Ron Howard wasn't stoked when Henry Winkler stole the spotlight on Happy Days

“I was still in every scene, and my parts were the same, but I felt awkward,” Howard said.

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The fifth season of Happy Days began with a three-part "Hollywood" episode most famous for the scene in which Fonzie jumped over a shark on water skis.

As many opinions as there are about that scene on the family sitcom, the premise of the episode, which found Fonzie overnight cast as "the next James Dean" was not too far off from what actually happened to Henry Winkler once Happy Days premiered and he became an overnight teen idol.

The Tampa Tribune noted in 1974 that within six months of Happy Days being on air, Ron Howard was no longer the star of his own show. Henry Winkler had come out of nowhere to become a weird new kind of TV folk hero, easily stealing the spotlight from the child star who had long been regarded as his generation’s greatest talent.

How did that happen?

In 1977, Ron Howard told the Intelligencer Journal that Winkler's sudden popularity did catch him off-guard.

Asked if he felt threatened by Winkler's rising star, Ron said, "I did in the third season we were on air. Before that, 75 percent of the stories had centered around Richie, and then the percentage dropped to 35 percent. I was still in every scene, and my parts were the same, but I felt awkward."

You can hardly blame the producers for responding to how big a hit that Fonzie was with the kids. His popularity in 1975 was undeniable to anyone who stepped inside the mailroom at Paramount Studios, where 85 percent of fan mail was reportedly addressed to Winkler.

That year, the Press-Telegram asked Winkler why he thought the Fonz was so popular.

"I think it's mainly his strength — but then he's also human, he's not just a tough guy," Winkler said.

Whatever made Fonzie so charming, Winkler proved it didn't take growing up on TV to draw a huge crowd to rally around a new show.

In 1974, TV audiences were so excited for an opportunity to meet the Happy Days boys at a fashion show in Texas, the Texas Tribune reported that 25,000 people turned out.

"We just stood there and listened to the roar," Winkler said. "It was like being a Beatle for a minute."

Although there was some awkward tension between Howard and Winkler as two stars unpredictably fighting for top billing on the same sitcom, fortunately it didn't affect their work on the show or their relationship behind the scenes.

"It's a very easy job, very relaxing," Howard said of working on Happy Days. "I like the people I'm working with."

For Winkler, who experienced his breakout on Happy Days, his rise to fame may have been a whirlwind, but asked about his feelings when it came to the instant, overwhelming popularity of his character, the young actor showed that like the Fonz, he was just as cool as a cucumber.

"I have a lot of fun creating Fonzie, and it's wonderful if people enjoy him,” Winkler told the Press-Telegram.

