Happy Days Wiki
"Happy Days" (TV series)
"Happy Days" logo and original cast.



Created by:

Garry Marshall


Henry Winkler
Ron Howard
(Seasons 1-7)
Marion Ross
Tom Bosley
Al Molinaro
Erin Moran
Anson Williams
Don Most
(Seasons 1-7)

Country / Launguage

USA / English




255 / 11 seasons

Exectuvie Producers:

Garry Marshall, Thomas L. Miller & Edward K. Milkis

Happy Days is an American television sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984 on ABC-TV, with a total of 255 half-hour episodes spanning over eleven seasons. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presented an idealized vision of life in the mid-1950s to mid-1960s Midwestern United States, and starred Ron Howard as teenager Richie Cunningham, Henry Winkler as his friend Fonzie, and Tom Bosley and Marion Ross as Richie's parents, Howard and Marion Cunningham. Happy Days became one of the biggest hits in television history and heavily influenced the television style of its time.

The series began as an unsold pilot starring Howard, Ross and Anson Williams, which aired in 1972 as a segment entitled "Love and the Television Set" (later retitled "Love and the Happy Days" for syndication) on ABC's anthology show Love, American Style. Based on the pilot, director George Lucas cast Howard as the lead in his 1973 hit film American Graffiti, causing ABC to take a renewed interest in the pilot. The first two seasons of Happy Days focused on the experiences and dilemmas of "innocent teenager" Richie Cunningham, his family, and his high school friends, attempting to "honestly depict a wistful look back at adolescence". Aspects of American Graffiti were reflected by the new series, from the drive-in diner being a major location, to the initial use of the song "Rock Around the Clock" for the opening credits (though for Happy Days, Bill Haley and His Comets recorded a new version).

Initially a moderate hit, the series' ratings began to fall during its second season, causing Marshall to retool it emphasizing broad comedy and spotlighting the previously minor character of Fonzie, a "cool" biker and high school dropout.[2] Following these changes, Happy Days became the number-one program in television in 1976–1977, Fonzie became one of the most merchandised characters of the 1970s, and Henry Winkler became a major star. The series also spawned a number of spin-offs, including the hit shows Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy.


Main article: List of "Happy Days" episodes
Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 16 January 15, 1974 May 7, 1974
2 23 September 10, 1974 May 6, 1975
3 24 September 9, 1975 March 2, 1976
4 25 September 21, 1976 March 29, 1977
5 27 September 13, 1977 May 30, 1978
6 27 September 5, 1978 May 15, 1979
7 25 September 11, 1979 May 6, 1980
8 22 November 11, 1980 May 26, 1981
9 22 October 6, 1981 March 23, 1982
10 22 September 28, 1982 March 22, 1983
11 22 September 27, 1983 September 24, 1984


Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Ron Howard Richie Cunningham Main N/A Guest
Anson Williams Potsie Weber Main
Marion Ross Marion Cunningham Main
Tom Bosley Howard Cunningham Main
Henry Winkler Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli Recurring Main
Don Most Ralph Malph Recurring Main N/A Guest
Erin Moran Joanie Cunningham Recurring Main Recurring Main
Al Molinaro Al Delvecchio N/A Recurring Main N/A Guest
Pat Morita Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi N/A Recurring N/A Recurring N/A
Scott Baio Charles "Chachi" Arcola N/A Recurring Main N/A Main
Lynda Goodfriend Lori Beth Allen-Cunningham N/A Recurring Main N/A Guest
Cathy Silvers Jenny Piccalo N/A Recurring Main Guest
Ted McGinley Roger Phillips N/A Recurring Main
Linda Purl Ashley Pfister N/A Main N/A

Cast changes[]

With season four, Al Molinaro was added as Al Delvecchio, the new owner of Arnold's, after Pat Morita's character of Arnold moved on after his character got married. (Morita had left the program to star in a short-lived sitcom of his own, Mr. T and Tina, which was actually a spin-off of Welcome Back, Kotter. Morita also starred in a subsequent short lived ABC-TV Happy Days spin-off series Blansky's Beauties.) Al Molinaro also played Al's twin brother Father Anthony Delvecchio, a Catholic priest. Al eventually married Chachi's mother (played by Ellen Travolta) and Father Delvecchio served in the wedding of Joanie to Chachi in the series finale.

