The management of the show had warmed up to the idea of setting it in the 1950s, with Gary Marshall at the helm. The idea was to revisit a time when idealized visions of life could be effectively presented to a modern audience. They first thought about naming the show “Cool.”
However, the word “cool” seemed to have a different effect on the test audience. Instead of inspiring pleasant traits and qualities, they said, in their minds, it bore resemblance to smoking cigarettes, or skipping school, free-spirited traits, etc. Producer, Carl Kleinschmidt, was struck with inspiration and suggested, “how about calling it Happy Days?” And that’s how it all started.
Anson Williams On Happy Days
American actor, Anson Williams, was only 22 years old when he auditioned for Happy Days. He was still unknown at the time, and little did he know that his role as Potsie would earn him a nomination for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
Like his character, Williams was just trying to make it in the industry. It was an opportunity he almost missed, by the way, after his car broke down while on his way to the audition. Somehow, through sheer determination, he still made it there, barely in time, to capture that coveted role.
Anson Williams' Career
Anson Williams’ success in Happy Days didn’t encourage him to pursue further acting roles. But he remains in the entertainment industry as a director and producer. He started with programs that focused on the young adult age range. His works include Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Charmed, Star Trek: Voyager, and 90210.
Anson Williams gets nostalgic every now and then about Happy Days, and while directing Sabrina the Teenage Witch, in one episode, he inserted himself as Potsie in a fantasy sequence.
The Fonz Should Have Been a Monkee
Looking back to the Happy Days series, one realizes how vital it was to make changes after the first two seasons. If Richie had not been replaced by “The Fonz” as the focal point of the show, it might not have lasted as long as it did.
Now, what’s worse about it, is that the role was initially thought to be filled by Monkees drummer, Micky Dolenz. The latter actually read for the role and came close to snagging it, but he was eventually turned down. Luckily, Henry Winkler’s shorter stature made him more of a physical fit for the role of Arthur Fonzarelli because we certainly can’t imagine anyone else filling The Fonz’s shoes now!
Now that the Monkee's drummer was out of the picture, and Henry Winkler was the actor pushed for the role of “The Fonz,” things were expected to go on smoothly, but- Winkler could not even read six lines in his dialogue because he is dyslexic, and every written word kept jumbling in his mind.
Henry Winkler remained calm and resorted to using his own words to fill in instead. That way, he was able to convince the casting directors that he was giving them a real feel for the character. This impressed them, and they were coaxed into giving him a pivotal role that would last for 11 seasons.