Mike Minor asked Linda Kaye Henning on a date his first day on Petticoat Junction

Their instant chemistry made for a genuine, wholesome romance that producers spun into hit TV.

The Everett Collection

"You're one of the healthiest men I've ever met," a pretty lieutenant tells Fonzie. She's in charge of giving the Happy Days boys their physicals, as potential Army recruits.

"You ain't whistling Dixie," Fonzie flirts. Then comes the come-on: "Listen, you and me, together soon, and that is an order."

Playing the lieutenant in this scene was pretty red-headed Petticoat Junction star Linda Kaye Henning, and in this scene, her chemistry with the Fonz is played for a joke, and the "whistling Dixie" line is a clear nod to her place in sitcom history.

Petticoat Junction fans know, however, that when Henning got cast on her father Paul Henning's hit show, she soon found real chemistry with the actor who would later become her husband — both onscreen and offscreen — Mike Minor.

In 1968, Henning told the Sunday News that Minor asked her out basically the moment he laid eyes on her.

“He asked me out the first day," Henning said, but she thought his interest had more to do with Minor's desire to make a good impression on her producer father, Paul Henning, than truly wanting to get to know her.

"I figured it was just another 'producer's daughter' bit," Henning said, explaining the reason she accepted was simply to find out what it was he really wanted.

Henning with the Fonz on 'Happy Days'

"I always accept those invitations though, because I like to watch them operate," Henning said.

After that date, though, everybody on set could see plain as day the couple was smitten.

The couple hid their true feelings from each other, allowing their love to blossom slowly behind the scenes, while producers of the show quickly decided to switch Minor to be Henning's on-screen love interest and translate this into TV magic.

When Henning was first cast on Petticoat Junction, her first experience starring on a show was a whirlwind.

She didn't expect to get the role, and neither did her dad, who insisted she audition like anyone else.

Her pep-filled charisma secured her the part, though, and after that, fame came at her so fast that Henning told Courier News in 1988, she didn't stop to take stock of how quickly her life was changing.

"I was very young when I got the part," Henning said. "It took a while for me to realize what it meant."

In 1968, before she married Minor, she hadn't even left the family home. Although the way she tells it to Sunday News, that had more to do with how awesome Paul Henning's real mansion was.

"Not only did I love my family too much to move away, but how could I ever afford a pad like theirs?" Henning joked. "Besides, I have my own entrance, and I come and go as I please. If I socialize with mom and dad — and I do… it's because I honestly enjoy them."

When it did come time for her to finally leave the nest, Henning and Minor decided they didn't need a big old house to be happy, settling instead for a modest home.

"We don't need much yet," Henning said.

However, they did need the couple's first home to be big enough to house all the animals that Henning adopted to keep her company when she was living rent-free at her family's house. According to Sunday News, the bride moved in with a dog and 13 cats.

Kinda reminds you of a certain animal-loving character on Paul Henning's other hit show The Beverly Hillbillies, doesn't she?

It turned out she didn't have to worry about Minor having the wrong intentions when he asked her on that first date because as the Sunday News notes, Minor himself came from a family of TV producers behind hit shows My Three Sons and Family Affair.

They were a match made in TV heaven, but they divorced in 1973, four years before Henning met the Fonz, where audiences delighted to see she was just as convincing "whistling Dixie" at another sitcom stud.