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Mark091 39 months ago
MOOSE played by Barry Greenberg on
Season one of HAPPY DAYS was one
Of the smartest characters on the
Show because Richie Postie Ralph
Fonzie and several other kids went to
The drag race between Skizzy and
Fonzie . All of the kids at the drag
Race were grounded but Moose
Was Very Smart not to go to the
Drag race so Moose wasn't grounded
And he enjoyed a dance with a girl
(Carey Williams ) So Moose was a
Smart character not to go to that
Drag race. Way to go Moose!!!!!
Also Eugene Belvin played by
Denis Mandel was also a smart
Character on Happy Days.
When Jenny Piccalo Cathy Silvers
Told Eugene Belvin not to tell
Fonzie that she spread the
Rumor about Mikki Crystal Bernard
EUGENE told Jenny that he would
Tell Fonzie that Jenny spread the
Rumor unless she agreed to be
His girlfriend
Mark091 Mark091 39 months ago
Moose (Barry Greenberg) and
Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel)
Weren't the only smart characters on Happy Days
Bag Zombroski (Neil J Schwartz)
And fellow Demon Hank (Ed
Begley Jr) were also smart characters on Happy Days.
Bag and Hank were smart enough to make Richie and
Postie make fools of themselves
By making them perform the
Deadly Dares (kissing Marsha Simms Beatrice Colen etc)
Bag was a smart practical Joker
When he he disguised himself
As a ghost at the old Simpson
House and scared everyone except Richie Cunningham Ron Howard. Bag also tricked Richie Postie and Ralph when they had
To run through Arnold's Drive in
in their underwear because they
Didn't come up with dates
Because Hoodie (Maureen Mccormick) and the other two
Girls turned them down.
Bag tricked Richie Postie and Ralph because BAG told them
That Mary Ann Mccarthy turned
Him down also . Watch the Happy Days Episode CRUISING
From season 2 to see Richie have a drag race with Dooley
(Michael Lembeck).
Did Bag get the last laugh in
The Episode CRUISING?Watch
Cruising and find out!!
Also Roger Phillips Ted Mcginley
And Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein were smart enough to
Like classical music when Jenny Piccalo Cathy Silvers and
Bobby Harris Kal and all the other kids didn't appreciate
Classical music. Later Fonzie Henry Winkler and Cynthia
Brannigan (MARLA Pennington)
Went to a classical concert
And Fonzie finally liked classical music. On another Happy Days
Episode Fonzie Henry Winkler
Didn't like folk music at first
But after Fonzie talked to Howard Cunningham (Tom
Bosley) talking about big band
Music was great music that's
When Fonzie finally realized
That folk music was okay
Joanie Cunningham Erin Moran
And CHACHI Arcola Scott Baio
Even sang a folk song on a TV show. Roger Phillips Ted Mcginley was smart on another
Happy Days Episode when he
Realized that his old girlf
Lorraine was only using him
And Roger Phillips realized that
He needed a girlfriend that really
Cared for him and not waste
His time pining for Lorraine
A girl who liked Roger but not
As a boyfriend
Al Delveccho Al Molinaro
Learned a big lesson when
His old flame Rosa Coletti
Came to Milwaukee and Al realized
That Rosa Coletti didn't miss him as much as he missed her.
Chuck Cunningham (Randolph Roberts) learned a lesson when
He invited Richie to be his
Roommate and Richie ordered
Chuck Trudy Tita Bell Postie
Ralph and Susie and Chuck's
Basketball team out of Chuck's
Apartment so that Richie and
Gloria (Linda Purl) could be alone on their date
Deleted 39 months ago
This comment has been removed.
CouchPotato19 39 months ago
Uh-oh, you're having contractions?
FalcoPhoenix821 39 months ago
Fonzie had the leather jacket, and the motorcycle so he was going to be the fan favorite by default. Plus using a character sparingly helps, when they start to over expose a character like Fonzie is when it becomes uncool really quick.
ScoobyDoo169 39 months ago
I love the Fonz. He is my favorite character and is so cool. I wish there had been a Fonz like person at my high school. I love when he hits the jukebox and turns it on. I think he was cooler at the beginning though. He should have quit while he was ahead because he started getting older and he acted older instead of staying the same. I think the whole Happy Days show and characters were better and cooler at the beginning when they were in high school. I love Chachi in the later episodes so he sort of took over that favorite character spot for me. I never thought the parents were cool though.😂
pius 39 months ago
Ron Howard had star billing in the beginning.
cperrynaples pius 39 months ago
Yes, he remained top billed until he left in 1980!
Andybandit 39 months ago
I liked the season of Happy Days until Richie left for the military, then it got stupid. The show with William Shatner, Henry Winkler, George Forman, and Terry Bradshaw was called "Better Late Then Never".
Mark091 39 months ago
Does anyone who is a fan of
Happy Days know who the first
Character on Happy Days to
Dissapear from the show with no explanation?????
FalcoPhoenix821 Mark091 39 months ago
Chuck? Ritchie's brother. Who was played by Gavin O'Herlihy.
Mark091 FalcoPhoenix821 39 months ago
Chuck Cunningham (Gavan O
Herlihy might be the first character to dissapear from Happy Days with no explanation
So CC might be the right answer. Does anyone in METV
Land know if Chuck Cunningham was first character
To Vanish from Happy Days with no explanation or was there
Another character on Happy Days who vanished with no explanation BEFORE CHUCK
Mark091 Mark091 39 months ago
I found out that Chuck Cunningham was NOT the first character to dissapear from Happy Days with no explanation.
The first character to dissapear from Happy Days with no explanation was the character
MOOSE played by BARRY GREENBERG followed by
EUGENE BELVIN (Denis Mandel )
MELVIN BELVIN (Scott Bernstein)
FLIP Phillips (Billy Warlock) and
KC Cunningham Crystal Bernard.
Mark091 Mark091 39 months ago
As one of the characters who
Vanished from Happy Days with no explanation. WENDY'S last
Episode on Happy Days was
Kiss ME SICKLEY on season 2.
Mark091 39 months ago
I hope that METV will decide to write
An Article about The Best PRACTICAL
JOKERS On TV SITCOMS of all time
Mark091 Mark091 39 months ago
I hope that METV will decide to
Write an article about the Best
PRACTICAL Jokers on TV Sitcoms of all time:
Uncle Arthur Paul Lynde-Bewitched
Hawkeye Alan Alda on MASH
Ralph Malph Donny Most on Happy Days
Eddie Haskell Ken Osmond on
Leave it to Beaver
Lumpy Rutherford Frank Bank Leave It to Beaver
Wally Plumstead Skip Young on The Adventures of OZZIE and Harriet
BAG Zombroski Neil J Schwartz on Happy Days
Phil Franklin(Lennie Weinrib on
The Dick Van Dyke Show)
Sgt Hacker Allan Melvin on GP
Sgt Carter Frank Sutton on GOMER PYLE USMC)
Buddy Sorrel (Morey Amsterdam on the Dick Van Dyke Show)
Bobby (Harris Kal on Happy Days)
Duke Slater Ronnie Schell on
Murray and Carvelli on Welcome
Back Kotter )
Cousin Edgar Arte Johnson on Bewitched
Mel Cooley Richard Deacon on the Dick Van Dyke Show
Sgt Whipple Buck Young on GOMER PYLE USMC
Goober PYLE (George Lindsey on
Emmet Clarke Paul Hartman on
Mark091 39 months ago
Happy Days Fans:
You Tube has videos of several
Happy Days Cast Members:
The Best of SPIKE
Whatever happened to Chuck Cunningham?
Moose and Girl Dancing (epilogue
From HD episode Guess Who's Coming To Visit )
Visiting Cemeteries where Happy
Days cast members who passed away
Are buried
The two Chuck Cunningham's
There are several Whatever Happened to the cast of Happy Days
Videos and several Chuck Cunningham videos
I believe that there is A Best of
Leather Tuscedero (Suzi Quattro
AKA The Fonz (Officer Kirk VS
The Fonz)
Several Fonzie and Richie Videos
(Sit on it Officer KIRK!!!!!!!!)
Also the Best of ARNOLD Video