The most major character changes occurred after season five with the addition of Scott Baio as Fonzie's cousin, Charles "Chachi" Arcola. Originally, the character Spike (mentioned as Fonzie's nephew in the episode "Not With My Sister You Don't," but also claimed to be his cousin, as was stated in one episode) was supposed to be the character who became Chachi. Season five also saw the introduction of more outlandish and bizarre plots including Fonzie making a bet with the Devil, and the appearance of Mork (Robin Williams), an alien who wanted to take Richie back to his homeworld. Although when first aired this ended with it all simply being a dream Richie was having, this episode was retconned in subsequent airings by way of additional footage to have actually taken place, with Mork having wiped everyone's memory except Richie's and then deciding to time travel to the present day (the setting of Mork & Mindy).

Lynda Goodfriend joined the cast as semi-regular character Lori Beth Allen, Richie's steady girlfriend, in season five, and became a permanent member of the cast between seasons eight and nine, after Lori Beth married Richie.

After Ron Howard (Richie) left the series, Ted McGinley joined the cast as Roger Phillips, the new physical education teacher at Jefferson High and nephew to Howard and Marion. He took over from the departed Richie Cunningham character, acting as counterpoint to Fonzie. Cathy Silvers also joined the cast as Jenny Piccalo, Joanie's best friend who was previously referenced in various episodes from earlier seasons and remained as a main cast member until the final season. Both actors were originally credited as guest stars but were promoted to the main cast during season ten after several series regulars left the show. The real focus of the series was now on the Joanie and Chachi characters, and often finding ways to incorporate Fonzie into them as a shoulder to cry on, advice-giver, and savior as needed. The Potsie character, who had already been spun off from the devious best friend of Richie to Ralph's best friend and confidante, held little grist for the writers in this new age, and was now most often used as the occasional "dumb" foil for punchlines (most often from Mr. C., whom he later worked for at Cunningham Hardware, or Fonzie).

Billy Warlock joined the cast in season 10 as Roger's brother Flip, along with Crystal Bernard as Howard's niece K.C. They were intended as replacements for Erin Moran and Scott Baio (who departed for their own show, Joanie Loves Chachi) and were credited as part of the semi-regular cast. Both characters left with the return of Moran and Baio, following the cancellation of Joanie Loves Chachi. Al Molinaro also left Happy Days in season 10 for Joanie Loves Chachi. Pat Morita then returned to the cast as Arnold in his absence.

In season 11, the story line of Richie and Lori Beth is given closure with the two-part episode "Welcome Home." Richie returns home from the Army, but barely has time to unpack when he learns that his parents have lined up a job interview at the Milwaukee Journal for him. However, they are taken aback when he tells them he prefers to take his chances in California to become a Hollywood screenwriter. They remind him of his responsibilities and while Richie gives in, he becomes angry and discontented, torn between his obligations to his family and fulfilling his dream. After a confrontation that ends with a conversation with Fonzie, he decides to face his family and declare his intentions. While somewhat reluctant at first, they support him and bid Richie, Lori Beth, and Little Richie an emotional farewell.



