Happy Days borrowed The Brady Bunch backyard when Fonzie played the bongos
Garry Marshall created Happy Days so his Brady Bunch-loving kids would tune in. Imagine their delight when those two worlds collided!
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Everybody on the dancefloor suddenly stopped swaying on Happy Days when Fonzie hopped on stage and began playing his "bongo solo."
This was the agreement in "Fonzie Joins the Band" — that Fonzie could play a Leopard Lodge gig with Richie and the other guys for hooking them all up with tuxedos to look sharp.
It's a funny moment, but next time you watch, take a minute to survey the surroundings at this Leopard Lodge dance. We think fans of classic TV will find the backyard in which it takes place is rather familiar.
Look at the wooden beams above the band and the cinder blocks behind them.
In moments when Fonzie and Richie pow-wow, that brown fence they lean on — what other TV family have you seen lined up in front of that fence? Or sending their housekeeper to take a seat in a dunk tank in front of that brown fence? Perhaps re-enacting Snow White and the Seven Dwarves under those wooden beams? The wood beams, seen above, are the real give-away this is the same set.
The Brady Bunch had one of the most memorable TV homes of all time, and the backyard is iconic. So it's a TV lover's joy to see Happy Days throw a party in this very particular space. Especially since in many ways, The Brady Bunch passed the torch to Happy Days when Garry Marshall first got the idea to do his family sitcom.
In March 1974, The Brady Bunch ended its original run, three months after Happy Days premiered. In Marshall's memoir My Happy Days in Hollywood, the Happy Days series creator, coming off a hit with The Odd Couple, explained that he decided to create the Cunninghams to impress his own kids for once.
"They rejected the sophisticated humor of Oscar and Felix and instead couldn't get enough of The Brady Bunch," Marshall said.
As their father, he was jealous that he couldn't get even his own kids to turn the dial to his creations.
"That was one of the reasons I created Happy Days, so my kids would tune in to me," Marshall joked.
You have to wonder if their little eyes lit up to recognize the Happy Days world blending with the Brady world in "Fonzie Joins the Band."
Of course, this wasn't the first time that happened. Just three episodes before Fonzie's big scene with the bongos, Marcia Brady actor Maureen McCormick guest-starred on Happy Days in "Cruisin'."
Maybe it wasn't a big deal for McCormick, who was used to all the attention, but for us, it was pretty groovy to see the Marcia actor smiling at Richie and Fonzie.
In an interview, McCormick said the worlds between these two hit shows — and others filming on the same lot — were blending all the time, but especially at lunch.
"We all usually went to the commissary for lunch," McCormick told the Television Academy. "It was cool because there were so many great shows being shot on the lot. You'd see people from Star Trek and Happy Days."