There’s certain classic television shows that are so popular that even certain catchphrases from them are engrained in our minds. When we hear them or think of them, it takes us right back to watching some our favorite episodes and TV characters.
The two actors and friends came together in 2019 to talk about their experiences on Happy Days. While speaking on Australia’s Studio 10 talk show, the pair were asked about some of the catchphrases that became part of pop culture canon. Williams, who played Potsie on Happy Days, revealed the collaborative nature of the sitcom and how important it was for the cast.
“[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 in the Studio 10 interview.
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.
‘Happy Days’ Star Ron Howard Also Explained How Catchphrases Came to Be
In an October 2006 interview, Happy Days star and famed director Ron Howard also shared details on how certain catchphrases stuck around on the hit sitcom. One of his character Richie Cunningham‘s signature phrases was singing Fats Domino’s hit song Blueberry Hill. When Richie thought he might have a chance with a girl, he’d sing the first line of the classic track.
“It was some kind of moment where Richie thought he was going to do well with a woman. So he startled everyone by singing this smoky rendition of Blueberry Hill. And it just stuck, people loved that,” Ron Howard explained to the Television Academy Foundation.
Howard says those occasional random moments on Happy Days often became notable after the fact. Spontaneous lines sometimes caught on because of the reaction they received from fans. That’s how a line or improvised moment would stick and take on a whole new life as a full-on catchphrase.
“That’s the way most of the catchphrases, or iconic phrases [began]. Fonzie’s ‘Ayyy,’ Blueberry Hill, I had a laugh that I did, the other characters started doing that laugh. And ‘yowza, yowza, yowza’ and sit on it, and stuff like that. They all were just jokes that landed really, really well. And somebody said, ‘We can use that,’” Howard added.