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AnnaRentzVandenhazel 19 months ago
I notice they mentioned My Three Sons being produced by someone in Mike Minor's Family. There was an episode on MTS where Mike Minor played a fraternity brother who kept putting down Mike Douglas's suggestions for how they could get out of a mess they'd gotten into because he was "just a pledge".
JDnHuntsvilleAL 40 months ago
TRIVIA: What was Mike Minor's character name when he asked Linda for a date? I bet you get it wrong.
I don't know the actual answer, but I do know that Minor played another character on PJ before Steve!
LalaLucy 40 months ago
I understand why they went the direction they did, but, frankly, I found the switch on the show from his romance with Billie Jo to his romance with Betty Jo a little bit abrupt and forced. Of course, the last year or so of this show just wasn't the same between the tragic loss of Bea Benaderet and the excuses to sing ramped up due to Mike Minor's abilities. But, I could be in the minority (no pun intended🙂) on my opinion.
JDnHuntsvilleAL LalaLucy 39 months ago
I love the series, but always hated the singing. Not that they had bad voices, but the songs they sang and the arrangements were always so hokey.
40 months ago
Mike's last name was Fedderson, but I guess he changed it professionally to Minor because he didn't want the public to find out. I don't see why because he was a terrific actor and singer. His younger brother Gregg was on Family Affair. He had a major crush on Cathy Garver then.
cperrynaples SheriHeffner 40 months ago
Minor appeared twice on BH! We all remember him as Steve in the Christmas crossover, but many fans forget he was in the final episode! He was a con man with 3 fake IDs: For the Clampetts, he was a Crockett, for Mr. Drysdale he was a Getty, and for Miss Hathaway he was an Audibon! In the last scene ever, he replaced Elly May's monkey as a window washer...LOL!
Mike Minor (Fedderson; Minor was his mom's maiden name), 75 (Dec. 7, 1940 San Francisco, CA - Jan. 28, 2016 New York City, NY)
Kathy Garver ("Cissy" on "Family Affair"). Still alive at 75!
(b. Dec. 13, 1945, at Long Beach, CA)
Andybandit 40 months ago
Sorry, I meant it was funny when Fonzie was there. I typed it wrong.
Andybandit 40 months ago
Good story, I remember that episode when the boys went to the class to be army recruits. I was funny when Fonzie was there.
cperrynaples Andybandit 40 months ago
Wait a minute, you worked on Happy Days..LOL! I'm sure you meant it and not i!
daDoctah 40 months ago
That "producer's daughter" thing sure worked out for Linda herself. Bobbie Jo was played by two different actresses, Billie Jo by three, but they never recast Betty Joe.

(Or Uncle Joe, either, but I imagine there was a different reason for that.)
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Mark091 Fuming 39 months ago
Lori Saunders AKA Bobbi Jo was
A hot chick on PJ but Pat Wooden (the first Bobbi Jo )
Was also a hot chick.
It's very sad that Pat Woodell
Charlene Salerno (Ginger on The
Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet)
And Sue Randall (Miss Landers on Leave It to Beaver ) all passed away from cancer and
Meredith MacRae (Billie Jo also
Passed away from cancer .
All four of these actresses are
Gone but not forgotten and as
Long as film exists Pat Woodell
Charlene Salerno Sue Randall and Meredith MacRae will live
Forever on film and in our memories . RIP to those four
Wonderful actresses . Fans of
These actresses and other actors will get to meet them when they arrive in Heaven.
Even though Curly Howard of the Three Stooges passed away in 1952 Curly Howard is still entertaining TV viewers 69 years
Later because Curly Howard
Moe Howard Larry Fine Sheep
Howard and Joe Besser and
Joe DeRita will LIVE FOREVER on FILM RIP to the 3 Stooges.
Mark091 Mark091 39 months ago
Correction That's SHEMP HOWARD .
Also RIP to Mike Minor (Steve
Elliot on Petticoat junction) and
Don Grady (Robbie on My 3 Sons
) Who both passed away too soon from this life on earth.
Mark091 Mark091 39 months ago
Mike Minor played DON PLOUT
On on one of the black and white episodes of Petticoat
Junction . Don PLOUT was the
Son Of Selma PLOUT who was
Played 2 actresses Virginia Sale
And Elvia Allman .
Mark091 Mark091 39 months ago
MIKE MINOR (Steve Elliot on
Petticoat Junction) played the
PLOUT on one of the black and
White episodes of PETTICOAT
JUNCTION for one episode only
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