‘Happy Days’: Henry Winkler Once Revealed the Show Used Exact Same Stage as Another Iconic Sitcom

by Matthew Wilson

Many consider “Happy Days” to be a classic, capturing an era that’s long gone. But the show also had this in common with another classic sitcom. Both “Happy Days” and “I Love Lucy” filmed on the exact same stage, just decades apart.

Star Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz on the show, discussed behind the scenes of the show. As an actor, Winkler revealed nothing has changed too much about the craft. While technology and equipment have evolved, acting has remained largely the same.

Back in 2011, the “Happy Days” star revealed the sitcom filmed at Stage 19 where “I Love Lucy” was once made.

“What has changed is on the set of ‘Happy Days,’ which was Stage 19 on Paramount lot. The same stage that Lucy used when she did ‘I Love Lucy,'” Winkler told Pop Entertainment. “We had a camera that was so gigantic it took three people to move the dolly. And now the camera is tiny compared and most of it is a tape, which looks like film.” 

Henry Winkler on Technology Changes

Of course, Lucille Ball might have something to say about technology and how it’s changed the entertainment industry. Filming on “Happy Days” was a very different beast than the days of “I Love Lucy.” And television itself was very different.

Back in those days, a show like “I Love Lucy” was a big risk. At the time, studios didn’t record shows on film like they would for “Happy Days” and other sitcoms. They usually filmed shows live for audiences, resulting in shows vanishing after airing. Ball and Desi Arnaz essentially created the re-run and syndication that other shows like “Happy Days” would capitalize on.

But likewise, it’s been a long while since “Happy Days” first graced the screen. The show first aired back in 1974, focusing on audiences’ nostalgia for the 1950s. Nowadays, audiences have more of a nostalgia for the era in which the sitcom aired. The 1980s and 90s are in vogue now entertainment-wise.

Winkler reflected on how technology has changed since the 1970s. For one, cameras have got a lot smaller and more mobile.

“When I did the movie ‘Click,’ with Adam Sandler, it was the first time that they used the Genesis, which was the tape camera designed to make movies,” Winkler said. “Now, today, they can shoot movies on your home, you know, camera that you take photographs as a family with, through Canon, I think.  Isn’t that amazing?”