Set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the 1950?s, HAPPY DAYS revolves around Richie Cunningham and his family and friends. A "wholesome" young man, Richie is a Jefferson High School student who would do anything to get a date an... more »d he spends plenty of time with his friends at Arnold?s, the local burger joint. Contrasting with his wholesome nature is Arthur Fonzarelli, best known as Fonzie, a rough-around-the-edges motorcycle riding high school dropout famous for his slicked hair, leather jacket, and the catchphrase "aaayyyy!" Fonzie is a regular around the Cunningham house, with Mrs. Cunningham doting on him and Richie turning to him for advice on how to attract girls.« less
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 9/18/2012...
This is one TV show that found 3 generations of us watching back in the 70's. My mother loved it, we loved it, and our son (age 6-7) loved it too! Each week was a fun reminder of how we lived in the 1960's and entertained us each and every week!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Happy Days are here again
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 12/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How can it possibly be thirty years already since Happy Days first premiered? That fact makes a guy feel very old, for I can't imagine having grown up without Happy Days; fortunately, being able to watch these classic episodes brings back great memories that almost make me feel young again. As a little kid growing up in the 70s, Happy Days was - without question - the show. I was trying to be Fonzie - strutting around, giving thumbs up, and saying Heyyyy! all the time - even before I learned to read. The show remained a constant presence in my life throughout the 1980s, as well, as it was a staple of after-school programming (back before all the talk shows took over). The first season's episodes were never really my favorite - mainly because a lot of changes were made at the start of the second season, Richie was a little wild that first year, Joanie was still a few years away from babehood, Fonzie was basically just a peripheral character, and - let's face it - there was just way too much Potsie in these early shows. In the first season, Potsie was the second-most important character, although Howard and Marion came on strong in the last half of the season.
Richie really wasn't a clean-cut paragon of virtue in Season One. In the very first episode, he set out to go "All the Way" with a girl who had a "reputation." Over the course of the next fifteen shows, he came home drunk (accompanied by a stripper) from a Marine's bachelor party, got arrested after he snuck out of the house to attend a drag race, put himself through "The Deadly Dares" in order to join The Demons, used a fake ID to get into a strip club, lost his band mates' money in a poker game, came close to leaving home with a bunch of beatniks, almost got a tattoo to impress a girl, and almost got himself into a rumble with The Dukes. Of course, he learned important lessons from all of his adventures - except the lesson that he should stop going along with all of Potsie's hare-brained schemes and plans. There are some truly classic moments in these first 16 episodes, such as Fonzie selecting Richie (in drag) to dance at the sock hop, Richie's first drunk in "Richie's Cup Runneth Over" and Richie's blind date with a really tall girl in "Because She's There."
The gang's all here for the most part, but Ralph Malph is just a jokester you see at Arnold's or parties/dances, and Fonzie is largely just the local king of cool. Both characters' presence tends to increase as the season progresses, but the only real character development we see of Arthur Fonzarelli comes when Fonzie decides to go back to high school in "Fonzie Drops In." Then, of course, there's Chuck, the infamous oldest son of the Cunninghams who simply disappears after this first season. The question is not really why his character was purged from the show with such Stalinist diligence; instead, it's why was he ever there to start with? He did nothing on the show except dribble a basketball.
It's interesting to see how the show became a little more serious as the first season drew to a close. While thoughts of making out with girls were never far from Richie's mind, we witness a rather poignant example of growing up when Richie and Howard square off over the beatnik way of life, see the show take racism head-on in "The Best Man" when Howard has his black army buddy's wedding at his house in spite of his neighbors' protests, and take a moment to reflect on the dangers of the nascent Cold War and the A bomb back in the 1950s.
I hope this Happy Days Season One collection sells like hotcakes because I want all of the other seasons ASAP. I like the next few seasons better, but a lot of fans probably have a special love for these early episodes. If you're a rabid Fonzie fan, don't expect to see the Fonz you know and love in these first season shows, though - there are only glimpses of the central character he would become. Keep in mind, as well, that there are only 16 shows in this first season - Happy Days debuted on January 15, 1974. There are also no extras whatsoever included on these 3 DVDs, a fact which is quite disappointing. Frankly, that means this collection is overpriced. At least we have the episodes themselves, though - and that is a treasure in and of itself."
