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Aaaaay! Is ‘Happy Days’ really turning 50?


Oh, for simpler times with fewer adult responsibilities and fewer high-tech distractions!
Then I might manage to finish reading two excellent autobiographies (Henry Winkler’s “Being Henry: The Fonz – And Beyond” and the late Garry Marshall’s “My Happy Days in Hollywood”) before The Big Day.
The Big Day?
Yes, January 15 marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of ABC’s nostalgic hit sitcom “Happy Days.”
Back in the day, “Happy Days” and its two most successful spin-offs (“Laverne and Shirley” and “Mork & Mindy”) were among my favorite programs. When Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli humbled himself enough to use reading glasses, it helped me feel better about my own first trip to the optometrist. (Would it have killed His Coolness to hang around to lend moral support for my later colonoscopy, prostate exams, et cetera? Aaaaay!)
Sure, snootier critics looked down on “Happy Days” for presenting an idealized, sanitized interpretation of the Fifties; but I don’t think any purpose would have been served by the catch-phrase “Sit on it” being replaced with “Sit on it – but not you, Rosa Parks! Stand up!”
I’m glad the beloved series (which ran for 11 seasons and 255 episodes) was celebrated with interview/clip reunions in 1992 and 2005, but it’s undoubtedly for the best that the series hasn’t gone the trendy “hey, kids, grab a defibrillator and we’ll do a reboot” route.
The original elements of the show simply wouldn’t mesh with 2024 sensibilities.
Can you imagine a frisky Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) crooning, “I found my signed and notarized consent form on Blueberry Hill”?
Wouldn’t it be more sad than funny for Fonzie to give Siri his magical jukebox whack – and then get fried by AI laser in retaliation?
It would become tedious if Ralph Malph’s every utterance of “I still got it!” triggered a pre-dawn IRS raid.

Can’t Arnold’s Drive-In remain Arnold’s Drive-In – instead of Arnold’s Drive-In Quick Before the EV Battery Explodes?
Do we want to see Al Delvecchio’s mournful “Yeeep, yep, yep, yep, yep” replaced with “Neeeds context, needs context, needs context…”?
The courts have quite enough on their plates without “You’re such a Potsie!” being deemed hate speech.
I’m afraid a reboot would ring untrue if it had folksy “Mr. and Mrs. C.” dispensing something other than sage advice. (“You made a commitment to take two different dates to the prom? You need to do the right thing; Venmo me 50 bucks and I’ll dispense you enough weed to get through it.”)
Honestly, would it really be an improvement for the infamous “Fonzie Jumps the Shark” episode to be replaced with Fonzie Collides with a Wind Turbine?
The upbeat theme song was fine just as it was. The sense of innocence would be lost if it was reworded to include “These days are ours, Happy and free, These days are ours, although we really should pause to acknowledge the indigenous peoples who had happy days in the Midwest previously…”
*Sigh* I probably won’t finish the autobiographies in time, but while cleaning out an old truck I sold, I found my high school T-shirt that my mother had (less than successfully) ironed a Fonzie transfer onto. Maybe I’ll try it on for old times.
Whoa! I’m not blaming it on Joanie Cunningham, but maybe there’s been a bit too much “shortcake” over the past 40-odd years!
Yeeep, yep, yep…

Copyright 2024 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.