‘Happy Days’ Creator Explained How Show Pushed Limits That ‘I Love Lucy’ Never Could

by Jennifer Shea
Nancy R. Schiff/Getty Images

Garry Marshall wasn’t content to rest on his laurels with “Happy Days.” Having created a hit show, he wanted to turn it into a vehicle for an uplifting message.

In a 2000 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Marshall described how they were able to push the boundaries of what subjects a television show could tackle on “Happy Days.” And as a result, he said, they accomplished things that “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “I Love Lucy” never did.

“With ‘Happy Days,’ we could do all the pressure group stuff that we couldn’t do with some of the other situations, that were not done in the ‘Van Dyke,’ ‘Lucy’ days,” Marshall said. “So it became, philosophically, while you have the audience’s attention, you might as well say something. So then we did all our series of – pressure groups in a good sense. We did our diabetes show… I don’t know the politically correct things. But we did all the shows that pointed out to the audience that you can overcome the handicap, you can do all these things.”

“But anyway, ‘Happy Days’ tried all these different types of shows,” he concluded. And according to Marshall, the most emotional of those had to be the show in which Fonzie cried.

Watch Marshall discuss how “Happy Days” pushed the limits of television sitcoms here:

‘Happy Days’ Star Ron Howard Has a Memoir Coming Out

Richie Cunningham actor Ron Howard has a new book hitting bookstores this autumn. It’s called “The Boys.” And it’s a memoir he co-wrote with his brother Clint.

The book drew its inspiration from the brothers’ grief over the death of their father Rance. An actor and a family man, Rance passed away in 2017 at age 89. Their mother, Jean Speegle Howard, died of heart and respiratory illnesses in 2000. She was 73.

Rance’s death prompted the Howards to look back at their respective childhoods. Both were child actors. Ron appeared on “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Happy Days.” Clint acted in “Star Trek” and “Gentle Ben.” Both of them feel that period of time shaped their later lives.  

In writing the book, the brothers had a chance to reflect on the happy childhoods their parents had given them. And they marveled at how lucky they were to avoid the fate of many other child stars in Hollywood.

“We’re excited to share the story of how our parents pulled this off— raising two show-business kids who had no clue that their lives were out of the ordinary while rooting them in a loving, slightly off-beat family,” Ron said in a statement.

“Mom and Dad’s teachings are treasures to this day but I’ve realized that I took their presence for granted,” Clint added. “Writing ‘The Boys’ with my brother has been the topper of a wonderful lifetime.”