Saturday, January 20, 2024

The Late Great Mary Weiss

While their success would be short-lived, The Shangri-Las proved to be one of the most influential singing groups of all time. Much of their success was due to the powerful vocals of Mary Weiss, who was only fifteen when their first hit, "Remember (Walking in the Sand)", was released. Mary Weiss would spend most of her life outside the music business and outside the public eye, but the years she spent as part of The Shangri-Las had an impact on popular music in a way that few others ever would. Sadly, Mary Weiss died yesterday, January 19 2024, at the age of 75.

Mary Weiss was born on December 28 1948 in New York City. She developed an interest in music when she was only five years old, and loved The Ink Spots. She began singing when she was very young as well, singing in her church's choir and in school plays.  Her brother George was eight years older than her, and a huge Elvis Presley fan. She listened to many of his records. Mary Weiss was a fan of The Everly Brothers and Neil Sedaka.

Mary Wiess attended Andrew Jackson High School in Queens. It as there that she, her older sister Betty Weiss, and twins Margie and Mary Ann Ganser formed their own vocal group. The group performed at talent shows and sock hops. Record producer Artie Ripp heard The group and worked out a record deal with Kama Sutra Records. It was at this point that they began calling themselves The Shangri-Las. Their first single, "Simon Says," was released on the Smash label, and featured Betty Weiss singing lead vocals. It failed to chart. Their second single, "Wishing Well," was released on Spokane Records. It also failed to chart.

Fortunately, The Shangri-Las were discovered by record producer and songwriter George "Shadow" Morton. In April 1964 their parents, the girls being minors, signed the group to Red Bird Records. The Shangri-Las then had their first hit, a song by Shadow Morton titled "Remember (Walking in the Sand)." The song peaked at no. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their next single, "Leader of the Pack" (written by George "Shadow" Morton, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich), went to no. 1 on the chart. With their success The Shangri-Las performed with such artists as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Drifters, James Brown, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders, Herman's Hermits, Del Shannon, and yet others.

Following "The Leader of the Pack," The Shangri-Las would have hits, both major and minor, with "Give Him a Great Big Kiss," "Give Us Your Blessings," "I Can Never Go Home Anymore," and "Long Live Our Love." Red Bird Records folded in 1966 and The Shangri-Las then signed with Mercury Records. Unfortunately, Mercury Records showed little interest in The Shangri-Las and Shadow Morton had started working with such artists as  Vanilla Fudge. The Shangri-Las then disbanded in 1968.

Afterwards Mary Weiss attended college while working as a secretary. She later worked in the architectural industry and eventually became the the chief purchasing agent for a large architectural firm. She later worked as a commercial interior designer and furniture installer in New York City.

For most of her later years Mary Weiss stayed away from performing music professionally. She sang back-up on Aerosmith's 1979 cover of "Remember (Walking in the Sand)." In 1989 The Shangri-Las reunited for a single show. In 2005 Mary Weiss recorded her only solo album, Dangerous Game, and toured to support it.

Mary Weiss had an utterly unique voice, one that was both powerful and emotive. It was perfectly suited to Shadow Morton's often overwrought lyrics, which covered everything from being jilted to teenage death to being in love with someone from the wrong side of the tracks. Mary Weiss's voice was different from that of any other lead singer of any other girl group, and it set The Shangri-Las apart from the rest.

Of course, The Shangri-Las' image differed from that of other girl groups. While other girl groups tended be demure, The Shangri-Las had a "tough girl" image. Other girl groups performed in gowns and pumps. The Shangri-Las wore less formal attire, even wearing leather, blue jeans, and boots. As it was, the lyrics to their songs set them apart from other groups. The Shangri-Las' songs dealt not with lost love or happy romances, but loneliness, abandonment, classism, and all around teenage angst. There was simply no other girl group like The Shangri-Las.

