‘Happy Days’: All of Richie’s Catchphrases and How They Came About

by Keeli Parkey
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Ron Howard’s starring role on “Happy Days” was incredibly memorable. Part of what made it stick in the minds of millions of television viewers was the character’s quirky reactions to certain situations. As played by Howard, Richie Cunningham’s catchphrases are the stuff of television legend.

So, what did Richie frequently do that entertained audiences?

Well, one “quirk” of his was singing a segment of a hit song by Fats Domino. That song was “Blueberry Hill.”

Richie Cunningham was often heard singing “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill” when he encountered a girl he was interested in. He also sang the song when he felt like he was making progress in a relationship.

Just for reference, you can listen to Fats Domino sing “Blueberry Hill” below.

‘Happy Days’ Brings Phrases Like ‘Bucko’ and ‘Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah’ Into Pop Culture

Other famous Richie Cunningham phrases are the use of the word “Bucko” as well as the use of the phrase “Yowsah, yowsah, yowsah.”

According to MentalFloss.com, Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham used “Bucko” as an insult. The article says the term was first used in the 1880s. Calling someone “bucko” was meant to label them as a “blustering, bragging sort of fellow,” according to the article.

Another essential Richie Cunningham phrase is “yowsah, yowsah, yowsah.” According to MentalFloss.com, using “yowsah” three times in succession clearly demonstrates how much someone is enjoying or giving approval to something.

The MentalFloss.com article also reports that “yowsah” was coined during the 1930s. It reportedly originated with Ben Bernie. Bernie was a musician and it is likely that the writers on “Happy Days” drew inspiration from his life.

Maybe the most relatable of the “Happy Days” characters was Richie Cunningham. And, one of the most recognizable characteristics of Richie Cunningham was his laugh.

During an interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Howard discussed the inspiration behind Richie Cunningham’s unique laugh. And, that source of inspiration just might surprise you. It comes from a film with a topic that is very far removed from the wholesome nature of “Happy Days.”

According to Ron Howard, the inspiration for Richie Cunningham’s laugh has its roots in the film, “The Graduate.” This film starred Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft.

Also according to Ron Howard’s interview, he drew inspiration from Dustin Hoffman’s character in “The Graduate” for the laugh.

“… That laugh was sort of, a little bit inspired by ‘The Graduate,’” Howard said during the interview. “Not literally, but Dustin Hoffman made a lot of little strange little sounds in ‘The Graduate.’”

Here’s a collection of some of the best moments for Richie Cunningham during the successful run of “Happy Days.” This gives the viewer a great chance to see Ron Howard portray the character and share his “Blueberry Hill” and unique laugh with audiences.

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