It's safe to assume Garry Marshall was afraid of Spunky on Happy Days

Plus: Cindy Williams gave Garry a dog. Can you guess what he named his pooch?

Read to Me

Before any of Garry Marshall’s TV success came along, he was just like many young men in the mid-'50s: asking his dad for advice while enlisting in the Army.

By that point, Garry already considered himself a writer and even had a writing partner, so when he went to list his profession on his Army forms, that's what he wanted to put — but his dad gave him a better idea.

Marshall's pop told him that he could already tell that television was going to be a huge industry, and he guessed his son would end up with a more interesting post if he put down that he was a cameraman. So that's what Garry did.

"Even though I wasn't a cameraman, he knew if I stretched the truth, I would get a better assignment," Marshall wrote in his 2012 memoir My Happy Days in Hollywood.

That's how Garry ended up with his first army gig: making army instructional videos in Astoria, Long Island. "Films were about everything from how to read a map to how to detect venereal disease," Marshall said.

This camerawork led to Garry's first acting gig, which unfortunately scarred him for life.

"I acted in one movie about dogs and ended up being bitten by the dog," Marshall explained. "It left me with a fear of dogs for the rest of my life."

Fast-forward nearly 20 years to 1977, when Marshall decides to give Fonzie a dog on Happy Days.

Spunky was a female fox terrier who appeared on two episodes of Happy Days and might be most famous for appearing in the Bad News Bears movies. On the show, we saw adorable Spunky scenes with Mr. C, who cradled Spunky in his arms, or giving Fonzie high fives.

But, behind the scenes, you can bet Marshall still felt the pangs of fear from the bite during his first acting gig.

Fortunately, there were no incidents with Spunky on set (that we know of).

It's likely Cindy Williams was the reason why Spunky appeared at all on the show!

The year before Spunky stepped a paw on Happy Days, Marshall had gotten to work with his sister Penny and Cindy on their spin-off show Laverne & Shirley. Even though Cindy wasn't family, Garry said he knew her well already, because she had dated one of his friends, and it just so happened that Cindy had a dog she was hoping to re-home.

The next thing Marshall knew, his family had adopted Cindy's dog. The pooch was such a hit with the family that they named the dog after Cindy to thank her for bringing joy into their home.

Although Cindy the dog surely touched Marshall's heart and helped him feel more at ease inviting Spunky onto Happy Days, Garry still wrote in 2012 that his fear of dogs never really left. It's no wonder then that the second time he brought Spunky on his sitcom, the dog was written to be "spunkless"!

Did anyone else name their dog after a beloved TV star?

Watch Happy Days on MeTV!

Weeknights at 6:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

22 Comments

Post a comment
Pacificsun 3 months ago
No, but we had a dog named "Bunky," a rare name in the 60's but not unique.