Ultimately, The Shangri-Las would have an impact that was farther reaching than many other groups. Their songs have been covered by artists from Aerosmith to Blondie to The New York Dolls to Twisted Sister. They would have an influence on the punk and New Wave movements, including such acts as Blondie, The Damned, The Dead Boys, Patti Smith, and The Ramones. The Shangri-Las may have been together for a short time, but they had a lasting impact. There can be no doubt Mary Weiss's voice was responsible for The Shangri-Las' success and continued influence.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Four Lesser Known Cary Grant Movies

Today is the 120th anniversary of Cary Grant's birth. In his honour, then, I thought I would list my four favourite, lesser known Cary Grant movies. By "lesser known" I mean that the average person is not likely to have heard of them. I trust that most film buffs have not only heard of these four movies, but have seen them as well.

The Awful Truth (1937): Whenever I think of Cary Grant's leading ladies, it is Irene Dunne who is the first to come to mind. Much of this is due to The Awful Truth, which is one of my all-time favourite Cary Grant movies. In The Awful Truth, Jerry Warriner (Cary Grant) and Lucy Warriner (Irene Dunne) decide to divorce after suspecting each other of infidelity. As it turns out, they find it difficult to let each other go. The Awful Truth blends physical comedy, one-liners, and great characterization in what is possibly the perfect screwball comedy. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are perfectly matched and have excellent chemistry together. As to Miss Dunne, she plays a character that is both intelligent and fun-loving. As to Mr. Grant, an argument can be made that The Awful Truth is the first film featuring Cary Grant as most of us have come to think of him, sophisticated yet mischievous.

Holiday (1938): Holiday is not as well as Bringing Up Baby (1938) or The Philadelphia Story (1940), two other films starring Cary Grant and Katarine Hepburn, but it really should be. In Holiday Cary Grant plays Johnny Case, a self-made man about to marry a wealthy socialite, only to find his plans complicated after he meets her sister, Linda Seton (Katharine Hepburn). Holiday is particularly effective as a criticism of amassing large amounts of money simply for the sake of amassing large amounts of money, as well as an effective comedy and romance. Both Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are in top form in the movie.

Mr. Lucky (1943): Mr. Lucky finds Cary Grant playing a gambler and conman who operates a gambling ship who has an attack of conscience when he falls for a charity worker (Laraine Day). Cary Grant gives an excellent performance as Joe "the Greek" Adams, who starts having second thoughts about his chosen profession. Laraine Day is also excellent as Dorothy Bryant, the charity worker and socialite who falls for Joe despite her better judgement. It would be a mistake to think of Mr. Lucky as simply another romantic comedy, as there is so much more going on in the film.

My Favorite Wife (1940): My Favorite Wife once more pairs Irene Dunne with Cary Grant. This time Irene Dunne plays a woman, Ellen Arden, who is shipwrecked on an island for many years. In that time she is declared legally dead so that her husband, Nick Arden (Cary Grant) can marry another woman, Bianca Bates (Gail Patrick). As it turns out, Ellen is rescued from the island, which complicates things considerably. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne have their usual chemistry and are in top form. Gail Patrick, who so often played the other woman, also does a great job playing Louisa. Along with The Awful Truth, it is one of Cary Grant's best comedies.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The Late Great Joyce Randolph

Joyce Randolph, who played Trixie Norton on the classic sitcom The Honeymooners, died on January 13 2024 at the age of 99. She was the last surviving cast member of The Honeymooners.

Joyce Randolph was born Joyce Sirola on October 21 1924 in Detroit. She attended Cooley High School in Detroit and after graduation worked at Saks Fifth Avenue. At the same time she she appeared in Wayne University Workshop productions. It was not long before she received a role in a touring production of Stage Door. In 1943 she moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. In 1944 she made her television debut in a one-act play aired on the television station WABD titled Gander Sauce. In 1950 she appeared in the TV shows The Colgate Comedy Hour, Inside Detective, Buck Rogers, Famous Jury Trials, The Clock, and I Cover Times Square. In 1950 she appeared on Broadway in Ladies Night in a Turkish Bath.

It was in 1951 that Jack Gleason hired Joyce Randolph to play Trixie Norton in the "Honeymooners" sketches on Cavalcade of Stars. He had seen her in a commercial for Clorets chewing gum.  Trixie was the wife of sewer worker Ed Norton (Art Carney), who also happened to be the best friend of lead character Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason). Elaine Stritch had originated the role, but only played it for one episode. When Jackie Gleason moved to CBS she remained in the role of Trixie in "Honeymooners" sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show. In 1952 she also appeared as Trixie in a "Honeymooners" sketch on Toast of the Town (later renamed The Ed Sullivan Show. She continued to play Trixie on the classic sitcom The Honeymooners. After the sitcom ended, she continued to appear as Trixie on a revival of The Jackie Gleason Show.  In the Fifties Joyce Randolph also appeared on the TV shows Short Short Dramas, The Plainclothesman, The Jack Benny Program, The Mail Story, and Modern Romances.

