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.
"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.
"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.