Too bad that one dog bite scarred Gary for his lifetime. He was missing out on a lot of joy that animals can bring.
MassonAtticus77 3 months ago
My daughter named her first dog, a beautiful tricolor collie, Lindsay after the actress Lindsay Wagner because she watched reruns of The Bionic Woman all the time.
Adanor 3 months ago
I can see where he's coming from. He grew up in NYC, his family being crammed in a small apartment and probably did not get to know what dogs are like. It sounds like the TV show producers did not hire a dog handler, so the actors were pretty much winging it. No wonder he got bitten. My father also grew up crammed into an apartment in NYC and didn't like cats as he probably only encountered feral cats. Well, when he was at work, we would feed and let this cat into the house. He sort of knew about the cat but did not acknowledge him until the day of the flood. We splashed our way into the house and found the cat curled up on a sweater, my father nearby. Garry, likewise, had his dog moment where through the influence of the rest of his family, he learned to tolerate dogs.
Pacificsun Adanor 3 months ago
Dog handlers were most always present on sets, because the ASPCA was actively involved in the protection of animals (just as with children). But in the end even beloved dogs are still "animals" and subject to unpredictable behavior. Anything could've have triggered the dog's fear.
Mark091 3 months ago
GARRY MARSHALL the creater of
HAPPY Days was a wonderful person
And since he passed away the world
Is now called Sad Days.
GARRY Marshall did a great job directing the 1974 Halloween Episode
Of Happy Days . That second season
Halloween episode of Happy Days
Was called Haunted and Ralph Malph Donny Most had a Halloween party at the old Simpson House . BAG ZOMBROSKI NEIL J Schwartz
Disguised himself as a Ghost and
Scared everyone except Richie Cunningham Ron Howard.
Garry Marshall had a request from
Actor Gavan O Herlihy to be let out of
His contract to play Chuck Cunningham.Chuck CUNNINGHAM
Was a great character and I wish
That Garry Marshall had tried to talk
Gavan O Herlihy into not quitting
His role of Chuck Cunningham.
Gavan O Herlihy might have gotten
Even more TV roles and movie roles
If he had stayed on Happy Days
Playing Chuck. I read an article on the internet that Garry Marshall originally planned for the character
Chuck CUNNINGHAM to have a bigger
Role but what happened was that
Fonzie became so popular that
There wasn't much air time left
For Chuck Cunningham.
Also I noticed that Wendy Misty Rowe
Marsha Simms Beatrice Colen
Trudy Tita Bell Gloria Linda Purl
Chuck CUNNINGHAM (Randolph Roberts) and Bag Zombroski Neil J Schwartz all dissapeared right before
Front of a live audience.
It's too bad that Fonzies dog Spunky
Vanished from Happy Days after only
Two Episodes with no explanation
At all . Reminds me of Tiger from
The Brady Bunch and Lisa's dog
Minju dissapearing from Green Acres.
I wish that Garry Marshall had kept
The characters EUGENE BELVIN Denis Mandel Moose Barry Greenberg
Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein
Bag ZOMBROSKI NEIL J Schwartz
And Marsha Simms Beatrice Colen and Wendy Misty Rowe and
Daphne Hillary Horan and Spike
Danny Butch on Happy Days.
Also since Gavan O Herlihy quit
Playing Chuck Cunningham Then
I wish that Randolph Roberts
Had stayed on Happy Days as
The second Chuck Cunningham.
At least ROGER Phillips Ted Mcginley
Who was another great character
Was on Happy Days from 1980 -
1984 . The best PRACTICAL JOKERS on Happy Days were Bobby MELNER Harris Kal Bag Zombroski Neil J Schwartz and Ralph Malph Donny Most.The world is a better place
Because Garry Marshall gave TV
Viewers Happy Days Laverne and
Shirley and MORK and MINDY
Pacificsun Mark091 3 months ago
Hey thanks, now we know the story behind the mysterious disappearance of the oldest Cunningham brother! Too bad, boy did he miss out on a lucrative career.
Andybandit 3 months ago
Too bad they couldn't show the dog more. It makes me think Fonzie got rid of the dog.
Barry22 Andybandit 3 months ago
Actually Al and Fonzie were holding illeagal dogfights behind Arnolds, and Spunky was killed by a dog named "Mr. Cool". Ayyyyyyy!
LoveMETV22 3 months ago
I wish they brought back Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley on Sunday afternoons, not that I don't like Gilligan's Island but 3hours. I hope they rotate it back at some point.
ScottLeopold 3 months ago
Although we didn't name her, our recently adopted dog is named Minnie Pearl.
LoveMETV22 ScottLeopold 3 months ago
Hee Haw, sorry meant Haha. that's pretty cool though
harlow1313 ScottLeopold 3 months ago
Perhaps you can adopt a male named Junior Samples.
Moverfan harlow1313 2 months ago
Or Archie Campbell...Gordie Tapp...Grandpa Jones...maybe you could just look on IMDB for the Hee Haw cast list if/when you get another dog. (Hello. Minnie! Such a pretty girl!)
Maverick66 3 months ago
The article may be primarily about his fear of dogs, but I got stuck on him making a VD film for the military. Was it titled"Clappy Days"? (Sorry, I couldn't resist).
Load previous comments
Moody stephaniestavr5 3 months ago
His birth name is Clapton.
https://www.ericclapton.com/Bio
Maverick66 Moody 3 months ago
Right. His step-grandfather's last name was Clapp.
madvincent Maverick66 3 months ago
Thank you...
I didn’t dare answer
His mom's name was Patricia Clapton, his dad (last name Fryer) was shipped off to war before Eric's birth. He grew up believing his grandmother and her second husband, Jack Clapp, were his real parents and that his mother was his older sister. Thus, the misconception that Clapp was his real name. Kind of odd how similar the names were, though.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?