On This Day: ‘Happy Days’ Airs Series Finale in 1984

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Back in 1984, “Happy Days” finished its amazing run on ABC on this day with an hour-long finale featuring a marriage and Fonzie getting a son.

So, let’s set it all up for a minute. The episode titled “Passages” shows Chachi, played by Scott Baio, asking Joanie, played by Erin Moran, to be his wife. This comes on the heels of the twosome breaking up for a bit. Meanwhile, Fonzie, played by Henry Winkler, is adopting Danny, his little brother from the Big Brother program.

Hurdles appear, though, as the adoption agency isn’t too sure about Fonzie being a father. It takes both him and Howard Cunningham, played by Tom Bosley, to convince the by-the-book administrator that Arthur Fonzarelli will be a good father.

What do you think happens in this “Happy Days” finale? Fonzie has to become a father, right? You bet your motorcycle he does.

‘Happy Days’ Finishes Up 11-Season Run on ABC With Fonzie as Main Focus

“Happy Days” ran for 11 seasons from 1974-84. Its main stars were Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham, Winkler, Bosley, Marion Ross as Marion Cunningham, and Moran. Howard had left the show a few seasons before its end to start his directing career.

Other actors who were prominently featured include Anson Williams as Potsie Weber, Don Most as Ralph Malph, Pat Morita as Arnold, and Al Molinaro as Al. This show, which was created by producer-director Garry Marshall, originally was filmed without a studio audience. But that changed and soon, audiences would cheer and applaud for Fonzie a lot.

“Happy Days” began to turn away from other cast members and focus itself on the Fonzie character, something that didn’t sit well with some of the actors. Yet Howard made it clear that, while he didn’t like the direction of the show, he never had issues with Winkler personally.

Now one might think a show as popular as this one would win a lot of Emmy Awards. You also might think its stars would have a pile of them stacked up, too. This show received nine Emmy nominations and only won one. None of its main stars won an Emmy at all. The lone victory? In 1978, Ed Cotter picked up one for “Outstanding Film Editing In A Comedy Series.”

Not one for Howard, Winkler, or anyone else. That’s pretty amazing for a show that lasted as long as “Happy Days” did on ABC. But the show, which took its inspiration from the George Lucas-directed “American Graffiti,” left a mark on American culture.

Like many other TV shows, it lives on in the world of reruns for classic TV fans.