  • Richie Cunningham – The protagonist for the first seven years of the series (1974–80). When Ron Howard left the show due to his burgeoning directorial career, Richie was written out by leaving to join the United States Army. He marries his girlfriend, Lori Beth, in season eight by phone, while Fonzie stands-in for him in the wedding.[1] Howard returned for guest appearances as Richie during the show's final season (1983-84). He came back with Lori Beth and their son, Richie Jr., and Ralph in the season 11 two-part episode, "Welcome Home", and then left for California with Lori Beth and Richie Jr. to pursue a career in screenwriting. He also returned in "Passages", when he and his family attended Joanie and Chachi's wedding.[2]
  • Marion "Mrs. C" Cunningham – Wife of Howard Cunningham, mother of Richie and Joanie, and a traditional homemaker. She is the only character who is allowed to call Fonzie by his real first name, Arthur, which she does affectionately.[3]Template:Better source She sometimes gets tired of being at home, such as in "Marion Rebels" where she gets into an argument with Howard and briefly gets a job as a waitress at Arnold's.[4] In "Empty Nest" when Joanie left for Chicago to pursue her music career, Marion had "empty nest syndrome" and was thrilled when her and Howard's niece, K.C., moved in with them.[5] Marion was one of only four characters to remain with the show throughout its entire run.
  • Howard Cunningham – Husband of Marion Cunningham, father of Richie and Joanie, business owner of a hardware store called "Cunningham's Hardware", he is a lodge member, and family man. Frequently seen reading the daily newspaper in his easy chair.[6] Enjoys driving his beloved 1948 DeSoto Suburban. In "Letting Go", he did not want Joanie to go to Chicago, still seeing her as his "little girl". But after talking with Fonzie and realizing how much she has grown up, he supports her going.[7] In "Passages", Howard says that he is proud of Richie and Joanie in Joanie and Chachi's wedding. Howard is one of only two characters (the other being Fonzie) to appear in every episode of the series.
  • Joanie Cunningham – Richie's younger sister. In early seasons, she is sometimes snooping on Richie's activities and would occasionally be sent to her room by her parents. She is affectionately called "Shortcake" by Fonzie. Later on, Joanie briefly joins a motorcycle gang after going on a date with a boy, whom she considered to be "dull". In "Smokin' Ain't Cool", Joanie started smoking in order to be in a cool club, until Fonzie sets her straight. For years, Fonzie's cousin, Chachi, had been chasing her until she eventually agreed to a date with him. She and Chachi would eventually form a band together; and in "Letting Go", they leave for Chicago to pursue their music career (which spun off the short-lived series Joanie Loves Chachi). Joanie, however, eventually left the band to return home to pursue a teaching career.[8] She and Chachi then broke up for a time until Chachi proposes to her and they get married in the series finale.
  • Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli – Initially a minor character, he was a hugely popular breakout character and was made a series regular. Fonzarelli's "Fonzie" nickname and comeback phrase, "Sit on it," were created by the show's producer, Bob Brunner.[9][10][11] Known for being especially cool and for his catchphrases "(H)eyyyy!" and "Whoa!" His coolness gave him special powers, such as making machinery (such as Arnold's jukebox and other vending machines, electric lights, and car engines) function by pounding on them with his fist, or getting the attention of girls by snapping his fingers. His parents abandoned him as a child and his grandmother raised him from the age of four.
  • Warren "Potsie" Weber – Richie's best friend and an aspiring talented singer. He is somewhat more carefree and worldly than Richie in early seasons, then in mid-seasons, he becomes more often paired with Ralph for plots, and the two became inseparable. In later seasons, his character evolves to increasingly emphasize his dimwitted side, and Ralph would often say to him "You're such a Potsie". Potsie often lightheartedly mentioned the supposed hatred his father (who never appeared on the show) had for him. Potsie remained with the show after Richie and Ralph joined the Army; however, he was seen less frequently during the last 2 seasons (1982-84). While Potsie's character became underdeveloped in these later episodes (and he, along with Ralph, was one of the few characters absent from the finale), he is mentioned to regularly bowl with the Cunninghams and still continues his position as assistant manager of Cunningham Hardware, and as pledge master of the Leopard Lodge.
  • Ralph Malph – In the first season, Ralph was more of a side character to plots, but when Most became a main cast member in season two, Ralph was more commonly seen, and he, Richie, and Potsie (these two also later became roommates) became the three amigos. Known for saying "I still got it!" after delivering one of his jokes. Ralph left with Richie after the 1979–80 season to join the Army. Most returned as a guest star as Ralph Malph in the final season, although he is absent in the finale (along with Potsie) – he is mentioned as having left to continue college to become an optometrist like his father.
  • Charles "Chachi" Arcola – Fonzie's younger cousin and later Al Delvecchio's stepson. Chachi is very close to his older cousin Fonzie. Fonzie acts as the older brother figure that Chachi needs. Chachi has a similar personality to his older cousin. He has Fonzie's smoothness and charisma, but Chachi is more laidback. Chachi becomes "one of the guys" as he gets older, joining Richie, Potsie, Ralph, and Fonzie in their antics.

