“Happy Days” may have started Ron Howard’s and Henry Winkler’s professional partnership. But it wasn’t the last sitcom they appeared in together. Years after the adventures of Richie Cunningham and the Fonz ended, the two appeared in “Arrested Development.”
“Arrested Development” aired for three seasons in the early 2000s. The show was critically acclaimed for being ahead of its time. But Fox canceled the show in 2006 due to low ratings. But Netflix resurrected the series in 2013 for two additional seasons. The comedy starred the dysfunctional Bluth family, featuring actors like Jason Bateman and the late Jessica Walter.
But Howard and Winkler also made guest appearances on the show. Howard served as executive producer and helped conceive the series. He also acted as the nameless narrator, chronicling the everyday lives of the Bluth family.
In later seasons, Howard and some of his family played fictionalized versions of themselves, interacting with the often selfish Bluths. Howard only appeared as himself in the revival seasons. But the show mentioned him in the original.
‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Recurred on the Show
Like Howard, “Happy Days” star Henry Winkler played on the show. Winkler’s character was a far cry from the Fonz. He played the incompetent and scrupulous defense attorney Barry Zuckerkorn on the show rather than a fictional version of himself like Howard.
Winkler’s Zuckerkorn often tried to act on behalf of the Bluth family but was rarely ever good at his job. In fact, he ended up disbarred. During the show, the character featured numerous callbacks to Winkler’s time on “Happy Days.”
For instance, Winkler combed his hair in the mirror in the same exact manner as the Fonz frequently did while on “Happy Days.” Meanwhile, the character jumps over a dead shark in another episode, a callback to when the Fonz performed a waterskiing stunt over a shark. The phrase became synonymous with “Happy Days” drop in quality and has been frequently used to describe other shows.
Over the years, Howard and Winkler have maintained their friendship. So it makes sense that Howard would cast Winkler in a role on the sitcom. Winkler also appeared in Howard’s very first major studio film. Howard felt nervous about being the director and wanted a familiar face around. He cast Winkler in the lead role opposite Michael Keaton in 1982’s “Night Shift.” That film ended up being a success for both Winkler and Howard as well.