“Happy Days” are here again at ABC.
Alphabet has given the thumbs up — Heyyyyyy! — to “The Happy Days 30,” a two-hour reunion special marking the 30th anniversary of Garry Marshall’s classic laffer. All of the show’s original cast — including Ron Howard (Richie) and Henry Winkler (the Fonz) — have signed on to appear in the special, which Winkler will exec produce with Michael Levitt.
No airdate has been set, though special seems a natural for a sweeps appearance, possibly as soon as November.
Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, aka “Laverne & Shirley,” also will take part in the reunion. And, in a “Happy Days” first, Gavin O’Herlihy and Randolph Roberts — the two actors who played long-lost Cunningham sibling Chuck — will appear together on the same show.
Also set to appear: Marshall, Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Erin Moran, Anson Williams, Don Most, Scott Baio, Pat Morita, Crystal Bernard, Linda Purl and Cathy Silvers.
“It was an absolute no-brainer,” said ABC alternative topper Andrea Wong. “We’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and Henry Winkler recently called up and said the whole cast is willing to do it.”
In addition to the usual assortment of clips and interviews, “Happy Days 30” will feature footage from a cast/crew softball game to be played this weekend. Tradition was initiated by Marshall 30 years ago to foster a sense of family on the set; highlights from the game will help introduce clips.
The games “were so much a part of our culture that we felt it would be a great centerpiece for the reunion,” Winkler told Daily Variety.
Winkler said the softball games grew so big that the “Happy Days” gang began playing games for charity, even taking their softball act on the road.
“We played for the troops in Germany and Okinawa,” he said. “We just moved as a unit. Garry felt that it could not help but make the team that worked together on the show stronger.”
Winkler and Levitt, who teamed to produce the final two seasons of the recent “Hollywood Squares” revival, are also set to produce CBS’ upcoming “Dallas” reunion.
Another portion of the special will be shot in front of a studio audience at CBS Television City, where the original series was produced.
“Happy Days” bowed in January 1974 and ran for 11 seasons, exiting ABC’s sked in 1984. It gave birth to three spinoffs: “Laverne & Shirley,” “Mork & Mindy” and “Joanie Loves Chachi.”
In addition to Winkler and Levitt, Greg Sills will serve as supervising producer for the special, with Gary Tellalian, Fred Fox and Stephen Pouliot onboard as producers. Linda Mendoza will direct.