‘Happy Days’ Star Ron Howard Once Opened Up About How Show Inspired Interest in 50s

by Courtney Blackann

It’s not Friday but we’re flashing back anyway. The iconic Ron Howard of “Happy Days” was once interviewed on The Mike Douglas Show in 1974. As a very young adult, Howard still had mature insights about how the family comedy series garnered an interest in the 1950s.

During the interview, Howard brings up a point about what the show can do for kids’ interest in furthering their education. He says that because the series takes place in the 1950s – a time of nostalgia – that some viewers may find they want to learn more about America in the 1950s.

“I think that people in school might be a little more interested in the 50s. I saw this film a long time ago called ‘How the West Was Won’ and it was a tremendous film. And suddenly, I started going out and reading about the West and the Civil War – and this is when I was like eight years old. And up until this time I couldn’t care less about the West. But because I saw this film about it, suddenly I was interested. You don’t get much about the 50s in school. But maybe they’ll be a little more interested,” Howard says.

‘Happy Days’ Icon Reflects on Growing Up on Set

And while it’s uncertain how accurate the “Happy Days” actor was about that insight is undetermined. However, “Happy Days” has since – and still is – considered one of the greatest family shows of its time. It not only propelled Howard and Henry Winkler into Hollywood royalty, it drew fans to its comedic plot lines. That hasn’t stopped. For generations, after the series ended, it’s been replayed on Nick at Night and other throwback channels.

Further, “Happy Days” aired from 1974 to 1984 with 255 episodes in 11 seasons. The young adults who brought Richie Cunningham and Fonzie to life grew up throughout the series.

Howard would famously go on to become a storyteller himself. He’s directed and written several major motion pictures. He’s also won two Oscars for his work on “A Beautiful Mind.”

But Howard wasn’t new to film and television when he took the part on “Happy Days.” The actor famously grew up under writer/actor Rance Howard. He remembers rehearsing lines when he was little more than a toddler.

“It’s kind of an interesting way to grow up,” Howard says during the same interview. “It’s all we ever knew. I started doing scenes with my dad when I was like 2 ½… I used to sit around and watch [my dad’s] rehearsals. And I started picking up dialogue… I learned lines, and then we learned other scenes, and we did it for fun.”

He goes on to add:

“And so when I started doing it, when I was like 4, it was just a matter of doing it with other people,” Howard went on. “And I got a big kick out of it. I liked it.”