39 months ago
I never understood the "Fonzie" phenomenon. I always saw Winkler as a namby-pamby, Ivy League, good little Jewish boy..."Why can't YOU be more like that good boy, Henry Winkler?"
Patrick 39 months ago
I remember reading that it was Fred Silverman who made the final call to make Fonz the star of the show because he thought that would improve the ratings.
jimmyvici 39 months ago
Not surprised. Winkler is a glory hound. He was such a drama queen in that show with Terry Bradshaw and William Shatner and George Foreman where they traveled the world. He had to be at the forefront in every scene, wherever they all went
Corey 39 months ago
By the last season that Ron Howard was a regular Richie became the biggest nerd and annoying.
CalvinOrlandi 39 months ago
When you look at the first few episodes the show looked as if it were going to be a honest peak back at that era as seen through the eyes of a average teenage male. Not the supernatural, (Mork from Ork) or a three ring circus. (shark jumping) The show took a great idea and Molachied it right into a real Pinky Tuscadera in the count of four... Uno dos tres Suzi Cuatro. And the way good old Fonz made women into weak kneed sexual objects was disgusting. Not to mention he was afraid of motorcycles. WOOOAHHH!
Wiseguy CalvinOrlandi 39 months ago
It's Pinky Tuscadero (character) and Suzi Quatro (singer, actress). What the hell is molachied? Are you saying the Fonz (a character) or Henry Winkler (actor) was afraid of motorcycles? Please learn to write in English.
CalvinOrlandi Wiseguy 38 months ago
Hey Wiseguy, sit on it!
JDnHuntsvilleAL 39 months ago
What I've always found weird is that Winkler became popular portraying a really cool Fonzie during seasons 1 & 2, so they give him a bigger role while at the same time CHANGING HIS CHARACTER from "cool" to being the BIGGEST NERD OF THE GROUP. Hollywood. 9-9
Cowgirl 39 months ago
I always thought the show was much better before it focused on Fonzie. Instead of being about Richie, his sister & his friends coming of age, like it started, the show became all about Fonzie. I stopped watching it after the 4th season.
Barry22 Cowgirl 39 months ago
I stopped watching it during season 3, and rarely watch the reruns. Really silly show. (But that's just me). Cannot argue with it's success.
Wiseguy Barry22 39 months ago
"...its success." It's is a contraction, usually for "it is."
Wiseguy Barry22 39 months ago
The third season may have been different from the first two not only in production (audience) but also in the writing (Fonzie more prominent). But it was also funnier with the highlight being the introduction of Laverne and Shirley. It wasn't until the fourth season with the writing getting lazier and the audience over-reacting to the sight of Fonzie that it started going downhill. I never completely stopped watching it but stopped watching regularly after the fourth or fifth year.
Caroler01 Wiseguy 39 months ago
Why don’t you shut up. You do nothing but offer criticism.
Mark091 Caroler01 39 months ago
I AGREE with you. All Wiseguy
Does is offer criticism and make
Fun of METV viewers and make
Fun of their comments.
Also when I was talking about
Moose (Barry Greenberg) from
Happy Days Junior Hocker (Russell Horton) from Petticoat Junction and Angela Brown
(Ann Marshall) from My Favorite
Martian were the victims of "The
3 Episode Curse because Moose
Junior Hocker and Angela Brown
Disappeared from their Sitcoms
With no explanation Wiseguy
Doesn't realize that I was making a JOKE when I said that
Those on 3 characters were victims of the 3 episode curse.
Of course I know that there's no
Such thing as a three episode
Curse . The reason I said that
Moose Angela Brown and Junior
Hocker were victims of the 3 episode curse is because I was
Making fun of those 3 characters disappearing after
Only 3 episodes. Wiseguy must
Not have any sense of humor
Or he would have realized that I was only Joking about the 3 episode curse.
One METV viewer was joking that Chuck Cunningham was
Abducted by More.
Happy Days producer Garry Marshall once made a Joke
About Chuck Cunningham.
Garry said that Chuck got a
Scholarship to the University of
Mongolia . Laugh and the world
Laughs with you. There's another old expression :If you
Don't have anything nice to say
About someone don't say anything at all.
I wonder if there are any tv viewers out there who realize
That I was JOKING about the
Three episode curse .
Moody Caroler01 39 months ago
metv0702 39 months ago
Ron Howard is a professional and will always be successful at anything he chooses. I believe he is a great person off screen too!
harlow1313 39 months ago
I'm going to be little like that Gomer Pyle guy/gal.

