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Happy Days almost had a ridiculous title, but cigarettes helped fix it

Happy Days is such an iconic comedy series with an unforgettable name, but the title of the show was nearly very different until cigarettes led to a change.

Henry Winkler as the Fonz in Happy Days

It’s always fascinating to look back at iconic TV series and think about what could have been, with alternative casting choices, failed pilots, and even changes to the name of the shows sometimes. The latter is exactly what happened to Happy Days, which almost had a very different and rather lame title.

Happy Days will go down as one of the best TV series of all time, or at the very least one of the best comedy series ever made. Debuting in 1974, the show ran for 11 seasons and produced 255 episodes in total. With a title like Happy Days, and a star like Henry Winkler in the role of the Fonz, it’s hard to forget a show like this.

But, were it not for test audiences reacting poorly to initial ideas, Happy Days could have gone down in history with the title ‘Cool.’

Sure, the Fonz is really, really cool. But that’s no excuse to give the TV show such a boring title, is it? In a piece from The Guardian on the making of Happy Days, it was revealed how the original title was thrown in the trash.

With the title of ‘Cool,’ audiences claimed they couldn’t help thinking of cigarettes, which is not ideal. As a result, producer Carl Kleinschmitt suggested, “How about calling it Happy Days? That’s what we’re going to show.”

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A much better choice, we think. There are a bunch of other changes they made to the show from its early inception, like Fonz being forced to wear a golf jacket instead of a leather jacket. Apparently, it was feared the leather would make people think Fonz was a criminal, but as Winkler put it, it was “unbelievably hard to be cool in puce.” Eventually, a deal was struck with ABC to allow Winkler to wear the leather jacket instead, and the rest is history. Happy Days indeed!

For more classic small screen hits, check out our list of the best ’90s TV shows, or dive into what we know about the Frasier reboot release date. We’ve also got fun stories on the Everybody Loves Raymond title, or why Ted Danson was unhappy while making Cheers.