TV | Pop Culture | 80s | 70s

Fonzie's Leather Jacket Was Banned, And 12 Other Secrets From The Set Of 'Happy Days'

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Whether you grew up in the '50s or not, there's just something about Happy Days that takes us all back to a simpler time. Generations of families have watched the show together, but they probably never knew these behind-the-scenes facts.

1. The cast all worked second jobs as athletes

Happy Days creator Gary Marshall came up with a creative way to raise money for charity and let the cast relax after hours. They all played together on a softball team named the Happy Days All Stars. The team played short charity matches before major league games.

They also went on tours of U.S. military bases in Europe and Japan. All that and they managed to tape 11 seasons of the show. Not bad!

2. There was a "Female Fonzie"

Dedicated Happy Days fans know that Roz Kelley joined the show in season three as Pinky Tuscadero, a female delinquent who became Fonzie's love interest for three episodes. When the show was still on the air, the network made a huge deal about the new character and her relationship with the Fonz.

But it just wasn't meant to be. Tuscadero connected with fans, but Kelley butted heads with the show's cast and crew. She blamed the friction on her modest background, and said she had trouble working with "rich kids" like Henry Winkler.

3. Ron Howard joined the show to dodge the draft

After spending his childhood working on The Andy Griffith Show, Howard had no interest in being a TV actor and had his heart set on directing instead. But when the pilot for Happy Days was being filmed, going to film school wouldn't have saved Howard from the Vietnam War draft.

To stay in America, Howard had to prove that he was working a job that kept at least 30 other people in business, and of course the lead role in a TV show qualified. President Nixon ended the draft just after the pilot was filmed.

4. Robin Williams turned the show on its head

Cast members called the script that introduced Mork from Ork "unreadable," but the late great Robin Williams made it shine anyways. Creator Gary Marshall's son asked him to make "a Martian episode" after seeing Star Wars in theaters. The original actor cast as Mork actually quit days before the episode taped.

That led to up-and-coming comic Robin Williams getting an audition for the part. When he stepped into the audition room, producers asked him to take a seat. He sat on the chair upside down and won the part right away.

5. Fonzie never drove his motorcycle

Fonzie's iconic motorcycle - a 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler - started out as a real bike but was changed into a prop just a few days after the show started filming. Henry Winkler was supposed to drive a few feet during a scene, but Winkler is famously dyslexic and couldn't read the dials on the bike.

“I gunned it and rammed into the sound truck," he explained, "nearly killed the director of photography, put the bike down and slid under the truck.” Needless to say Fonzie's license was revoked. For the rest of the series, the bike was moved using a hidden wheeled platform.

6. The show was originally called 'COOL'

Producers worried the name would remind people of cigarettes. The original premise for the show was also different: it was supposed to be set in the 1920s, not the 1950s. Since Gary Marshall was a child of the '50s, he suggested that era instead, and the rest is history.

Keep reading to find out why Fonzie's leather jacket was banned by producers...

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