‘Happy Days’: One Star Also Stepped Behind the Camera Besides Ron Howard

by Suzanne Halliburton

We all know that Happy Days produced a truly great director. That was Ron Howard, otherwise known as Richie Cunningham.

He won two Academy Awards in 2002 for A Beautiful Mind. The movie earned Best Picture and Best Director. Plus, Howard earned a nomination for the 2009 movie, Frost/Nixon. And he also has a couple of Emmys on the trophy shelf.

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But Howard wasn’t the only Happy Days star who notched some career accomplishments behind the camera.

Did you know Donny Most, who now goes by Don, called the shots on several projects? The guy who played Ralph Malph on Happy Days directed three movies: The Last Best SundayMoola, and Harley’s Hill.

Last Best Sunday released in theaters in 1999, then for streaming services two years later. The movie included Kim Darby, who was known as the young star in John Wayne’s True Grit. The movie’s plot — “Sought by a bigoted sheriff (William Lucking), a migrant busboy (Douglas Spain) hides out for the weekend with a girl (Angela Bettis) whose parents are absent.”

Moola was released in 2007 and it earned an achievement award with the Newport Beach Film Festival. The movie starred Treat Williams and Daniel Baldwin, with an appearance by a young Shailene Woodley. Here’s the plot summary via IMDb: “Based on true events, Moola is a comedic look at some everyday folks who find themselves up against the odds in the powerful world of the mega-corporation.”

Harley’s Hill came out in 2011. And it had an interesting Happy Days connection. Rance Howard, the father of Ron, was in the movie. Its star was Christopher Atkins, best known for Blue Lagoon. The plot for Harley’s Hill was a compact one. “A racing horse chooses a path.”

And there also was another director among the Happy Days trio of best friends.

Anson Williams, aka Potsie Weber, estimated that he’s directed more than 300 hours of TV.

Williams said in a 2015 interview: “Garry Marshall, our (Happy Days) mentor, always inspired us to take advantage and learn everything about the business we can aside from acting. And it was a very important platform in my life. So I was able to start writing. And I’ve been fortunate in directing well over 300 hours of television — and producing. And it also inspired my entrepreneurial abilities.”

Williams list of shows definitely were targeted to a younger audience. He directed both Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210. Williams also directed episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space 9Star Trek: Voyager, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, Charmed and Baywatch. He oversaw five years of The Secret Life Of The American Teenager. That’s when he also worked with Woodley. And he directed episodes of the syndicated series — Hercules and spinoff Xena, Warrior Princess.

Plus, Happy Days icon Henry Winkler got into directing, with nine projects to his name. He even directed Dolly Parton in a 1986 holiday movie called A Smoky Mountain Christmas.

And this Happy Days star also helped out another in a directing project. Howard made his directorial debut in the 1982 movie Night Shift. And Winkler gave it some star power, working opposite Michael Keaton and Shelley Long.