When a Beatle visited Happy Days
He brought his son to see the show taping — and was incredibly shy.
Today, nostalgia is all about the Eighties. Familiar '80s favorites like Ghostbusters and Karate Kid are being reinvented for a new generation and movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ready Player One are so full of radical Eighties references that it's practically a supporting character.
However, as the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun — not even nostalgia. Just like how the 2010s were marked by Eighties nostalgia, in the Seventies and Eighties they longed for their own nostalgic youth of the Fifties.
Happy Days was a trip through the rose-tinted memories of the Fifties, and both adults and kids alike loved it. In fact, one of the biggest names of the Sixties was a fan — John Lennon.
Lennon watched the show with his son, Julian. They both loved the show so much that Lennon arranged for them to visit the set during the show's first year on the air.
“Julian was a fan of the ’50s and Happy Days," explained Anson Williams, known for his role as Potsie on the show, "and they spent the entire day on the set."
Williams remembers the former Beatle as a "humble guy." He described Lennon as "genuine and kind, and truly shy."
"Henry Winkler was there, Ron Howard, myself and Donny Most. I go to get a cup of coffee, and I see this guy with a ten-year-old kid. I think he looks familiar. It was John Lennon," Williams said.
By that time, Lennon had already released mega-hit "Imagine", but Henry Winkler said that he didn't act like the superstar he was. "All of a sudden, John Lennon just came to visit. And he brought with him, Julian. He was so, um, he was so shy," Winkler said.
Reportedly, Lennon and his son watched some of the show taping, signed autographs, and chatted with cast members. "I didn’t know how to get into a conversation with John Lennon. Then I just started talking about his Imagine album that he made, the solo album," Winkler said. “There was a cut on it called 'Mother,' which was like a primal scream. So I started talking to him about that. He opened like a flower. It was amazing."
The meeting apparently made an impression on young Julian. Years later, when he was a music artist in his own right, he appeared on the music variety show Solid Gold. They were filming on the Paramount lot, where Winkler had his office. "I got a knock on the door," Winkler said, "and he asked, ‘I don’t know if you remember me?’ to which I replied, ‘yeah, I do.’"