The Fonz once crashed his motorcycle on set exactly how we saw on the show

Henry Winkler admitted, "I've never ridden a motorcycle again in my life." They had to fake it after this mishap.

Fonzie pops a wheelie the entire time he rips his motorcycle across the pavement, showing off for an astonished crowd gathered in Arnold's parking lot.

The two-part Happy Days episode "Fearless Fonzarelli" is notably the first time we see Arnold – he peeks out of the blinds of his restaurant to see what all the commotion is about.

What he sees is Fonzie, bravely giving a thumbs up before flying up a ramp to perform a daring jump that sends him and his iconic bike sailing, then crashing into a fried chicken stand.

By the third season of Happy Days, Henry Winkler had become accepted by fans as one of the coolest guys in the world. But the whole time we were giving him the thumbs up, he was hanging his head a little, knowing that not only did he not feel comfortable riding a motorcycle, but his first time on the bike was such a complete disaster, he stopped riding the motorcycle forever.

It happened during one of Winkler's very first days on set. He said producers asked him to get on the motorcycle and pull it up five feet.

That's all the Fonz needed to do for the scene.

Unfortunately, Winkler said his dyslexia led him to misread the controls, confusing how to give the motorcycle just a little gas. Instead of slowly rolling forward, Winkler told Emmy TV Legends that he shot straight ahead like a launched cannonball.

The scene Winkler describes looks a lot like the scripted version of the crash you see in "Fearless Fonzarelli."

"I gunned it and rammed into the sound truck," Winkler said, sincerely worried that his accident had nearly killed the director of photography.

He said that, in the moment, he had to think fast, so he instinctively tipped the bike to put it down on the ground. He and the bike slid under the sound truck.

Winkler joked, "They took the bike out first because they rented that, and then they said, 'Are you OK?'"

Once the Fonz assured them it was all good, he said everybody agreed, "Probably we're not going to let you do that again."

But the Fonz rides a bike! It's a big part of the character! They needed to figure out how to keep the Fonz's cool façade.

The solution they came up with is actually a pretty hilarious image to have in your head any time you see Fonzie "ride" the motorcycle on the show. However, it might ruin your idea of Fonzie as a "cool guy" forever, so proceed with caution….

Apparently, they rigged it so the bike sat on a board and crew members would simply pull Winkler where he needed to be, like a toddler in a wagon.

In the interview, Winkler said that's how he made it through every motorcycle scene for the next 10 years because, after that first scary ride, he had no desire to repeat that mistake and gave up ever revving up the motorcycle himself.

"I've never ridden a motorcycle again in my life," Winkler confirmed.

In the same clip, series creator Garry Marshall estimated that over the entire show's run, Winkler maybe rode the bike a total of 40 yards.

Because it turns out that Winkler actually had more in common with the type of guy in the real world who Marshall said inspired the character of Fonzie.

You see, the Fonz wasn’t originally supposed to be an actual cool guy. He was simply supposed to be a guy who had that reputation as a cool guy. In Marshall's memoir, My Happy Days in Hollywood, he wrote that he modeled the Fonz after a guy named Peter Wagner who he met at a YMCA camp as a young boy.

Marshall said that nobody ever saw Peter ride his motorcycle. They just knew he owned a motorcycle, and that alone was enough to make him cool.

"Even though he wasn't riding his motorcycle, we knew he had a bike, and that was cool enough," Marshall wrote.

Is the Fonz still cool with you, even if Winkler wasn't as confident on that motorcycle as he looked?

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


JDnHuntsvilleAL 40 months ago
[...the first time we see Arnold – he peeks out of the blinds of his restaurant to see what all the commotion is about.]

God, sometimes I really hate the Millennials running this web site. The above is NOT the "first time we see Arnold." THE first time was at the very beginning of the show when the gang demand he comes out to protest the 50 cent minimum Arnold had started charging.

Jeez, MeTV, do so research before you write this stuff up.
40 months ago
Only in Hollywood could a fey ivy-league wimp like Henry Winkler be passed off as a motorcycle riding, tough guy. No sale, Gary "Marshall!"
JDnHuntsvilleAL Pilaf 40 months ago
Not only that but "By the third season of Happy Days, Henry Winkler had become accepted by fans as one of the coolest guys in the world." This was basically true -- Fonzie had become popular in seasons one and two because of his "coolness", but starting in season three he lost his cool and became a super-nerd with his "HHHHEEEEYYYYY" crap.
cseeley90 41 months ago
Henry Winkler was in "The Lords of Flatbush" where he played a Fonzie like character. Doesn't ride a bike? The show made it work so no worries. "Put the bees on Winkler!" Does anybody know what movie that line is from?
gene cseeley90 41 months ago
Lord's of flatbush,not a bad movie,I liked it,and what movie is "put the bees on winkler" from?
gene 41 months ago
I wish they'd bring back the Sunday showings of happy days n Laverne and Shirley I like Gillian island but I am a much bigger fan of happy days and Laverne and Shirley
ELEANOR gene 41 months ago
Penny Marshall, although known for being on Laverne and Shirley, wished that she was known for what she did best -- as a director of many movies.
lancel 41 months ago
Remember the fall out shelter fonz almost lost the kool knucklehead chopper in the grass I thought after that they gave him the triumph
Jeffrey lancel 41 months ago
Your comment makes no sense whatsoever.
timmtvun Jeffrey 41 months ago
what doesnt make sense? There was an episode with a shelter titled "be the first on your block" and an air raid shelter / fallout shelter probably popped up before in other episodes before, being set in the late 50s early 60s after all, as they do in Grease 2 movie and other odes to that era.