Bring on season 2!!!
Da Man | Pekin, IL | 01/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am part of the camp who thinks the earliest seasons of Happy Days were the best. This first season aired in the first half of 1974, and The Fonz was a smaller character (he's not even in the opening credits in season 1). However, these early single-camera episodes bring out the best of the series IMO.
If you compare these episodes to a season 4 episode for example, you can see vastly different tones for the series (it went live in season 3). The earlier episodes are a lot more authentic 50's, while it became more and more a product of the 70's and 80's in the latter years.
When the show went live, we didn't see as much outside action, as many of the funniest moments of the first season take place outside of Arnold's.
I hope Paramount announces season two soon, I love the early (first 4) seasons of this show and will gladly add them to my library as soon as they come out.
$39.99 might seem insane for a show without extras, but these are the uncut (over 25 mins on average) episodes as they haven't been seen since 1974, and as icing on the cake, it is very cool to see the old-school red Paramount tags that have long been replaced at the end. The only downfall is that some scenes have really dirty prints, but I am willing to overlook it. Happy Days does not look this great on tv."
Great set, although its a little lean, and wheres the pilot?
Quasimort | British Columbia, Canada | 08/27/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Its nice to finally have the 1st season of Happy Days on DVD, but this set is a little lean with 16 episodes, and no extras at all. Considering all the 'Happy Days' specials that have been on TV over the years, you'd think Paramount would have something to add as an extra.
Also, the pilot episode titled 'Love & The Happy Days' is not included. The pilot was originally an episode of the the show Love American Style, and included most of the same actors from season 1 of the regular series.
Mabey they will include the pilot on later season sets of Happy Days, or on a Love American Style season set if that ever makes it to DVD."
Lighten Up, Brandon
Todd | Maryland | 08/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I respectfully disagree with Brandon Harlow's review of the "Happy Days" DVD set for the first season. Mr. Harlow was basing his review on his personal dislike of a television classic. I will commend him on his twenty-five cent word, "misogynstic", and for putting it in a sentence. However, it means "a hatred of women", and Fonzie definitely didn't hate women. He just didn't know how to have a healthy relationship with them. However, that is our 21st century P.C. revising the history of "Happy Days". The DVD release is quite basic: just the first 16 episodes for Season One on 3 DVD's. Nothing extra that I can see, yet this is really all you need to start a collection. "Happy Days" then, and now, takes the viewer back to a perceived simpler time. It was never meant to be anything more than entertainment. These early episodes of the series were the best, in my opinion. They were filmed without a studio audience and the floor plan to the house was somewhat different. (It obviously had to change to accomodate playing in front of a live studio audience.) Other reviewers have said it better than I, but within it's 24 minutes, they tried to tell a story with a positive lesson to be learned. Most of the time they succeeded, with laughter to help bring the lesson home. In conclusion, the best thing about TV coming to DVD is, like a television show that you don't like, you can either change the channel or shut the television off. The same rules apply for DVD sets: If you don't like them, don't buy them. Mr. Harlow, I recommend that you don't buy this DVD set. For those of you who like good television that entertains, I would recommend this for your home collection. It's a wonderful trip down Memory Lane."
Great Extension of 'American Graffiti'
Careful Reviewer | 05/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is five stars based upon the quality of the show. Extras aren't important. The first and second seasons are both dramatic and funny - a nice mix. Other reviewers are correct when they state that later seasons, with studio audiences, became "cartoony."
Happy Day's was a successful attempt to extend the fun and memories experienced in the [then] groundbreaking hit movie 'American Graffiti' but, in a more family oriented way. The first two seasons followed that format pretty well.
If you liked American Graffiti, this is a good follow-up. For new viewers, I would recommend watching 'American Graffiti' first, then continue the enjoyment with this season set. Hopefully, the secondseason will be released."