After Richie and Ralph leave the show, Chachi and Fonzie often have plots together. Chachi has a crush on Joanie Cunningham from the moment he meets her in season 5, but she initially thinks of him as a little kid, calling him names like "shrimp," "drip," etc. But as they enter high school, she too begins to find him attractive. In season 11, they broke up for a short period. But as the season progresses, they get back together and Chachi eventually proposes to Joanie and she says yes. The series finale features Chachi and Joanie's wedding.

  • Al Delvecchio – From seasons four to nine (1976–82), Al became the new owner/cook of the drive-in after Arnold got married the previous season. Al later married Chachi's mother Louisa, thereby becoming Chachi's stepfather and Fonzie's uncle. Molinaro left Happy Days in 1982 to take his "Al" character to Joanie Loves Chachi, and returned as Al in three later episodes of Happy Days. Known for sighing "Yeeep, yep, yep, yep, yep" when he was disappointed or when things did not go his way.
  • Jenny Piccalo (Cathy Silvers) – Joanie's boy-crazy best friend (1980–83), often mentioned in early episodes, but did not appear in person until the 1980 season. Returned as a guest star in the series finale. Jenny's father appeared in one episode, played by Silvers' real-life father Phil Silvers.
  • Roger Phillips – Marion's nephew, coach and teacher at Jefferson High, until "Vocational Education" where he became principal at Patton High.[12] Introduced in 1980 after Richie left the show as a recurring character.
  • Lori Beth Allen-Cunningham – Richie's girlfriend and later his wife (1977–82). She married Richie by phone in season eight. Fonzie helped Lori Beth while she delivers the baby in "Little Baby Cunningham." She returned as a guest star in the final season.
  • Ashley Pfister – (Linda Purl) Divorced mother who becomes Fonzie's steady girlfriend, but later broke up offscreen sometime before, "Where the Guys Are." Note Linda Purl was also on Happy Days in Season 2 as Richie's part-time girlfriend Gloria.


