“Happy Days” star Henry Winkler still remembers the historic moment when John and Julian Lennon met the cast of “Happy Days.” In 1974, the father-son pair stopped by the show’s set and spent the day there.
The co-lead singer of The Beatles passed away in December of 1980, shot in front of his Manhattan home by an unhinged fan. He was 40. But before he died, he had two children, Julian and Sean.
Winkler has since said that the group photo they took with Lennon is his most prized possession. He told Jimmy Kimmel in 2018 that Lennon was quiet at first that day, but when Winkler started talking about his solo album Imagine, Lennon “opened like a flower.”
“What a great moment!!!” the “Happy Days” star tweeted Tuesday, in response to a tweet about the group photo by a Beatles fan account.
‘Happy Days’ Stars Got to Spend a Day with John Lennon and His Son
In an interview posted by Pop Goes the Culture TV, Potsie actor Anson Williams recounted how the Lennons arrived at the “Happy Days” stage and surprised the cast by spending the day with them. He said Lennon was an unpretentious presence on set that day. And he sort of wishes he’d asked for a doodle.
“It was during the first year of ‘Happy Days,’” Williams recalled. “It wasn’t three-camera yet, we weren’t filming in front of a live audience. We were at some stage way in the back of Paramount. Just shooting… typical day. And I go over to grab a cup of coffee, and I see this man and his son. All by himself. I come back. This grip, electrician, someone by the coffee machine there, looks, [goes] just like, ‘John Lennon.’ It was John Lennon.”
“Nobody told us he was coming on the set,” Williams added. “Nobody. John Lennon and his son Julian. Julian was 10 at the time. And John Lennon proceeded to spend the entire day, til we wrapped, with us. The nicest, most congenial, humblest, shyest man. And there he is doing doodles for the crew!”
Williams said the “Happy Days” cast was too proud to ask for doodles or autographs. But they did all take a picture together. And that picture has gone down in pop culture history.
Watch Williams recount that moment in history here:
John Lennon Married Twice Before Tragic Death
Lennon’s son Julian was named for Lennon’s mother, Julia, who died at a young age when a car driven by an off-duty police officer hit her, according to Biography.com. Lennon divorced Julian’s mother, Cynthia Powell, in 1968, after six years of marriage. He married Yoko Ono, Sean’s mother, in 1969.
Later that year, Lennon quit the Beatles, on the heels of recording their album Abbey Road. He would go on to release multiple solo albums, from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band to Double Fantasy, his final album.
The founding member of The Beatles joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame posthumously in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.