was also the first woman in history to reach No. 1 on the BILLBOARD HOT 100 chart.

The song features in last year’s 101 DALMATIONS off-shoot film, CRUELLA.

Episode 2 (S2) – Richie’s Car

Richie finds it difficult saying goodnight to his date Gloria while his father waits in the car to drive him home. Richie pitches the advantages of owning a 2nd family car to Howard. Howard agrees and throws in $200 towards the purchase. He reminds Richie however it won’t be his but the family’s car.

Fonzie offers to sell Richie a car named LOVE BANDIT he won in a drag race. Richie says he doesn’t think it is what his father had in mind for a 2nd car, adding his Dad’s idea of cool is leaving the top button on his sports shirt open.

Fonzie shows Richie’s father the car but Howard is unimpressed. “This is not a car a grown man drives. It’s more like something a little kid peddles.” However after agreeing to paint the car a nice shade of ‘family blue’ and removing the hot-rod shiny extras, the sale goes ahead.

Richie soon learns the car is stolen. Fonzie paints over the number plate and the plan is for Richie to drive the car directly home from Fonzie’s garage, and leave it there until Fonzie can get in contact with the person he got the car from.

On the way home however he bumps into Gloria, who asks him for a lift. Richie drives them both straight to his garage, where he parks the car and then offers to walk Gloria home the rest of the way. Gloria thinks Richie is acting very strangely.

The next morning Richie wakes to the sound of the 2nd family car being driven out the driveway by Howard and the rest of the family, all packed for a vacation. Richie runs out to stop them, and eventually the truth about the car being stolen comes out.

Fonzie then brings Rocky Baruffy, the person he won the original LOVE BANDIT from in a drag race, with him down to the police station. Together they explain the idea of the car being stolen is actually just a large misunderstanding.

The actor who played the detective down at the local police station was Karl Swenson (1908 – 1978). Among a great many film and television roles, he appeared in these four movies –

Episode 1 (S2) – Richie Moves Out

Richie has a home nighttime study date with Gloria. They are alone sitting on the living room couch together and just about to kiss when suddenly Marion appears. She announces she “heard noises and so had to come down to check”.

Richie and Gloria attempt to regather their tender moment when next Howard pops down from the upstairs bedroom to search for his reading glasses. Becoming frustrated at the series of ‘interruptions’, Richie finally gives up on the idea of romance happening that night at his home.

Next morning at the breakfast table, Richie complains to older brother Chuck, who has popped in for a visit, that he has no life of his own: “I eat when the family eats – not when I want to. I watch their tv shows – not the ones I like. I can’t even listen to Fats Domino after 10 ‘o clock.”

Chuck suggests Richie move in with him, as his old roommate just moved out. Marion is worried but Howard reassures her, “It’ll be fine Marion. You know, there’s an old saying that when a baby bird leaves its nest with just its pin feathers on, it always comes flying home before it molts”.

Richie moves in to his older brother’s apartment but is immediately struck by the clutter. “Is this the garage or the apartment?” he quips. Chuck responds with an offer. He asks Richie if he will clean-up the place a little each week in return for a cut to his share of the rent. Richie agrees.

To earn money to pay his own rent, Richie begins waiting on tables at Arnolds. The next night he arrives home, bone tired after his shift, only to fall asleep to the sound of his older brother bouncing a basketball – “59 with each hand” – in the living room.

Word spreads quickly that Richie now has his own ‘pad’. Potsie, Ralph and Fonzie all make approaches to Richie about using his apartment as a place to take their dates. Later they all have keys made to the apartment.

Richie brings Gloria back to the apartment however the mood is broken with a series of interruptions. First Potsie and his date arrive, expecting they will be alone. Next Ralph and his date turn up, followed soon by Fonzie with his. The final straw is when Chuck and the entire basketball team roll in as well.

Richie becomes enraged and orders everyone, including Fonzie, his own brother and the basketball team to leave. Gloria is impressed with Richie’s conviction and ‘take charge’ self-belief. “Oh wow Richie! That was really something else. I mean, that was better than Spencer Tracey in ‘BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK. I was ready to leave too!”

Four years ago, this movie was preserved in the United States NATIONAL FILM REISTRY  by for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”.

