|Marion Ross and Henry Winkler on Happy Days.
Happy Days is rightfully thought of as a 1970s phenomenon, like leisure suits and disco, but the nostalgic sitcom ran well into the 1980s. It finally expired in 1984 after an incredible run of 11 seasons and 255 episodes. It's weird to think of a quaint, fairly corny show like Happy Days coexisting in the same pop culture landscape as video games, rap music, and Ghostbusters. But it did.
I wonder if the cast and crew of Happy Days had any trepidations in December 1979 about what the new decade would bring. Big changes were soon coming to the ABC series. Ron Howard and Don Most left after the 1979-80 season, for instance. More broadly, America's TV-watching tastes changed in the early '80s, moving away from traditional family sitcoms and toward nighttime dramas (Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest) and action shows (The A-Team, Magnum PI, The Fall Guy). That was definitely bad news for the Fonz and his pals.
As it turned out, the last episode of Happy Days to premiere during the 1970s was Season 7's "Here Comes the Bride, Again." In my opinion, this is one of the highlights of the season. It tells a sweet story about Marion (Marion Ross) convincing her grouchy husband Howard (Tom Bosley) to have a second wedding, since their original wedding took place in a bus depot and was anything but romantic. Their son Richie (Ron Howard) wants to stage the event in the Cunninghams' back yard, but he has numerous obstacles to overcome, including a grouchy neighbor (played by Ron's father Rance Howard) and two incompetent caterers (played by radio comedy legends Bob and Ray).
You can hear everything we have to say about "Here Comes the Bride, Again" on the latest installment of These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast. Hope to see you over there!