I remember the phrases that were on the show and phrases that the show spawned after it went off the air…like “Jump The Shark” and the “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome” (more below on them)
I watched Happy Days as a kid and even got the theme as a single. The show first aired in 1974 and finally came to a halt in 1984. Ever since then it’s gone into syndication.
Happy Days was centered around Ritchie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his friends and family but the Fonz (Henry Winkler) character soon eclipsed Ritchie. The show portrayed 1950s life as a teenager but it did mirror the problems all teenagers encounter.
Fonz was everywhere in the seventies. Kids at school would do the hair in the mirror thing. If I only had a nickel every time I heard “heeeeyyyy” I would be a rich man. T-Shirts, lunch boxes, notebooks, and anything “Happy Days” could be printed on was… Phrases included Sit On It, Exactamundo, Bucko, and more became popular…Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah!
Two more phrases came because of the show. Jump the Shark and the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome but more in them in a minute.
Richie had some understanding parents… Howard and Marion Cunningham were always there with a solution and he had a sometimes bratty but typical little sister Joanie. His best friends were Potsy and Ralph Malph who would mostly get Richie in trouble.
In the Seventies, a 50s revival was happening at the time and this show certainly added to it. Movies like Grease, American Graffiti, and The Last Picture Show were hits also.
Now some fun stuff.
Jump the Shark – A definition… “(of a television series or movie) reach a point at which far-fetched events are included merely for the sake of novelty, indicative of a decline in quality”
This originated from Happy Days. It was the episode where Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis. This was way outside the original storyline of the show. If you want to know which one…Season 5 Episode 3 of a three-part episode storyline.
The Chuck Cunningham Syndrome – One of the definitions I found… occurs when a character in a television mysteriously vanishes from the show. No write-off, no death, not even a passing explanation of what happened to the character.
This originated from Happy Days. Poor Chuck was Ritchie’s brother and he is in a total of 11 episodes in the first two seasons. After that, we never see nor hear anything from Chuck again. Did aliens abduct him? Was he in the Witness Protection program? Was he a spy? Was he a figment of the family’s imagination? Did he grow up to be Alice Cooper?
This is where “Jump The Shark” was born…Yea, a guy from Milwaukee is going to water ski and jump a shark…with a leather jacket on.