Happy Days Are Here Again, But Gone

Happy Days are here again! I mean the ones that aired from 1974-1984, and are now being rebroadcast weeknights on the Hallmark Channel. Regular reader Don Hoover sent me an e-mail about this, but I had already discovered that one of the all-time great television shows was back on the air. In fact, I happened to catch the Christmas episode which aired in December of 1974 when I was a senior in high school. It is my favorite Christmas episode from any television series and it still makes me “misty” as the Fonz would say.

Don and I were regular Happy Days watchers; in fact, Don gave me a Happy Days scan0044paperback that he had autographed by Donny Most and Henry Winkler when they made an appearance in Baltimore. As you can see, I still have Fonzie Drops In.

We all related to Richie and Ralph and Potsie as they faced the problems of growing up, not least of which was solving the mystery of girls. And, of course, we all wanted to be the Fonz, the guy who always knew what to say and knew what to do in every situation. He would descend on Arnold’s Drive-In like some Greek god and dispense his wisdom on Richie—and on the rest of us out there watching.

Happy Days was about so much more than being cool, however. The episodes often dealt with friendship, principle, honor, respect, love, courage, right. It was the epitome of wholesome a word that I haven’t heard used to describe a television show or much of anything else for that matter since . . . maybe, since 1984. I bet that many young people 25 or under don’t even know what that word means. In fact, I’m not sure that anyone under 30 would comprehend Happy Days were they to watch those reruns now, because I’m not sure that they would believe that that’s what we used to believe.

I still believe in Happy Days, which puts me wholly out of step with these days. So be it.

About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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11 Responses to Happy Days Are Here Again, But Gone

  1. Bonnie Lane says:

    I’m “wholly out of step with these days” too, Austin! I’m right along here with you! I could just weep at times! The change can sometimes make your head spin….and not in a good way!


    • Hey, Bonnie! I’m flattered that you would read this post so quickly after it went up.

      Change is not the same thing as progress. We’ve seen a great deal of the former and very little of the latter of the last 40 years. For example, we have more ways to communicate and less to say to each other than when I was a child. And that ain’t good.


      • Bonnie Lane says:

        Having less to say to each other, coupled with the loss of graciousness, is a disaster! The cement of civilized social structure is crumbling and continues to do so.


  2. Larry says:

    Hey Austin, Amen to your words. On the college campus, I have seen the evolution of student entitlement, narcissism, and lack of being responsible. More of “Sad Days” than “Happy Days”! However, just like the evening news, we hear and talk about all the bad in this world, but I do believe there is more good than bad…reporting the bad is an attention grabber. Similarly, I believe there are more good students than bad ones. If we could all just become more positive in our daily attitudes; be more assertive in mentoring our young; get away from trying to be so politically correct, we might just survive (and possibly…possibly) change this generational character flaw. Take care my friend, Larry


  3. Don Hoover says:

    Glad you still have that copy! I remember asking the fonz to say Heeeeyy when he signed it! Kinda feels like you want to get a milkshake & fries right about now dosen’t it?!


    • Back then, a milkshake and fries would have held me for about an hour. Now, it would hold me for about the rest of the day! I think my metabolism may have slowed down a bit. Why not? Everything else has!! Thanks for the inspiration, Don.


  4. Al Smith says:

    Those happy days may be gone but we owe it to ourselves to make our remaining days as happy as possible.


    • Amen, brother! We just need to add some common sense to the mix and not go diving after softballs! The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is on permanent vacation, laughing at us while sipping drinks by the pool.


  5. Chip Greene says:

    I, too, grew up with Happy Days, Austin. Somewhere among my dusty memorabilia is my autographed photo of Potsie, Anson Williams. I think I saw him at a car show or some such event. For years I kept that personalized photo right next to the one of Leonard Nimoy, also obtained at some car show. It’s pretty sad that I thought they were the coolest pictures. Nowadays, I often find myself reflecting back on one particular Happy Days episode and echoling the Fonz when he lamented that “just when you get (the ice cream truck) revved up to 80, here comes some poor kid waving a dime.” Isn’t that always the case?


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