When stars get power on a TV series, they get to make decisions. Henry Winkler, who played “Fonzie” on “Happy Days,” didn’t like a script.
Winkler, whose Arthur Fonzarelli character took “Happy Days” fandom into another orbit, was sitting with his fellow cast members for what’s called a table read. The show’s top star was Ron Howard, whose own experience in TV shows dates back to playing Opie on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
But “Fonzie” kept people tuning in week after week on ABC.
The table read takes place at the start of a week’s production so the cast gathers, sits around a table and reads through the script for an episode.
Well, Henry Winkler, who has a background in theater productions, really didn’t like one particular script. Real-life Winkler is known by those he’s worked with and friends as a pretty even-keeled, kind, friendly person.
Henry Winkler Tossed Script Focused On ‘Mork’ Character
Anson Williams, who played “Potsie” on the show, recalls a script which executive producer Garry Marshall brought in. It focused on introducing Mork, an alien character played by comedian Robin Williams, to the show.
Anson Williams, according to an interview, said the writers didn’t get it and the cast was presented with a “horrible” script.
“They didn’t figure it out,” Williams said. “We got this script that was horrid.”
Henry Winkler wasn’t having anymore of the table read, throwing the script against a wall.
“Henry is, like, the most calm, civilized man on Earth,” Williams said. “That script went against the wall. Because we were all embarrassed. We were used to great material.”
Ultimately, Robin Williams got the job as Mork. Winkler said in an interview that Williams saved both the character and script with his own humor.
Winkler’s Fonzie-Pinky Romance Gets Cut Short On Show
Now it wasn’t against the grain for Arthur Fonzarelli to seek romance in his life. After all, the greased-back, motorcycle-riding “Fonzie” always got the chicks.
“Happy Days” introduced Pinky Tuscadero as a main love interest for “Fonzie.” It looked like a match made in TV heaven.
Roz Kelly, the actress selected to play Pinky, didn’t see herself as part of the cast. The entire run of “Pinky” on the popular show totaled three episodes.
Kelly later told People Magazine that “I grew up on welfare, so I don’t relate to rich kids.”
Obviously, the “Happy Days” cast received good-paying contracts for their work. But Kelly’s attitude did not fit in with the show and “Pinky” was written out. The show tried to have Leather Tuscadero, Pinky’s sister, on there for a series of episodes. Played by real rock-n-roll guitarist Suzi Quatro, that character didn’t catch on with the viewership, either. She lasted seven episodes, though.
“Fonzie” remains an endearing character all these years later. Fans both young and old alike can catch “Happy Days” in reruns, which keeps Arthur Fonzarelli’s memory alive.