Joyce Randolph found herself typecast as Trixie Norton following her stints on The Jackie Gleason Show and The Honeymooners. Afterwards she did summer stock and appeared in commercials. In 1964 she guest starred on an episode of The Nurses. She reprised her role as Trixie on the sitcom Hi Honey, I'm Home!. She had a cameo in the movie Everything's Jake (2000).

While others played Trixie Norton as well, Joyce Randolph remains the best remembered, and I think it is due to more than the fact that she played the role in the "Classic 39." Quite simply, as Trixie Norton, Joyce Randolph was one of the funniest straight women of all time. When reacting to Ralph or Ed's antics, she could get laughs with as little as a look. Her delivery was always pitch perfect for comedy. Joyce Randolph also had great rapport with Audrey Meadows, who played Ralph's wife Alice, and the two of them made a great team. If The Honeymooners is one of the greatest sitcoms of all time and the surviving "Honeymooners" sketches still hold up today, much of the credit must go to Joyce Randolph.

Monday, January 15, 2024

The 50th Anniversary of Happy Days

Happy Days
was among the most successful shows to air on ABC in the Seventies. It spent eight of its eleven seasons in the top twenty shows for the year, three of them in the top five for the year, and one season as the number one show on the air. In the end it would be ABC's second longest running sitcom after The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (here it must be pointed out that My Three Sons and Make Room for Daddy debuted on ABC, but moved to CBS).

Happy Days was part of a nostalgia craze in the Seventies that embraced eras from the 1930s (The Waltons) to the 1940s (Ellery Queen) to the 1960s (American Graffiti). In the case of Happy Days, the show was originally set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1955. It centred on teenager Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard), whose father, Howard (Tom Bosley), owned a hardware store. His mother, Marion (Mation Ross), was a somewhat traditional housewife. His younger sister was Joanie (Erin Moran). Richie's best friends were Potsie Weber (Anson Williams) and Ralph Malph (Don Most). Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler), AKA "The Fonz," was a leather-clad, motorcycle riding greaser who would eventually become Richie's best friend.

The origins of Happy Days go back to a cold winter's night in Newark, New Jersey when Michael Eisner, then vice president for daytime programming at ABC, and Tom Miller, then Vice President of Development at Paramount, were delayed at the airport. Not knowing when their flight would depart, to pass the time the two men decided to develop a television show. Both men liked shows centred around families. Tom Miller suggested that it take place in another era, so that it wouldn't look old once it went into reruns."

Messrs. Eisner and Miller brought in Garry Marshall to develop a show along the lines of what they had discussed. At that time Garry Marshall was the executive producer on the sitcom The Odd Couple and one of the two men, with Jerry Belson, who had developed it for television. Garry Marshall created a prospective show titled New Family in Town that centred on a family in the 1950s. The pilot was shot in late 1971. Unfortunately, ABC passed on the pilot, but it aired as a segment of Paramount's anthology series Love, American Style on February 25 1972 under the title "Love and the Television Set." In "Love and the Television Set," the Cunnimghams become the first family in their neighbourhood to get a television set. Richie and Potsie become convinced that the new television set can then be used as a means to get girls. "Love and the Television Set" would be later be renamed "Love and the Happy Days" in syndication to capitalize on its link to the hit sitcom.

The cast of "Love and the Television Set" differed from the cast of Happy Days to a degree.  Marion Ross Ron Howard, and Anson Williams were already in place as Marion, Richie, and Potsie, but Howard Cunningham was played by Harold Gould and Richie's younger sister Joanie was played by Susan Neher. Ric Carrott played Richie's older brother Chuck. On Happy Days Chuck Cunningham would be played by Gavin O'Herlihy in the first season and Ralph Roberts in two episodes of the second season. Grandma, played by Nellie Burt, was a character in "Love and the Television Set who never appeared on Happy Days. As to the character of Fonzie, who would become all-important to Happy Days, he was not in the pilot.

