TV Thursday: Happy Days (1974 – 1984)

Created by television great, Garry Marshall, and debuting on January 14, 1974 this 1950’s look at life, though heavily idealized, was actually a spin-off from Love, American Style and in turn spun off five other television shows in its ten year run. The spin-offs were Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Out of the Blue, Blansky’s Beauties, and finally Joanie Loves Chachi. Happy Days also had two Hanna-Barbera produced spin-offs, those being The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang and then a season later The Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour.

Of course Happy Days is where the phrase “Jumping the Shark” was coined when the Fonz did just that…wearing shorts and a leather jacket.


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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2 thoughts on “TV Thursday: Happy Days (1974 – 1984)

  1. Badwolf says:

    I know that Happy Days did at least some time on Tuesday nights because I used to miss it because of Boy Scouts. I also want to point out the difference between a “spin-off” and a “springboard.”

    “Joanie Loves Chachi” was a legitimate spin-off of Happy Days. Here we had regular or semi-recurring characters who now had their own show.

    “Mork and Mindy” used Happy Days as a Springboard. Mork (Robin Williams) was on 1 or 2 episodes (was it a two-parter?), and then got his own show with Mindy (Pam Dawber). Mork was neither a regular or recurring character.

    The others are up for debate.

  2. Mr. Sweet says:

    Yeah, Tuesday was the only night “Happy Days” was ever on. In fact, it never moved from its 8 p.m. time slot until its final season, when it moved to 8:30. Iconic Tuesday night ABC lineup — Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Three’s Company, Taxi/Too Close For Comfort.

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