This Happy Days guest star was the first actor discovered on Don Adams' Screen Test
The game show was designed to give aspiring actors a chance to act out famous movie scenes with the Seventies' biggest celebrities.
"A Date with Fonzie" is one of the best-loved episodes of Happy Days because it famously introduced the characters of Laverne and Shirley.
But for one of the actors playing a minor part as a girl swooning over Ralph Malph’s piano playing, it was also her first big break, which came about in a rather unusual way that only Seventies TV fans can truly understand.
Sheila Sisco was just a cocktail waitress who dreamed of being an actor when actor Don Adams launched what was one of the Seventies’ most unusual game show premises, Don Adams’ Screen Test.
Don Adams’ Screen Test only aired from 1975 to 1976. To play the game, random contestants would be invited on the show to be done up in costumes, hair and makeup and then told to re-enact a famous movie scene alongside celebrity guests.
For any movie fans in the Seventies, Don Adams’ Screen Test was perhaps the only chance some people would ever have to act in a scene with some of the biggest stars of the day.
During its run, guest stars included Ed Asner, Leslie Nielsen, Robert Wagner, Bob Newhart, Shirley Jones, Loretta Swit, Zsa Zsa Gabor and many more.
At the start of each show, Adams would ask the audience "How would you like to be in the movies?"
To play, hopeful contestants filled out forms in magazines and newspapers, and out of 500 potential contestants, Don Adams and his team cast their favorites.
Typically, there would be only two contestants per show, and the prize would be a guest spot on General Hospital and a chance to be considered for movie roles.
But for the premiere, they wanted to come out big, so instead they had four contestants. Joining Sisco was a painter named Craige Citron, a clothing store assistant named Linda Marie Guccione and a dentist named Farrell Rosenberg.
When it was Sisco’s turn to act, she played Jane to James Caan’s Tarzan, and she apparently performed so well that she caught the eye of four major Hollywood stars Francis Ford Coppola, Howard Koch, Art Carney, and Jack Lemmon, as well as an agent named Jack Field.
Field took Sisco on as a client, which seemed to prove that Don Adams’ Screen Test was a legit platform for aspiring actors like Sisco.
Very soon after, Sisco was seen bopping on Happy Days, then in movies with stars like Howard Hughes, Peter Falk and Ann-Margret.
But just as soon as Don Adams launched Sisco to fame, it seems she took a different turn, getting married in the Eighties and pivoting to working behind the scenes on video productions with her son for NASA.
Although her time as a movie actor was brief, not much is known about other contestants from Don Adams’ unique game show. It’s possible that Sisco is the first and only actor Don Adams’ Screen Test officially launched.