Secondly he goes on to talk about the different motorcycles Fonzie rode. He first rode Harleys, one being a Knucklehead model, in season one. After that he rode Triumph motorcycles. Or as we know now, he sat on them, didnt ride them.
WillySmith Jeffrey 40 months ago
Remember the fall out shelter? Fonz almost "lost"(went down with) the "kool knucklehead chopper"(motorcycle) in the grass. I thought after that they gave him the "triumph"(motorcycle).
Kenner 41 months ago
timmtvun Kenner 41 months ago
You mean Ayyyyyyyyyy!
Kenner timmtvun 41 months ago
Right...Ahhhhhh is what I say when I trip over my dog. Lol.
Barry22 41 months ago
Well, maybe he couldn't ride a motorcycle, but he could water ski.
DerekBird 41 months ago
It wasn't the bike that made Fonzie cool, It was because he was The Fonz.
Andybandit 41 months ago
Good story. I never knew that about Henry Winkler. Nice to see he is still involved in the new Macgvyer. I like Happy Day. I hope I didn't offend anyone.
jaelinsmith40652 41 months ago
Never thought that the actor never ride a motorcycle before.
Robertp 41 months ago
There will never be good clean fun anymore. I don’t think writers have a decent and moral compass. And ya, Winkler was a wuss but who cares.
Load previous comments
Mark091 Mark091 41 months ago
In my previous comments right above this one the sentence should have read the last sentence should I read in fact sticks Downey jr. And bag could become great friends you sticks Downey jr. Had not disappeared from the show after only two episodes airbagit play the drums or Ricky's band from 1974 to 1980 instead of leaving the show in 1977 after the Book of Records episode then Daphne play by Hilary h o r a n and Chachi play by Scott Baio and sticks Downey jr. Play by John Anthony Bailey or Jack Baker would not been playing the drums in Richie's band give back had to quit playing the drums in Richie's band after the second season the last time back play the drums and Richie's band was with Fonzie played the bongos in Richie's band that was really something two drummers in Richie's band Fonzie and bag Fonzie playing the bongos and bag playing regular drums in Richie's band Ralph m a l p h play by Donny Most handbag play by Neil J Schwartz we're the best practical jokers on Happy Days later in 1980 Eugene B e l v i n Play bye Denis Mandel and Bobby play my Harris k a l l play a practical joke on Rodger Phillips play by Ted McGinley when they told Rodger Phillips to take f o n z i e s belongings out of Fonzie's Locker at Jefferson High School when f o n z i e what did have a Rumble with Rodger Phillips who was the victim of a bad practical joke by Eugene Belvin and Bobby
Mark091 Mark091 41 months ago
One of my comments what's wrong because Google voice typing made mistakes again I've got to switch back to typing the letters by myself instead of using Google Voice typing the sentence should have read if bag play by Neil J Schwartz I play the drums in Richie's band from 1974 to 1980 then sticks Downey jr. Play by John Anthony Bailey Daphne play Hillary Horan and Chachi played by Scott Baio would have never played the drums in Richie's band if bag had play the drums in Richie's band from 1974 to 1980 instead of bag leaving Happy Days after the Book of Records episode in 1977 the Four Season in the Book of Records episode Richie potsie Ralph and bag we're trying to get into the m a g i l l a book of records Richie was carrying a girl on your shoulders bag was walking with his hands Posse was trying to jump on a pogo stick and Ralph m a l p h was trying to blow the biggest bubble Al Delvecchio forescout the Jimmy Durante for the biggest nose but Angie play by Charles galioto Fonzie's cousin One Lie megillah Book of Records by balancing coins on his arm Angie Fonzarelli only appeared in one episode The Book of Records and Spike only appeared in four episodes of happy days before Chachi came on the scene
Mark091 Mark091 41 months ago
The word Posse in my above comments should I read potsie play by Anson Williams that Google Voice typing is terrible they always making mistakes
Mark091 Mark091 41 months ago
Like Porky Pig says in the Looney Tune cartoons That's all folks and Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam an egghead are great additions to the me TV lineup on Saturday mornings and so is Popeye the Sailor Bluto and Olive Oil and Popeyes nephews and sweet pea are great additions 2 Saturday mornings on Me-TV please bring Yogi Bear to me TV and freakazoid
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?