It is quite possible that Happy Days would not have been made if George Lucas wasn’t so successful with American Graffiti. As we mentioned briefly before, Happy Days had been made ahead of Lucas’ film. In fact, its unsold pilot was initially aired in 1972.
The segment “Love and the Television Set” was on ABC’s anthology show, Love, American Style. The success of American Graffiti reignited the public’s interest in the 1950s, and the network took advantage of this opportunity to film Happy Days, striking when the iron was hot.
During the filming of the pilot and the first two seasons, the production team used nothing more than a single camera and a laugh track. To adjust to the standards and the filming style of the time, from 1975 to 1984, they shifted to a three-camera production rig and filmed in front of a live audience.
If you look closely as it transitions from the second season onward, there were some rearrangements around the house to accommodate the multiple cameras.
They Didn't Really Film In Wisconsin
This won’t come as a total surprise, but it is still a fun fact that deserves to be shared, especially for all of you true Happy Days fans. The story of the show revolves around the beloved Cunninghams, and it states that they officially lived at 565 North Clinton Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
However, the production setup was in a lot owned by Paramount in California. It wouldn’t make sense to travel all the way from one state to another to film the many episodes that made up Happy Days. The shots from outside the home were taken at another location - 565 N. Cahuenga Blvd in Los Angeles, California.
The Show's New Star
Richie Cunningham, played by Ron Howard, wouldn’t have a significant role in the sitcom after his exit during the second season. After seven seasons, it was quite understandable that actor Ron Howard would leave the show for better opportunities elsewhere. He wanted to grow within the entertainment industry and pursue other interests.
Howard would still show up once in a while in the series, returning to make guest appearances, but Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz, clearly was the new head honcho. He would be given top billing during the opening credits when season 8 began.
A National Treasure
The Happy Days television sitcom eventually found its way into the hearts of its viewing audience after a number of modifications to its style, so much so that the show has even inspired spin-offs, new shows albeit not nearly as successful, and a musical tour in 2008.
This makes clear just how popular the show has become, permeating through American society, influencing how TV in general was made at the time. With Happy Days having such a deep impact on American culture, the Smithsonian Institution sought out Fonzie’s signature leather jacket to be displayed at the National Museum of American History.