‘Happy Days’ Star Anson Williams Says the Show Nearly Didn’t Get Made: Here’s Why

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)

When thinking of some of our favorite classic television shows, few fail to remember the iconic sitcom Happy Days as one of the top favorites of all time. The popular sitcom series certainly started off some prolific careers in the business. But, what if this iconic series never actually made it on air? Well, according to one of the show’s stars, Anson Williams, this was almost the reality. In fact, the original Happy Days pilot episode failed to get off the ground at all, with every network passing on the soon-to-be-classic sitcom.

“We did the pilot, but it didn’t sell,” Anson Williams explains in a recent interview with Closer Weekly. However, the Happy Days creators knew they had something special on their hands from the start. And soon, pop culture would send interest into similar areas. Prompting executives to take a second look at the 1950s era sitcom series.

“A year later, American Graffiti had come out,” explains Williams who portrays Potsie Weber in the iconic classic hit.

Grease was huge [on Broadway], and ABC decided to do it,” the actor continues. Now, when the network decided to green-light the series, however, executives had a few new ideas that would ultimately make Happy Days the series we know and love to this day.

“They added important new characters like Fonzie and Ralph,” Anson Williams notes. And, the actor adds, both he and another television favorite had to try for their legendary roles once more when the series found its way onto television.

“Ron [Howard] and I had to screen-test again,” Williams explains. “They were afraid we might be too old!”

While ‘Happy Days’ Finally Found It’s Home On Television, Williams Almost Never Was On the Hit Series

The story of how Happy Days almost missed making it onto our classic faves list is certainly an intriguing one. However, the man who tells the story almost never made it onto the series in the first place!

In a 2015 interview for OWN, Anson Williams describes how he almost missed his Happy Days audition from the start. But, fate made sure everything turned out as it should be.

“One night I get a call that there’s this audition for this ’50s show,” Williams says in the interview. However, car troubles would make this audtion quite a challenging one for the actor.

“On my way down, my car stopped,” Anson Williams remembers of his Happy Days audition.

“I’m like hours late,” the actor continues, remembering how he finally made it to the studio, checking in with the Paramount Studios receptionist.

“She goes, ‘You’re lucky. We haven’t cast Potsie yet,'” Williams says, and, he notes, this is the first he heard of his Happy Days character’s name.

“I say, ‘What’s a Potsie?’” the actor quips.