Saturday, 20 April 2013

Fonzie jumps the shark - April 21st 1977

I'm pretty sure the two-part episode of Happy Days I describe here, and indeed churn out a not-too-shabby drawing for, is the infamous story where they go on location and Fonzie jumps over a shark on his motorbike. This has gone on to become short hand for a TV show which has lost its way and is beginning to act out of character. Oddly, at the time I wrote this diary, Happy Days was new to British TV, being shown at different times in different regions - we, in Leicestershire, were able to see completely different episodes on ATV and Anglia. So we began with the shark jumping, whereas the Americans were into their fourth year of the show, those earliest episodes (the first of which didn't even feature Fonzie, and Richie had an elder brother who was soon written out) not getting shown in the UK until the 80s.

And that's as interesting as I can make Happy Days sound, sorry. At the time we kids found it the funniest thing around, and it may well have been our introduction to the concept of "cool". I had a black cap-sleeved t-shirt with Fonzie Is Cool on the front, which I'm sure tells you all you need to know. The 1970s, you had to be there. See this page on the Peoples History Of Pop.

The Records For The Day were I Want To Get Next To You by Rose Royce and Capture Your Heart by either Rays or Blue (I wasn't certain then, it's anyone's guess now).


  1. I want to know where I can GET that t-shirt, it sounds awesome. Your diary entries are beautiful, by the way. I have diaries from my teens but they are nowhere near as thoughtfully made! They are, however, excruciatingly embarrassing. Did you watch 'My Mad Fat Diary'? It's basically that.

  2. Glad you like this, I must admit they are pretty to look at if nothing else. I had a great future ahead of me didn't I?

  3. I loved Fonzie as a kid too, but I always hated the sentimental moralising that was a standard feature of American sitcoms at the time. HTV shortly afterwards started showing an otherwise mediocre sitcom called Hart of the Yard, with Ron Moody as an incompetent Scotland Yard detective who somehow gets dumped on an American police department. It wasn't a great show, but it seemed quite radical to me at the time, because it actually seemed more interested in being funny than in delivering life lessons.