It would be "Love and the Television Set" in part that would lead George Lucas to cast Ron Howard as Steve Bolander in his movie American Graffiti (1973).  American Graffiti would prove to be a hit at the box office, becoming the third highest grossing movie in the United States and Canada for 1973. The movie followed two high school graduates on their last night of summer vacation in 1962. The success of American Graffiti would lead to the prospective sitcom being re-pitched to ABC. A new pilot, "All the Way," was then shot.

There would be changes in the cast from "Love and the Television Set" and "All the Way." It was originally meant for Harold Gould to remain as Howard Cunningham, but he was committed to a play he was performing in Paris, France. Tom Bosley, who had made frequent guest appearances on television and was a regular on the short-lived Debbie Reynolds Show, was then cast in the role. Erin Moran was cast as Richie's younger sister Joanie, the role having been originated by Susan Neher in the first pilot. Added to the cast was Don Most as Ralph Malph Henry Winkler as Fonzie,. It was in November 1973 that ABC picked up Happy Days as a mid-season replacement.

During the first two seasons Happy Days would gradually evolve in the show as many people know it. In the first two seasons, the show was shot with a single-camera setup, not unlike feature films. A laugh track would then be added later. Beginning with the third season, Happy Days was shot using a three-camera set-up before a live audience. Earlier Garry Marshall had made a similar change on his sitcom The Odd Couple, which was shot using a single-camera set-up in its first season and then changed to a multi-camera setup for its second season onwards. In the first season Fonzie was only a secondary character. In fact, Henry Winkler was not even featured in the opening credits. Fonzie turned out to be a popular character, so he was given a bigger role in the show's second season. With that season Henry Winkler was added to the opening credits, receiving fourth billing. With the third season Fonzie was given an even bigger role on the show, moving into an apartment above the Cunninghams' garage.

While Fonzie would prove to be possibly the most popular character on Happy Days, executives at ABC did not like the idea of the character wearing a leather jacket for fears that it would make him look like a criminal. Early in the run of Happy Days Fonzie is then seen wearing a windbreaker. Garry Marshall finally struck a compromise with ABC whereby The Fonz could wear his leather jacket if he was near his motorcycle. It was then rare that Fonzie was seen without his motorcycle, even taking it with him inside Arnold's Drive-In. ABC eventually relented and let Fonzie wear his leather jacket all the time.

Another change that would be made to Happy Days early in his run is that the character of Richie's older brother Chuck would be dropped entirely from the show. Chuck Cunningham was played by Gavan O'Herihy in 10 episodes of the show's first season. Randolph Roberts then took over the role of Chuck for two episodes of the second season. Afterwards, the character completely disappeared from Happy Days and was never referred to again. No explanation ever given for the character's departure, and it was treated as if he never existed. In fact, in the eleventh and final season, Howard Cunningham even states that he has only two children.

There would be other changes to the cast of Happy Days, although unlike Chuck Cunningham they would be acknowledged on the show. On Happy Days the local hangout was Arnold's Drive-In, owned by Arnold Takahashi (Pat Morita). Arnold appeared for the show's first three seasons. Afterwards he left Happy Days to star in his own short-lived show Mr. T and Tina. It was explained that Arnold got married and moved away, whereupon the new owner of Arnold's was Al Delvecchio, played by Al Molinaro (who had earlier played Officer Murray on Garry Marshall's sitcom The Odd Couple).

A bigger change in the cast would come with the end of the seventh season. Ron Howard left Happy Days so that he could focus on his career as a director. It was explained on the show that Richie had joined the Army. Don Most, who played Ralph Malph, also left the show before the start of the eighth season. It was also explained that Ralph had also joined the Army.

Other characters would be added to Happy Days during the show's run. In the fifth season Fonzie's younger cousin Chachi (Scott Baio) was added as a recurring character. In the sixth season he became a regular character. He would also become Joanie's love interest. Roger Phillips (Ted McGinley) was added during the show's eighth season. He was Marion's nephew and the basketball coach at Jefferson High School in Milwaukee. Roger was a recurring character in the eighth and ninth seasons of Happy Days and became a regular in the show's 10th season.

