It's safe to assume Garry Marshall was afraid of Spunky on Happy Days
Plus: Cindy Williams gave Garry a dog. Can you guess what he named his pooch?
Read to Me
Before any of Garry Marshall’s TV success came along, he was just like many young men in the mid-'50s: asking his dad for advice while enlisting in the Army.
By that point, Garry already considered himself a writer and even had a writing partner, so when he went to list his profession on his Army forms, that's what he wanted to put — but his dad gave him a better idea.
Marshall's pop told him that he could already tell that television was going to be a huge industry, and he guessed his son would end up with a more interesting post if he put down that he was a cameraman. So that's what Garry did.
"Even though I wasn't a cameraman, he knew if I stretched the truth, I would get a better assignment," Marshall wrote in his 2012 memoir My Happy Days in Hollywood.
That's how Garry ended up with his first army gig: making army instructional videos in Astoria, Long Island. "Films were about everything from how to read a map to how to detect venereal disease," Marshall said.
This camerawork led to Garry's first acting gig, which unfortunately scarred him for life.
"I acted in one movie about dogs and ended up being bitten by the dog," Marshall explained. "It left me with a fear of dogs for the rest of my life."
Fast-forward nearly 20 years to 1977, when Marshall decides to give Fonzie a dog on Happy Days.
Spunky was a female fox terrier who appeared on two episodes of Happy Days and might be most famous for appearing in the Bad News Bears movies. On the show, we saw adorable Spunky scenes with Mr. C, who cradled Spunky in his arms, or giving Fonzie high fives.
But, behind the scenes, you can bet Marshall still felt the pangs of fear from the bite during his first acting gig.
Fortunately, there were no incidents with Spunky on set (that we know of).
It's likely Cindy Williams was the reason why Spunky appeared at all on the show!
The year before Spunky stepped a paw on Happy Days, Marshall had gotten to work with his sister Penny and Cindy on their spin-off show Laverne & Shirley. Even though Cindy wasn't family, Garry said he knew her well already, because she had dated one of his friends, and it just so happened that Cindy had a dog she was hoping to re-home.
The next thing Marshall knew, his family had adopted Cindy's dog. The pooch was such a hit with the family that they named the dog after Cindy to thank her for bringing joy into their home.
Although Cindy the dog surely touched Marshall's heart and helped him feel more at ease inviting Spunky onto Happy Days, Garry still wrote in 2012 that his fear of dogs never really left. It's no wonder then that the second time he brought Spunky on his sitcom, the dog was written to be "spunkless"!
Did anyone else name their dog after a beloved TV star?