  • Marsha Simms (Beatrice Colen) (seasons 1–3, 5; 22 episodes) – A carhop in the first two seasons. Appeared in the background of a few episodes during the first and second seasons before disappearing from the show in the third season. However, she later returned for a flashback guest appearance in the episode "Our Gang".
  • Bobby Melner (Harris Kal) (seasons 8–11; 19 episodes) – Friend of Chachi and Joanie seen in episodes after Richie and Ralph left the show. He is a student in Fonzie's auto shop class, as well as in Roger's health class. At one point, he was also on the Jefferson High basketball team, and performed in a band with Joanie and Chachi.
  • K.C. Cunningham (Crystal Bernard) (season 10; 15 episodes) – Howard's niece. She moved in with Howard and Marion after Joanie left for Chicago. She left an all-girls boarding school in Texas because it closed down. Her parents are always traveling. She also became friends with Jenny and she went on her first date with Melvin.
  • Leopold "Flip" Phillips (Billy Warlock) (seasons 9 & 10; 13 episodes) – Roger's rebellious younger brother. He usually wears a shirt cut off over his bellybutton.
  • Tommy (Kevin Sullivan) (seasons 8–11; 13 episodes) – Another friend of Chachi and Joanie in episodes after Richie and Ralph left the show. Like Bobby, Tommy is a student in Fonzie's auto shop class, as well as in Roger's health class. At one point, he was also on the Jefferson High basketball team, and performed in a band with Joanie and Chachi.
  • Heather Pfister (Heather O'Rourke) (season 10; 12 episodes) – Ashley Pfister's daughter. Initially did not get along with Fonzie, but gradually learned to accept him as a father figure.
  • Charles "Chuck" Cunningham (Gavan O'Herlihy, Randolph Roberts) (seasons 1 & 2; 11 episodes) – The oldest son of Howard and Marion Cunningham and older brother of Richie and Joanie, Chuck is a college student and basketball player. He is rarely seen and disappears without explanation in season two, never to be seen nor referenced again after "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas". The character's disappearance gave rise to the pejorative term "Chuck Cunningham Syndrome", used to describe TV characters that disappear from shows without explanation and are later retconned to have never existed.[13] Gavan O'Herlihy played Chuck, but then he asked to leave the series.[14] Gavan was eventually replaced by Randolph Roberts until the episode "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas".
  • Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel) (seasons 8 & 9; 10 episodes) – Nerdy classmate of Joanie and Chachi, and twin brother of Melvin Belvin. Is in Fonzie's auto shop class, and has a crush on Jenny Piccalo. Despite being a general stooge to his classmates at Jefferson High, he frequently tags along with Joanie and Chachi's circle of friends.
  • "Bag" Zombroski (Neil J. Schwartz) (seasons 1–4; 9 episodes) – A schoolmate and leader of a gang called "The Demons".
  • Police Officer Kirk / Army Reserve Major Kirk (Ed Peck) (seasons 3–10; 9 episodes) – Fonzie's nemesis and antagonist, who's eager to demonstrate his inflated sense of authority, and on the watch for delinquents and "pinkos" (communists). Kirk took over as acting Sheriff following the untimely death of Sheriff Flanaghan.
  • Wendy (Misty Rowe) (season 2; 8 episodes) – A carhop from Arnold's in season two. She was paired with Marsha Simms in five episodes.
  • Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein) (seasons 9 & 10; 8 episodes) – Nerdy classmate of Joanie and Chachi, and twin brother of Eugene Belvin. Like his brother, Melvin frequently tags along with Joanie's and Chachi's circle of friends. He once went on a date with K.C. Cunningham.
  • Leather Tuscadero (Suzi Quatro) (seasons 5 & 6; 7 episodes) – Musician; younger sister of Pinky Tuscadero, and a former juvenile delinquent; formed her own girl group called "Leather and the Suedes".
  • Jennifer Jerome (Lorrie Mahaffey) (seasons 5 & 6; 6 episodes) – Potsie's steady girlfriend. Mahaffey was Anson Williams' then wife.
  • Laverne De Fazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) (seasons 3, 6 & 7; 5 episodes) – Dating interest of Fonzie, Laverne, and her friend, Shirley, appeared prominently in three episodes during the season three ("A Date with Fonzie", "Football Frolics", and "Fonzie the Superstar"), which led to the two starring in the spin-off series Laverne & Shirley; they also make guest appearances in the season six's "Fonzie's Funeral (Part 2)" and season seven's "Shotgun Wedding" (Part 1) (the second part of "Shotgun Wedding" concluded on a crossover episode of Laverne and Shirley.)
  • Louisa Arcola-Delvecchio (Ellen Travolta) (seasons 8–11; 5 episodes) – Mother of Chachi Arcola and Fonzie's aunt. She married Al Delvecchio and they moved to Chicago.
  • Gloria (Linda Purl) (season 2; 5 episodes) – Richie's occasional girlfriend in season two.
  • Dr. Mickey Malph (Alan Oppenheimer, Jack Dodson) (season 3 & 4, 7; 4 episodes) – Ralph's father, an optometrist and, like his son, a self-styled comedian. Briefly separated from his wife Minnie, but apparently resolved issues with her after a talk with Ralph. It was Dr. Malph who convinced Fonzie to wear glasses after he started having vision problems.
  • Raymond "Spike" Fonzarelli (Danny Butch) (seasons 2–4; 4 episodes) – Fonzie's cousin (often referred to as his nephew, but Fonzie explains that he couldn't be his nephew as Fonzie was an only child) and his copycat. He went on a date with Joanie in "Not with My Sister, You Don't." Made fleeting appearances before the introduction of Chachi. The kinship between Spike and Chachi was never explained.
  • Carol "Pinky" Tuscadero (Roz Kelly) (season 4; 3 episodes) – Former girlfriend of Fonzie and a traveling demolition derby driver.
  • Clarence (Gary Friedkin) (season 10; 3 episodes) – A cook at Arnold's who is referred to several times throughout the show, but never actually seen until the episode "A Woman Not Under the Influence". There, it is revealed that Clarence is a little person. Clarence seems to have a good relationship with Al, but also frequently upsets him while goofing off in the kitchen.
  • Bill "Sticks" Downey (Jack Baker, credited as John Anthony Bailey) (season 3; 2 episodes) – Friend of Fonzie, Richie, Potsie and Ralph and drummer for their band, hence his nickname "Sticks", though he claimed he got the nickname because he was skinny.
  • Mitsumo "Arnold" Takahashi (Pat Morita) (seasons 3 10-11: 26 episodes) depicted the owner of Arnold's Drive-In for season three (1975–76). He stated that he obtained the moniker when he purchased Arnold's restaurant and people thought it was named after him, explaining that it was too costly to buy enough letter signs needed to rename it "Takahashi". He moonlighted as a martial arts instructor, teaching self-defense classes at the drive-in after hours. Morita also played "Arnold" as a guest star in 1977 and 1979 before returning as a recurring character after Al Molinaro departed in 1982.
  • Grandma Nussbaum (Frances Bay) (seasons 9, 10 & 11: 3 episodes) – Chachi Arcola and Fonzie's Grandmother.