The popularity of Happy Days would lead to a good deal of Happy Days merchandise on store shelves. As might be expected, Aladdin produced a Happy Days lunchbox with a Thermos. Gold Key published six issues of a Happy Days comic book from 1979 to 1980. There were also several novels based on the show by William Johnston, published by Tempo Books. There were also action figures, toy motorcycles, Halloween costumes, trading cards, and even bed sheets.

With its success Happy Days would have several spin-offs. The first was also its most successful, and for a time it actually outperformed Happy Days in the ratings. The characters of Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and  Shirley Feeney first appeared in the third season Happy Days episode "A Date with Fonzie." It was while Garry Marshall was at a conference with ABC executives on Marco Island off the coast of Florida that Fred Silverman, the the head of ABC, asked him to create more shows. More to the point, Fred Silverman asked Garry Marshall if he had any spinoffs. Mr. Marshall told him that he was too busy working on Happy Days, but Fred Silverman persisted. In truth, Garry Marshall had been mulling over an idea for a show centred around Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney. He then pitched the idea of a show centred around two blue collar women. Fred Silverman liked the idea and gave him the go-ahead for the new show. Laverne & Shirley proved to be a hit from the beginning. The show ranked no. 3 for the year in its first season and then rose to no. 3 for the year for its second season. For its third and fourth seasons Laverne & Shirley was the number one show on the air. It toppled to no. 42 for its fifth season, primarily because ABC moved it from Tuesday to Thursday nights. Regardless, it ran eight seasons and proved to be a huge success in syndication as a rerun.

The second spinoff from Happy Days would be the show that launched Robin Williams on his path to stardom. "My Favorite Orkan" was a fifth season episode in which Richie dreams that he encounters an alien named Mork from the planet Ork (Robin Williams). Robin Williams's performance as Mork impressed ABC executives so much that he was signed to star in his own series. Unlike Laverne & Shirley, which was originally set in the late Fifties just as Happy Days was, Mork & Mindy was set in the present day. It proved to be a hit in its first season, coming in at no. 3 for the year. For its second season ABC moved Mork & Mindy from Thursday night to Sunday night. It dropped to no. 27 for the year and, even after being moved back to its original timeslot, never recovered.

The third spinoff of Happy Days was actually a Saturday morning cartoon. From the late Seventies into the early Eighties there was a trend towards basing Saturday morning cartoons on current, popular television shows. The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang featured Fonzie, Richie, and Ralph travelling through time, joined by new characters created specifically for the cartoon. Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, and Don Most all voiced their characters from the original series. After The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang came to an end, the Fonz would be introduced as a character in the second season of Laverne & Shirley in the Army, which was retitled Laverne & Shirley with The Fonz. Laverne & Shirley in the Army was a Saturday morning cartoon spinoff of Laverne & Shirley.

The final spinoff of Happy Days was Joanie Loves Chachi. On Happy Days romance had blossomed between the characters of Joanie and Chachi, and the two eventually became aspiring musicians. In Joanie Loves Chachi they moved to Chicago to pursue a career in music. Al Devecchio also moved from Happy Days to the new spinoff, having opened a restaurant in Chicago. Joanie Loves Chachi proved successful in its first season, coming in at no. 4 for the year. For its second season ABC moved Joanie Loves Chachi from Tuesday to Thursday nights, where its ratings plummeted. It only came in at no. 70 for the year. It was cancelled only 13 episodes into the season. Joanie and Chachi then returned to Happy Days.

There are two other shows that are often counted as spinoffs of Happy Days, although they should perhaps better be treated as related shows. Blansky's Beauties starred Nancy Walker as Nancy Blansky, a former Las Vegas showgirl now in charge of several Las Vegas showgirls. The character had appeared only a week before the debut of Blansky's Beauties in an episode of Happy Days, where she was introduced as Howard Cunningham's cousin. In other words, Blansky's Beauties did not grow out of an episode of Happy Days, but was instead conceived as a show with a link to Happy Days. This would make it questionable that it can be considered a spinoff.

