Happy Days star Anson Williams once opened up about playing in a band on the hit show and the inspiration behind forming it. In fact, he took a cue from two other popular ’70s TV shows, which incorporated music into their sitcoms and even took the acts on tour.
Fans of Happy Days may not realize how many aspiring musicians were in the cast and behind the camera. Williams, who played Potsie on Happy Days, thought they could capitalize on their own musical talents in more ways than one. As he tells it, he saw how successful The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch were utilizing music on their shows. In addition, some of their cast members were able to break into the music industry with charted singles.
David Cassidy of The Partridge Family was a pop sensation on and off the show who toured the world with his music. To a lesser extent, so were the kids from The Brady Bunch who also toured and sold-out concerts all over. The actors didn’t make huge money back in the day from their TV shows. But live concerts were a different story.
Therefore Williams thought forming a band would be a great way to garner more interest in Happy Days. Additionally, it would open up another, more lucrative gig for them as touring musicians. Williams became the lead singer of the Happy Days house band, and went on to record the 1977 charted single “Deeply.”
“I had this idea, I talked to [Happy Days creator] Garry Marshall. I said, ‘Gary, you’ve got girls on the show, you’ve got cars on the show, we need a band at Arnold’s and I sing!’ ‘You sing?'” Anson Williams shared with Australia’s Studio 10 in 2019.
“I got a record contract, started singing on the show,” Williams added. “I was getting nine or twelve hundred dollars a week on the show, and $17,000 a night doing a concert.”
‘Happy Days’ Star Reveals Many of the Show’s Best Moments Were Created ‘Spontaneously’
During the same interview, Anson Williams and his co-star Don Most opened up about the collaborative nature of the show. They also shared that many of Happy Days best moments were created “spontaneously.”
Williams shared how collaborative things were and how important it was for the cast. For example, his suggestion to start a band on the show was taken on and used to great success. While speaking to Studio 10, the pair were asked about some of the specific catchphrases that became part of pop culture canon. That same collaborative effort created many of those as well.
“[Happy Days creator] Garry Marshall would allow a lot of openness for input. And I really think the show elevated because we were all able to contribute. Like cool things, just spontaneously. Like [Ralph Malph’s catchphrase] ‘I still got it.’ I came up with [calling the Cunninghams] Mr. and Mrs. C. This collaboration just added so many levels to the show. And then we all felt even a deeper part of it. We weren’t just actors, we were contributors,” Williams explained.
Ralph Malph actor Don Most shared an example of how their spontaneous catchphrases caught on. He said that his most famous catchphrase of, “I still got it,” came from director Jerry Paris.
“He used to do it all the time. So one day we were getting ready to do a scene at Arnold’s, and I didn’t tell anybody. I went ‘I still got it,’ and everyone in the crew went nuts. Jerry loved it, but even the people in the audience liked it,” Most revealed.
“Your big mistake…” Williams said to Most with a grin on his face.
“I didn’t copyright it,” Most responded.
“You didn’t get the URL,” Williams jokingly agreed as the two shared a laugh.