  • Most of the characters were actually named after people the Marshall's once knew. For example, Marshall's wife once knew a Potsie Webber, not Weber, and Marshall himself once knew a Richie Cunningham.
  • When they needed a new show a show, ABC recommended Garry Marshall to write a sitcom about life in the '20s and/or '30s, but he responded he knew nothing about flappers and such, and requested he write a sitcom instead about the '50s-'60s. This idea formed "Love, and the Television Set."


  1. Happy Days Episode Guide 1981 Season 8- R.C. and L.B. Forever, Episode 19. tvguide.com. Retrieved on November 8, 2012.
  2. Happy Days Episodes- Happy Days Full Episode Guides from Season 11 on ABC. tvguide.com. Retrieved on November 8, 2012.
  3. King, Susan. "Marion Ross on 'Happy Days' and today", The Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2009. Retrieved on 2010-10-19. 
  4. Happy Days Episode Guide 1977 Season 4- Marion Rebels. tvguide.com. Retrieved on November 8, 2012.
  5. Happy Days Episodes- Happy Days Full Episode Guides from Season 10 on ABC. tvguide.com. Retrieved on November 8, 2012.
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Happy Days Actor Tom Bosley Dies
  7. Happy Days Episode- Happy Days Full Episode Guides from Season 10 on ABC. tvguide.com. Retrieved on November 8, 2012.
  8. Happy Days Episode Guide 1983 Season 10- Turn Around...and You're Home. tvguide.com. Retrieved on November 8, 2012.
  9. "Bob Brunner, 'Happy Days' writer, dies", Variety, 2012-11-08. Retrieved on 2012-11-27. 
  10. "Bob Brunner, 'Happy Days' writer and producer, dies aged 78", Digital Spy, 2012-11-07. Retrieved on 2012-11-27. 
  11. Barnes, Mike. "'Happy Days' Writer-Producer Bob Brunner Dies at 78", The Hollywood Reporter, 2012-11-07. Retrieved on 2012-11-27. 
  12. Happy Days Episodes Guide 1983 Season 11- Vocational Education, Episode 7. tvguide.com. Retrieved on November 8, 2012.
  13. Abramson, Dan (17 June 2010). The 13 Most Ridiculous Sitcom Mysteries Of All Time (PHOTOS). huffingtonpost.com.
  14. Meet "Chuck," the lost brother from "Happy Days".

External links[]

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