As a 1950’s teenager, Richie Cunningham was a role model. He was depicted as a wholesome, clean-cut young man, who always meant well. He was the quintessential example of the all-American boy next door.
Richie sometimes ran into trouble, mostly thanks to him being too gullible, and struggling with his endeavors to pick up women. Whenever he was lucky enough to win a date or find someone he really liked, he would sing, “I found my thrill… on Blueberry Hill”, a song by Fats Domino.
"Happy Days" Gave Us “Jumping The Shark”
The idiom “Jumping the Shark” originated from the Happy Days sitcom. Although the show started to pick up after Richie had been replaced by Fonzie, and their Broadway comedy style was effective enough to hook their audience, after some time the show’s popularity gradually began to dwindle.
In season 5, Fonzie goes water skiing wearing swimming trunks and his signature leather jacket. In this episode, he literally jumps over a shark, an outlandish scene that would surprise the remaining Happy Days viewers. This moment was so cringe-worthy it has gone down in history as “jumping the shark,” a term used when preposterous plot devices are resorted to in a desperate attempt to regain a show’s good ratings.
Chuck Cunningham Just Disappeared
We have already mentioned how Richie’s character would eventually leave for the military. It was a nice send off to eventually give way to Fonzie’s entry as the centre point of the show. Another character would suffer a similar fate due to his role being eclipsed by the Fonz’s appealing character.
Richie’s older brother, Chuck Cunningham, simply disappeared without any apparent reason in season 2. He was a college boy, and a basketball player, played by Gavan O’Herlihy. Gavan asked to leave the show, and Randolph Roberts replaced him until "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas," after which the character was just never mentioned again as if he never existed at all.
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.