‘Happy Days’: Henry Winkler Says Fonzie Fans Bought Motorcycles Because of Character

by Joe Rutland

“Happy Days” star Henry Winkler played that motorcycle-riding stud “The Fonz” on ABC. Recently, he said that made fans buy them.

Winkler, who was Arthur Fonzarelli on the long-running sitcom, chatted with journalist-author Jonathan Alter for his “Old Goats” column.

“People literally tell me that they ride a motorcycle because the character inspired them, but I never rode a motorcycle in my life,” Winkler said. “I just acted like I knew what I was doing.

Alter said to Winkler that he faked it well, adding that he’d heard the Fonz was “sort-of somebody that you could never be.”

“No, he was somebody that I wanted to be,” Winkler said. “In high school, I would call a girl in the middle of August and I would wear an overcoat because I was so nervous I shook.”

‘Happy Days’ Star Kept ‘Strict’ Household When Kids Were Growing Up

When his kids were younger and even teenagers, Winkler focused on keeping his household under rather strict conditions.

The “Happy Days” star was asked about this when chatting with Alter.

He said to Winkler, “But didn’t they have two strikes against them: one, growing up in the over-privileged part of Los Angeles, and two, their father is very famous. So why aren’t your kids f***ed up?”

Winkler was ready with a response. He said there was no show business in the house and that he and his wife were strict. Winkler adds that there were rules in the house.

What about parties? Don’t think Winkler wasn’t ready for this one. He would call the host’s parents before his kids went there. But he would ask his kids before letting them go, “You’re going to be home, right? Is there drinking?”

So if the parents were not home or planned to allow drinking, then he kept the kids home.

Winkler Takes On Positive Mindset Even With All The Things He’s Been Through

Did the kids hate Winkler for the tight leash? Here’s what he told Alter.

“What I found is that children always say ‘Oh my God, you’re the only person who ever calls. You’re terrible!'” he said. “But, inside they’re going ‘Thank God.'”

With Winkler, it might be hard to even see an eternal optimist through his words.

But look at him in interviews and public appearances. Winkler always has a positive mindset.

“You know how I see my life?” he said in an interview with BBC’s “HARDtalk.” “You know that toy that has sand in the bottom, you punch it, it goes down, and then it comes right back to center, right? You blow it up – plastic. That’s how I see myself. I go down, I get back up, and here I am sitting in this chair.”