Why did the Fonz rarely wear a leather jacket during the first season of 'Happy Days'?

It was his signature look, but it was nearly absent during the show's first season.

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Can you imagine Fonzie wearing a windbreaker?

That was the look the network wanted for the character during the first season of Happy Days in 1974.

We know Arthur Fonzarelli as the quintessential greaser with slicked back hair and a leather jacket. That's his main look over the course of the sitcom's eleven seasons.

However, at the start of the series, ABC was afraid the Fonz's eventual look was a little too edgy for the wholesome show about the Cunningham family. 

Taking matters into their own hands, the network changed Henry Winkler's wardrobe while Happy Days creator Garry Marshall was filming another pilot in Hawaii. When Marshall returned, he was displeased with the change and told the network to sit on it. (Okay, he politely pushed the network to consider the edgier outfit as Fonzie's main staple.)

ABC agreed, but on one condition: Fonzie would have to stand next to his motorcycle while wearing a leather jacket.

That's why if you watch the first season, you'll notice the Fonz wears penny loafers and windbreakers for many scenes. But when he's adjacent to his bike, the Fonz has the full greaser look.

Thankfully, the rule was relaxed after the first season as the ratings increased and the character became a regular part of the show. Today, Fonzie's jacket is a part of the Smithsonian collection in Washington, D.C.

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VBartilucci 11 months ago
As the show went on, Marshall found more and more ways for Fonzie to be on or near his motorcycle, so he could have the leather jacket on. When Fonz rolled his bike into the Cunningham living room so he could stay in his popular gear, the network relented, and the wind breaker went the way of Chuck, never to be spoken of again.
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