The other show that is sometimes counted as a spinoff of Happy Days is the fantasy comedy Out of the Blue. Out of the Blue starred Jimmy Brogan as angel-in-training Random, who is assigned as the guardian angel of a Chicago family. Out of the Blue actually debuted a few days before Random appeared on Happy Days in the episode "Chachi Sells His Soul." Like Blansky's Beauties, then, Out of the Blue did not grow out of an episode of Happy Days, although it is a show that is linked to it. Neither Blansky's Beauties nor Out of the Blue proved successful. Blansky's Beauties only lasted 13 episodes, while Out of the Blue ended after only eight episodes aired (although there were four unaired episodes).

Ratings for Happy Days would decline over time. After three seasons in the top five, for its seventh season Happy Days dropped to no. 17. It remained in the top twenty for its next few seasons, dropping to no. 28 for its tenth season. As to why Happy Days dropped in the ratings in its tenth season, it seems likely that it was the debut of a new series on rival network NBC , The A-Team, in the middle of the 1982-1983 season. The show proved to be a hit and ranked no. 10 for the season. Happy Days dropped even further for its eleventh and final season. Part of this was perhaps due to the continued popularity of The A-Team, which ranked no. 4 for the year. Part of it may also have been because ABC moved Happy Days from its long-time 8:00 PM Eastern/7:00 PM Central time-slot on Tuesday to 8:30 PM Eastern/7:30 PM Central the same night.

For the show's final season Ron Howard and Don Most returned as Richie and Ralph in guest appearances, the two characters having been discharged from the Army. In the finale, Joanie and Chachi get married and Fonzie adopts a boy. Ron Howard and Al Molinaro both guest starred on the episode. Curiously, the series finale was not quite a series finale. It aired on May 8 1984, after which ABC aired five unaired episodes from June to July.

While Happy Days ended after eleven seasons, the show was hardly gone. The show would see success in syndication. The entire run of the show has been released on DVD. It has not only aired on local stations since its network run ended, but on cable channels such as TV Land and digital broadcast networks as MeTV. It is currently available on multiple streaming channels, including Paramount+, Pluto TV, YouTube, and Amazon Prime.

It would also have a lasting impact on pop culture. The phrase "jump the shark" was coined by a college roommate of radio personality Jon Hein, Sean Connolly, for that point at which a show become unwatchable. The term came from the fifth season Happy Days episode "Hollywood Part 3," in which Fonzie, clad in his leather jacket and swim trunks, jumps a shark while water skiing. Given Happy Days ranked no. 2 for the season and ran another six seasons, it is arguable that Happy Days did not jump the shark for most people when Fonzie jumped the shark. Happy Days is also responsible for the name of the TV trope "Chuck Cunningham Syndrome," TV Tropes defines Chuck Cunningham Syndrome as being when a character disappears from a show without explanation (as was the case with Chuck).

In 1994 the music video for the Weezer song "Buddy Holly" portrays the band playing at Arnold's Drive-In with a cameo by Al Molinaro as Al Delvecchio. The characters of Richie, Potsie, Ralph, Joanie, and Fonzie appear through incorporation of footage from Happy Days. In the song Fonzie is made to appear to dance to Weezer's performance though use of Casey Storm, the stylist for the video, acting as a body double for The Fonz. Amazingly enough, the illusion of Weezer performing at Arnold's in the late Fifties was achieved though camerawork and editing. No computer graphics was used.

Happy Days would also result in two stage shows. Happy Days: The Arena Spectacular was an arena show that toured Australia in the late Nineties. Happy Days: A New Musical was a musical with a book by Garry Marshall and lyrics by Paul Williams. Happy Days: A New Musical premiered in 2008 the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, California. There have been various productions since then.

After fifty years Happy Days remains popular. It remains one of the most successful shows to ever air on ABC. As I mentioned earlier, it is the network's second longest running sitcom. In 2023 Variety ranked Happy Days at no. 87 in their list of the 100 greatest shows of all time. The Fonz has regularly made lists of the greatest TV show characters of all time. Indeed, I rather suspect even Zoomers even know who Fonzie is, even if they might have never seen an episode of the show.The 50th anniversary of Happy Days finds many in the curious position of being nostalgic about a show made in the Seventies that itself was nostalgic about the Fifties. Chances are good that people will still be watching Happy Days fifty years from now.