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…

Episode Five – Hardware Jungle

Howard develops a sore throat. It is later diagnosed as tonsillitis. He must go to the hospital for an operation. He asks Richie to work at the family hardware store in his place on the Saturday night. Richie had plans to go to a rock’n roll concert with Arlene but he cancels them so he can do the shift.
(Episode Five – Hardware Jungle)

Richie must ask the Fonz, whom he bought the tickets from, for his money back. However Howard tells Richie he can close the store early, meaning he can still go to the concert. After receiving his money back from Fonzie, he approaches him again to re-buy the same tickets.

Richie completes his shift at the hardware store alongside his friend Potsie. When it is time to leave, Richie accidentally locks himself in. In an attempt to retrieve the keys which are on the outside of the door Richie puts his foot through a plate glass window.

Richie gives his concert tickets to Potsie and tells him to go on without him.. Richie stays behind to wait for the glass repairer. Visiting his father in hospital the next day, Howard tells Richie he is proud of him for the responsibility he showed.

In HAPPY DAYS, Howard Cunningham, or ‘Mr C’ as he later became known, owned his own hardware store named CUNNINGHAM HARDWARE. An internet search reveals a hardware store in Pennsylvania, U.S that goes by that same name today.

To see Henry Winkler (Fonzie) display his current acting smarts, check out the recently released third season of the HBO American dark comedy crime drama television series BARRY. In it Winkler plays an acting coach whose students include a hired hitman. BARRY is available in Australia on BINGE FOXTEL NOW APPLE TVAMAZON PRIME HULU – and ITUNES.

Episode Four – Guess Who’s Coming to Visit

Local hood Skizzy challenges Ralph Malph to a drag race. They both agree it will take place at the old airport road at 9pm that night. Potsie decides to stay over at Richie‘s house that night. Later Ralph appears outside Richie’s bedroom window. He tells Richie the race has been rescheduled for midnight.
(Episode Four – Guess Who’s Coming to Visit)

At 11:30pm Richie and Potsie sneak out of the house to attend the drag race. Richie is appointed the race starter. He is just about to wave down the signal flag to commence the race when Howard and the police both turn up at the same time.

Everyone attending the race, including Howard, are forced to attend the local police station. There they are warned by the local sergeant about the illegality of drag racing.

When they arrive back home, Howard grounds Richie ‘for life’. Marion later forces Howard to downground the punishment to two weeks.

This was the episode being filmed when musician John Lennon and his son Julian visited the HAPPY DAYS set. The visit resulted in the now widely-circulated photo below taken with the cast of the show.

Episode Three – Richie’s Cup Runneth Over

Potsie invites Richie to his cousin Arnold’s stag party at the Crystal Hotel. In preparation for the night, the pair drink many cartons of milk to line their stomachs for the alcohol they plan to drink. Fonzie tells them olive oil will do the job better.
(Episode Three – Richie’s Cup Runneth Over)

At the party Potsie and Richie are presented with cigars on arrival. They’re then shown some nude playing cards. Next they join a drinking game called ‘Sloppy 60’s. The aim is to down one shot of brew every 60 seconds – ‘first one out is a draft dodger’.

The entertainment for the night is a girl called Verna La Vern, who pops out of a cake. Verna gives Richie a lift home. Howard is waiting and begins making cups of coffee for a clearly intoxicated Richie. Howard delivers his ‘drinking doesn’t make you a man’ speech.

Howard : You didn’t have too much to drink, now, did you?

Richie:  Oh, that’s silly. All we had was some beer in teeny-weeny glasses.

Howard: How many teeny-weeny glasses did you have?

Richie:  72…

Howard: I think it’s time for some teeny-weeny cups of coffee.

Episode Two -The Lemon

Richie pulls up in the carpark of Arnold’s driving his family car. A series of comments directed his way make him aware the vehicle he is behind the wheel of is considered ‘uncool’. When Ralph Malph arrives a few moments later in a flash red convertible, and drives away soon after with Betty and Trudy, Richie gets the message that a new set of wheels is something he must have.
(Episode Two -The Lemon)

Potsie and Richie pool their funds together – $175 in total – to buy a second hand car. Word quickly spreads that the pair now have their own car. Betty and Trudy call the Cunningham house and leave a message asking Richie to meet them at Arnolds.

Saturday night at 7:30pm…

Richie and Potsie arrive at Arnolds in their new car and receive a lot of compliments. However it is not long before mechanical problems strike. The boys ask Fonzie to fix the car. He does but for payment asks to keep the car’s shiny silver hood ornament (‘the best part of the car’).

Potsie and Richie go on a date with Betty and Trudy – “up at the lake to watch the submarine races” – in the newly fixed car. A series of things again go wrong ending with the car rolling into the lake with the girls in it after Richie leaves the handbrake off.

Howard turns up to take everyone home and delivers some wise words to Richie along the way. Richie and Potsie end up selling the sodden car to Fonzie for $25 for scrap metal.

Wouldn’t say I’m the sort of person who takes a great interest in car makes and models, but for those who do, the 2nd-hand car Richie and Potsie buy with their $175 is a 1950 Chevrolet Styleline De Luxe Convertible.