My favorite scene is when Moose slow dances with the frumpy chick. This the show's high water mark. I love only Moose and the frumpy chick.
Mark091 harlow1313 39 months ago
I also like the Happy Days episode where in MOOSE BARRY Greenberg is slow dancing with the girl played by Carey Williams. It's too bad that Moose and the girl he was dancing with both disappeared
From Happy Days. Moose and the girl he was dancing with were a very cute couple.
Moose(Barry Greenberg) on Happy Days Angela Brown Ann
Marshall on My Favorite MARTIAN AND Junior Hocker
(Russell Horton) all appeared in

Three episodes only on their
Sitcoms . Moose Angela Brown and Junior Hocker were all victims of the Three Episode Curse where TV characters on sitcoms vanish after only 3 episodes never to be seen or referred to again .
Cynthia Brannigan played by Marla Pennington on Happy Days
(Fonzie's girlfriend in the episode where Fonzie meets the
Lone Ranger and the episode
Where the kids don't like classical music) was a victim of
The 2 episode curse . After Cynthia Brannigan disappeared
Ashley (Linda Purl) came on HD
As Fonzie's new girlfriend.
Ed Sawyer (William Manteau)and
Lucy Mathews (Marlene Willis) on the Andy Griffith Show
Colonel Harper (Karl Swenson) on GOMER PYLE USMC and
Tommy(Jack Larson) on GP were all victims of the One Episode
Curse on their sitcoms

where e
Mark091 Mark091 39 months ago
The character Junior Hocker
Played by Russell Horton for 3
Episodes Only was on Petticoat
Junction . Junior Hocker and
Herbie Bates (Don Washbrook)
Were two of Billie Jo's boyfriend's on Petticoat Junction.
Wiseguy Mark091 39 months ago
Characters appear when a script featuring them is approved by the producers. If the script doesn't feature the characters or the producers don't accept the script, then the characters don't appear. In other words, it's the decision of the production team. There's no curse.
TeresaDraper 39 months ago
The first three seasons were okay but once the show started to center on Fonzie it got silly. By that time I was in my early 20s and preferred more adult programming.
I doubt Ron Howard was jealous even before HD he knew he wanted a career as a director. He's has a successful career while Winkler was never able to replicate the fame he had as Fonzie
Barry22 TeresaDraper 39 months ago
.....but he was Executive Producer of McGyver. They should have done an episode where Mcgyver jumps a shark on homemade water skis.
Wiseguy TeresaDraper 39 months ago
One of the reasons Ron Howard left Happy Days was Paramount refused to let him direct an episode. Imagine the promotion possibilities of an episode that was directed by Ron Howard today.
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