Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘Happy Days’: The Spin-offs That Range from Iconic to Forgotten

‘Happy Days’: The Spin-offs That Range from Iconic to Forgotten

Happy Days was the perfect mix of nostalgia and laughs that resulted in eleven seasons. Spin-offs from such a hit are certain. However, the sheer number of them, both iconic and misfires, is pretty impressive. Here’s a lot at the most prolific… and forgotten Happy Days spin-offs.

Laverne & Shirley

Pound for pound, Laverne and Shirley may be the most successful of the Happy Days spin-offs. Introduced in the second season as recurring characters in Happy Days, Laverne (Penny Marshall) and Shirley (Cindy Williams) were spun off on their own in 1976.

The series was a hit, running until 1983. The show had great chemistry between the leads and fun supporting characters. This spin-off was so successful (even spawning an animated series) that many probably forget its origins with Richie and the Fonz.

Blansky’s Beauties

Okay, so not every Happy Days spin-off was a blazing success. Blanksy’s Beauties debuted in 1977, starring Nancy Walker as Nancy Blanksy. Nancy, initially introduced in an episode of Happy Days, was Howard Cunningham’s cousin and a former showgirl in Las Vegas.

In Blanksy’s Beauties, she became a den mother to a group of younger performers. The continuity is a little wonky here because, despite the ’60s setting of the adventures of the Cunninghams, Blanksy’s Beauties was set in the then modern time period of 1977. The curtains closed on the beauties after only 13 episodes.

Mork & Mindy, the high concept Happy Days spin-off

Iconic for launching the career of its star Robin Williams, Mork & Mindy began its life on Happy Days. Also starring Pam Dawber, the show combined science fiction and comedy. Williams played Mork, an alien from the fictional planet Ork, who came to Earth to study human behavior. He meets Mindy (Dawber), and they become fast friends and roommates.

Mork was first introduced in the season five episode of Happy Days, “My Favorite Orkan”. Mork & Mindy was a huge hit when it premiered in 1978, but fizzled, ending its run in 1982.

Out Of The Blue

Here’s another obscure one. Some fans even debate whether it should be included as a Happy Days spin-off. However, the lead of Out of the Blue, Randon (Jimmy Brogan) made an appearance alongside the Cunninghams a week before his own series dropped in 1979.

The storyline revolved around a guardian angel dispatched to Earth to watch over an everyday family in fly-over America. The series even had a crossover with Mork & Mindy, but was canceled after airing only seven episodes.

Joanie Loves Chachi, the Happy Days spin-off with the most build-up

Here’s a misfire that Happy Days fans are likely to recall. Joanie Loves Chachi debuted in 1982 with high hopes for success. Starring Erin Moran as Joanie and Scott Baio as Chachi, the series followed the characters’ move from Wisconsin to Chicago in pursuit of a music career. Of course, Moran had been a mainstay as Richie’s little sister for many years, and Baio’s Chachi was a breakout character.

The show had all the makings of a success. However, despite the initial potential, the show was canceled after only 17 episodes due to low ratings.