11/23/1981 at 01:00 AM EST
Three years in a row we were a flop and now we're a classic," whooped an oddly tweedy Henry Winkler. "I like that." When the Fonz is happy, so are Richie, Joanie, Potsie and everyone else on Happy Days—especially the owners of the show. So producer Garry Marshall gratefully invited the cast, crew and alumni from nine seasons of the hit series to the Beverly Hills Hotel to help Paramount Television celebrate the filming of its 200th episode. Marshall posed the question of the hour: "How did one little show make so much money for so many people?"
Blow-ups of the original cast adorned the walls, proving that bank balances aren't the only things that have changed. Now-graying Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham) had black hair. The Fonz wore a windbreaker then; network brass thought a leather jacket would grease the show's clean-cut image. They relented after a few shows, and the Fonz's first leather jacket now hangs in the Smithsonian. At his audition, Winkler remembers warning producer Marshall: "You don't want me. You want someone six feet tall and macho." Now, all 5'6½" of the Fonz is a high school dropout American folk hero—who will soon settle down on the show. "He may get married," Marshall revealed, "to someone completely the opposite of him—a very classy girl."
As a Wurlitzer jukebox blared oldies, veteran cast members—like Marion Ross (Mrs. Cunningham), Scott Baio (Chachi) and Anson Williams (Potsie)—chatted with some new members of the family: Lynda Goodfriend (Lori Beth Cunningham), Cathy Silvers (boy-crazy Jenny Piccalo) and Ted McGinley (coach Roger Phillips). Alumnus-turned-producer-director Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham) arrived in shirt sleeves. "What's the matter, Ronnie?" joked Jerry Paris, who directs most of the episodes. "Can't afford a coat?" Grad Donny Most (Ralph Malph) stopped by to see his old friends. And Morgan Fairchild thanked the show for helping her career. "I played a rich bitch on Happy Days back in 1977 as one of Fonzie's girls," she recalled. "That led to a running rich-bitch part on Mork & Mindy. And eventually another rich-bitch role on Flamingo Road." The nicest thought as the 200th show went into the can was that all these Happy Days will live happily ever after in reruns.