Soon after, as predicted by his father, Richie moves back home. “It was really lousy having my own apartment this time,” he observes. “The place was always a mess. There was never any food in the house. I had to work all the time just to pay the rent. All I got out of that place (referring to having to sleep on the couch) was a bad back”.

Howard has the final word – “Someday you’ll have a place of your own and it’ll be different. You’ll probably be married by then. But until that time, I think it’s a good idea you let me have the key to Chuck’s apartment”.

In this episode, Richie cites one of the reasons he wants to move out of home as being the fact he can’t listen to Fats Domino after 10pm. American pianist and singer-songwriter Fats Domino (1928 – 2017), real name Antoine Domino Jr. sold over 65 million albums in his career.

His 1956 hit BLUEBERRY HILL was a song Richie would often sing to himself when he was feeling happy, in particular on dates.

Episode 16 – Be the First on your Block

Howard calls a family meeting to announce they will be installing a bomb shelter in the backyard. He reasons that at the height of the ‘Cold War’ tensions could boil over any time. The rest of the family is not so sure.

Word spreads quickly amongst Richie’s friends of the bomb shelter. It is believed the site will make a great ‘make-out’ spot. A girl named Carol who has never shown interest in Richie suddenly wants to go out with him because he now has a bomb shelter.

“Just in case anyone needs a bracer when the bombs are falling”

Howard conducts his first practice drill in the backyard in the area roped off for the installation. Assorted people and their dates turns up, including Fonzie on his motorcycle. Howard orders them all to leave and go home. This causes friction with other members of the family.

The next day at Arnolds, everyone ignores Richie. Marion also suffers some backlash. Another meeting is called at home, in which contrary opinions are aired –

RICHIE: Dad, the way I figure it is if they drop the bomb, then I won’t have any friends. And if they DON’T drop the bomb, the way things are, I won’t have any friends. So what good is the bomb shelter?

MARION: That’s an interesting question Howard. What’s your answer?

HOWARD: I’ll tell you what good it is… If you sit in it you have peace of mind.

RICHIE: While all your friends are pounding at the door?

HOWARD: Oh look, the discussion is over. We’re gonna take a vote.

The family vote against having the shelter being installed but, ashead of the house, Howard overrides the decision. Slowly, however, he begins to question whether all the negative reaction is worth it, eventually siding with the rest of the family in choosing not to install a bomb shelter in their backyard.

HOWARD: Richard, what do you think about a man who got so carried away by his own fears he forgot about people?

RICHIE: I’d say he’s human.

The actress who played the girl who would only go out with Richie because she thought he had a bomb shelter was Christina Hart (born 1949). She would go on to become a successful playwright, and direct over 50 plays. Amongst many film and television appearances, she played a member of the Manson gang in the 1976 movie HELTER SKELTER.

And finally, from the people who brought you this…

Comes this…

A foxhole kit for just $13:50? Are you kidding me? That spells BARGAIN in any language – Nuclear Survival Dialect most especially. Just wish the guy narrating this video could have somehow found a way to ratchet up his reading speed from extra, extra slow to, well… even just ‘slow’ would have been an improvement. Don’t ya think?

ROLLING STONE Magazine have come up with a list they consider to be the 100 Greatest Television Series of all time.(HERE) These types of lists are always good for a giggle and a quibble.

HAPPY DAYS came in at #65. Naturally, I believed a much-loved show that ran for 11 seasons warranted a higher position. TOP TEN springs to mind. TOP FIVE would have been deserving. But not my list, right?

I was mentally coercing myself into a state of something resembling partial, ok… VERY partial acceptance of that lowly placing (amidst dealing with the hurt of HR PUFNSTUF being left out altogether!) – believing I should probably be thankful the hipster millennials compiling the list thought to include it at all – when further scrolling revealed THE MUPPETT SHOW rated a full 11 places higher, coming in at #54.

That was zero hour for me. Time to shut the gate. Sorry ROLLING STONEwho I used to so love when I was 15 – but after seeing that and consequently never being able to UNSEE that – the jig with your list was most definitely up for me. But no hard feelings.

Are you ready for a little SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK in your life? If the answer’s ‘Yes’ (or even a firm ‘maybe’) go ahead and click HERE to enter. No need to knock.

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).