Happy Days fans adored Mrs. Cunningham. OK, we’ll just call her Mrs. C. She was everybody’s TV mom, patient, funny and serving the tastiest snacks. If you were a neighborhood kid, you hung out at the Cunningham house.
But Mrs. C also was your typical middle-class, suburban housewife. She worried about her marriage. She especially worried about her marriage with Mr. C, aka Howard Cunningham. Mrs. C grew very anxious after one of Howard’s friends divorced his wife to be with a much younger woman. See, problems in the 1950s are the same in 2021.
Since Happy Days was a comedy series, writers addressed the martial tension in a most funny way. It was so funny that actress Marion Ross named it as her best of the series. She did a Q&A with Entertainment Weekly back in 2008. Fans could ask her most anything. The magazine’s writer started it off.
So, Marion Ross, What Scene on Happy Days Made You TV’s Funniest Mother?
Entertainment Weekly asked the actress, “If you had to submit one scene from Happy Days to secure your win as TV’s Funniest Mother, which would you choose?”
Ross quickly answered. It was that time she dressed as an exotic dancer. Wait, what?
She said: “Well, I had a wonderful one where I did a belly dance for Howard, to put some spunk back in the marriage. It is so funny. The writers said, ‘Marion comes down the stairs doing a belly dance.’ I thought, Did anybody ask me if I could do this?
The first fan question also was about the belly dance scene. Someone wanted to know how hard it was to play it.
She answered: “I remember it as not being a good day at all. When I see it, it looks very nice and easy. I had lines like, “Treat me rough… Treat me rough.” But when you put on that costume, that helps.”
Ross dressed up in orange and gold, a Milwaukee version of a belly dancer. And folks still remember the scene. You can buy a copy of Mrs. C dressed as an exotic dancer on eBay. It’ll cost you about $10.
“Marion’s Misgivings” was the 17th episode of the fifth season. It first aired on Jan, 24, 1978. The episode also featured an appearance by rocker Suzi Quatro, known on the show as Leather Tuscadero.
Getting back to Marion Ross’ Q&A. Another fan asked about Mrs. C’s relationship with Fonzie. There was that time the two entered a dance contest together, so?
“Well, we just adored each other,” Ross said of Henry Winker, her Happy Days co-star. “That was all. [Winkler] always made such a fuss over me. And it would fluster me so. The more flustered I would be, then the more he would do that to me. We’re very, very close friends. I just adore him.”