Happy Days was a fan-favorite show during the 1970s and 80s. The show made its actors incredibly famous, almost too much so. One of the stars of the show was Anson Williams. He played Potsie Weber for 220 episodes during the show’s run.
After the show, he went on to have a great career as a TV director, writer, and producer. He also became a recording artist when the show was finished.
During an interview with On Milwaukee in 2014, Williams talked about his time on Happy Days. First and foremost, he certainly enjoyed the time he got to spend on the show. He described how it made him a far better actor.
One thing that Williams talked about was how he recognized that he wasn’t getting paid as much as he wanted. So, instead of asking for a raise on the show, he decided to go another route. The route he chose to go would prove to be incredibly fruitful and well worth his time. Even though it was not the most glamourous thing he did on the show, he was very proud of the work.
“One day, it dawned on me that David Cassidy got a record contract by singing on his show, and The Brady Bunch did, too. I thought, ‘I can sing, sort of, I just need to convince Garry (Marshall) to put me in a band on the show.'”
So, to try and get the singing gig on the show, he asked Garry to have a chat. Garry believed that the Happy Days actor only wanted a raise. Instead, he was shocked when he learned that all Williams wanted was a spot for a band in the show.
Anson Williams Was Able to Start His Own Band During His Time on “Happy Days”
“He stopped in his tracks and said, ‘A band? Do you sing?’ And I said, ‘I’m OK.’ And he told me they were in the process of writing an episode with a frat party in it, and he would try out my idea by writing a band into the script.”
Garry told Williams that he would be singing a ballad to a bulldog. The show’s director was confident that no matter how good or bad he was at singing, it would be a good scene.
Interestingly, this was also the title of the book he wrote. Williams’ book is called “Singing To A Bulldog: From ‘Happy Days’ to Hollywood and the Unlikely Mentor Who Got Me There.”
“So I sang in the frat party episode, and Garry liked it,” Williams remembered. “He wrote in the band about every third episode.”
After the recognition on the show, Williams’ musical career progressed quickly. “I got a record deal and booked concerts all over the country. But the best part was Garry was proud of me and said that instead of complaining about my salary, I used what I had to create more for myself.”
In the interview, Williams notes how grateful he was to have a director like Garry. But, he added an interesting snippet to the conversation.
He said that when he was “singing to the bulldog,” it felt like the direct opposite of “jumping the shark.” He was asked to clarify what that meant.
Williams said, “‘Jumping the shark,’ the expression, comes from Happy Days. It’s the precise moment something starts to decline. ‘Singing to a bulldog’ is the exact moment you start to climb.”