Happy Days Exemplifies Escapist Television (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: At a time when television programming was dominated by relevance and reality shows, Happy Days took a lighthearted, nostalgic look backward to the 1950’s and early 1960’s.
Summary of Event
On January 15, 1974, and every Tuesday night for a decade thereafter, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) sent out to a receptive audience Happy Days, a television show that was inoffensive, comfortable, lightweight, enjoyable, and destined to become an American institution. The show did not develop overnight. In 1973, the film American Graffiti, a nostalgic look at young people in the early 1960’s, was well received by theater audiences. A skit on an episode of the television program Love American Style in February, 1972, was entitled “Love and the Happy Day” and starred Ron Howard. From that basis, the hit television show was born.
Originally, the show revolved around two stereotypical high-school students, Richie Cunningham and Potsie Weber (played by Anson Williams) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. These two hung out after school at Arnold’s, a drive-in restaurant, and discussed girls, grades, and other topics of similar concern.
The show did reasonably well in the ratings but seemed to the network to lack some vital spark. This problem was solved by adding to the cast Henry Winkler, a graduate of the Yale Drama School, to play the role of Arthur...
(The entire section is 2033 words.)
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