‘Happy Days’: Ron Howard Gave the Show’s Producers an Ultimatum Because of His Co-Star Henry Winkler

The crew of 'Happy Days', 1975
The team of ‘Happy Days’, 1975 Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Walt Disney Photo Archives / Television via Getty Images

In Happy days’ the first season, the ABC comedy was already a huge success.

The exhibition about a nuclear family in the 1950s was popular with viewers. He had a familiar face on one of his stars: Ron Howard who was famous for his portrayal of Opie Taylor Andy Griffith Exhibition.

However, Howard appeared to the American Television Archive his disappointment with the show’s executives over putting co-star Henry Winkler on foot in a very obvious way.

So much so, that the future filmmaker would have to put his foot on the pedal.

Promotion Fonzie ‘Happy Days’

Everything seemed to be going well for the actor and the rest of the team Happy days, until Henry Winkler, played by Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, became a larger-than-life character on the show.

The series from the beginning was written around teenager Richie Cunningham played by Ron Howard and his high school friends. But viewers didn’t get enough of Fonzie’s raised toes, his leather jacket, and his trademark “Hey! ”

Howard admitted that when the team went on an advertising tour, it was “something like we were a boy band and Henry was the lead singer.”

Eventually the Howard representatives sat down to tell him that they were moving Henry Winkler more to the center of the show.

‘Happy Days’ producers spoke to Howard about big change

“During the season, I was contacted [the show’s executive producers], who basically said it was Fred Silverman [President of ABC Entertainment] to change the display name to Happy Fonzie days. ”

Howard, in the same breath, said they were offering him a boost as well as events to direct him, apparently to reduce the blow to him that the show was going to be about Winkler’s character.

“I thought about it and went in and had a meeting with him [the producers], ”He said. “I went alone, without reps or anything. And I said, ‘I signed in to be in the middle of a so-called concert Happy days. ‘”

Howard went on to say that he was “honoring what had happened,” but that he would rather “go back to film school” than take part in the Fonzified Happy days.

It was a line in the sand. The future filmmaker made his point clear: “This was not a compromise; I just didn’t want to do it, “he said, stating that he understood if that was the direction they wanted to go.”

Representatives of the show went to Howard

The actor also made it home to the point that he liked and respected Henry Winkler but did not “think he could feel good about it.” The delegates decided that the title of the show would remain as if Howard was not on board with him. Fonzie’s character would gain even more focus, which was nice.

“I could accept that,” he said. “I just didn’t want him to be called Happy Fonzie days. And they didn’t change it.

“It was an amazing ensemble. Henry Winkler was like an older brother to me. And we were very successful. ”

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