‘Happy Days’: Potsie Actor Anson Williams on Censorship in Television in the 1980s: ‘Such a Different World’

by Will Shepard

Anson Williams got to play Warren “Potsie” Weber on Happy Days for eleven seasons. He was one of the main stars of the show, appearing in 220 of 255 episodes. He was so good on the show that he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Even though he didn’t win Best Supporting Actor for his efforts, it shows just how talented he was on the program.

Williams played the gullible, good-hearted singer for many years in the 1970s and 80s. At that time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was working hard to keep shows censored. Happy Days was progressive for its time, and thus, the FCC was all over the show.

In an interview from 2010, Williams explains just how much censorship that was at the time. He explained to Smashing Interviews Magazine that it was a very intense time for television shows. Happy Days was pushing the boundaries, and consequently, their censorship was incredibly strict.

Anson Williams Explains How Much Censorship There Was During the “Happy Days” Era

During the interview, Williams explains how much has changed since Happy Days. He specifically cites how many different options there are for people to watch nowadays.

“It’s such a different world now, Melissa. When I was doing Happy Days, we had three major networks, and now we have 200. We’ve taken our freedoms and used them in very questionable ways. I think many problems today have to do with people just getting their ‘fifteen minutes of fame.'”

He wasn’t finished there, though, so the Happy Days actor continued. The Potsie actor provided some incredibly specific details about how censorship today is fraudulent.

“Someone can actually do a porn movie or leak a sex tape and become a star and have their faces plastered on national television. That disgusts me, and I don’t think that’s a good message at all to send to the youth. I think we’ve become a sound bite society. Individuals need to realize the cause and effect of their actions. The paparazzi have become a billion-dollar business.”