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The Movie:

"Fonzie, I've got a problem."
"Yeah, well you just got a second problem."
"What's that?"
"I ain't interested in your first."

So goes the continuing appeal of "Happy Days", one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. The show, which was co-created by director Garry Marshall, became a hit shortly after its 1974 debut, furthering the careers of everyone involved - especially Henry Winkler. Winkler's Fonzie character continues to be parodied and paid homage to, such as recently on the animated "Family Guy", where the end result of father Peter's "vision quest" was a meeting with Winkler/The Fonz.

The series focused on the Cunningham family, who lived in Milwaukee, WI. Son Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) is innocent and bright, occasionally finding himself in trouble, despite good intentions. His friends included Warren “Potsie” (his mother called him that after seeing that he liked to do things with clay) Weber (Anson Williams) and Ralph Malph (Donny Most). His parents were Howard (Tom Bosley) and Marion (Marion Ross), while he also lived with sister Despite the fact that their friendship seemed unlikely, Richie often hung out with motorcyclist Fonzie (Winkler, whose role wasn't filled out until later, when he eventually moved in above the Cunninghams' garage).

Although "Happy Days" wasn't firing on all cylinders until a few seasons in, the first season does contain some great episodes and, despite the relative lack of variation on plotlines (Richie and friends try to get girls or do crazy things to get girls), the shows remain entertaining, the characters memorable and the dialogue consistently terrific.

The second season saw the show mildly improving and the third season of "Happy Days" got even better, with some of the show's high moments, such as "Fearless Fonzarelli" (the Fonz tries jumping his bike over 14 garbage cans on TV), "Richie Fights Back" (Fonzie teaches Richie self-defense when a bully bothers him), "Fonzie Moves In" (the season opener, which has Fonzie moving into the room above the Cunningham's garage), "A Date with Fonzie" (Fonzie sets Richie up on a double date with Laverne and Shirley), "Sight For Sore Eyes" (Fonzie refuses to wear glasses and ends up driving into Lake Michigan) and "Dance Contest" (Howard thinks Marion is having an affair when she gets Fonzie to teach her to tango.)

Season 3

40. 3- 1 9 Sep 75 Fonzie Moves In
41. 3- 2 16 Sep 75 Motorcycle
42. 3- 3 23 Sep 75 Fearless Fonzarelli (1)
43. 3- 4 30 Sep 75 Fearless Fonzarelli (2)
44. 3- 5 7 Oct 75 The Other Richie Cunningham
45. 3- 6 14 Oct 75 Richie Fights Back
46. 3- 7 21 Oct 75 Jailhouse Rock
47. 3- 8 28 Oct 75 Howard's 45th Fiasco
48. 3- 9 4 Nov 75 Fonzie the Flatfoot
49. 3-10 11 Nov 75 A Date with Fonzie
50. 3-11 13 Nov 75 Fonzie the Salesman
51. 3-12 18 Nov 75 Three on a Porch
52. 3-13 25 Nov 75 Fonzie's New Friend
53. 3-14 2 Dec 75 They Call It Potsie Love
54. 3-15 16 Dec 75 Tell It to the Marines
55. 3-16 6 Jan 76 Dance Contest
56. 3-17 12 Jan 76 The Happy Days 2nd Anniversary Special
57. 3-18 20 Jan 76 Football Frolics
58. 3-19 27 Jan 76 Fonzie the Superstar
59. 3-20 3 Feb 76 Two Angry Men
60. 3-21 10 Feb 76 Beauty Contest
61. 3-22 17 Feb 76 Bringing Up Spike
62. 3-23 24 Feb 76 A Sight for Sore Eyes
63. 3-24 2 Mar 76 Arnold's Wedding

A spin-off of "Happy Days", "Laverne and Shirley" (which started in 1976) focused on Laverne De Fazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams), two Milwaukee single women who work at a beer bottling company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This set includes the complete third season of the popular series. Some of the highlights in this third season include: "Tag Team Wrestling" (Laverne and Shirley find that that their opponents in a benefit wrestling match are two women Laverne had insulted that morning), "An Affair to Forget" (Laverne and Shirley find they're short on cash for their upcoming cruise, so they get a job at a shoe store, then Lenny and Squiggy get caught as stowaways on the ship), "Airport '59" (Laverne and Shirley take their first plane trip, then become unexpected pilots when the pilot passes out), "2001: A Comedy Odyssey" (Laverne dreams she and Shirley are in their 80's) and "The Horse Show" (Shirley rescues a horse doomed to the glue factory, then tries to find it a home before its too late.)

Season 3

39. 3- 1 20 Sep 77 Airport '59
40. 3- 2 27 Sep 77 Tag Team Wrestling aka In This Corner
41. 3- 3 4 Oct 77 The Pact
42. 3- 4 25 Oct 77 Robot Lawsuit
43. 3- 5 1 Nov 77 Laverne's Arranged Marriage
44. 3- 6 8 Nov 77 Cruise (1)
45. 3- 7 15 Nov 77 Cruise (2)
46. 3- 8 22 Nov 77 Laverne and Shirley Meet Fabian
47. 3- 9 29 Nov 77 The Stakeout
48. 3-10 6 Dec 77 Shirley's Operation
49. 3-11 13 Dec 77 Take My Plants, Please
50. 3-12 27 Dec 77 New Years Eve 1959
51. 3-13 10 Jan 78 The Mortician
52. 3-14 17 Jan 78 The Horse Show
53. 3-15 24 Jan 78 The Slow Child
54. 3-16 31 Jan 78 The Second Almost Annual Shotz Talent Show
55. 3-17 7 Feb 78 The Dentist
56. 3-18 14 Feb 78 Bus Stop
57. 3-19 21 Feb 78 The Driving Test
58. 3-20 28 Feb 78 The Obstacle Course
59. 3-21 9 May 78 The Debutante Ball
60. 3-22 16 May 78 2001: A Comedy Odyssey
61. 3-23 23 May 78 The Dance Studio
62. 3-24 30 May 78 Breaking Up and Making Up


VIDEO: "Happy Days" is presented by Paramount in the show's original full-frame aspect ratio. The picture quality is not unbelievably good, but I found it to certainly be very satisfactory, especially considering the age of the series. Sharpness and detail are probably the best element of the presentation - the episodes look consistently crisp - moreso than I remember them appearing during broadcast presentations I've seen.

The issue with the image quality is wear. While some stretches of the episodes appear pretty clean, sometimes there are instances where specks, a few marks and some light/mild dirt appear. These instances aren't terribly distracting, and I never felt the level of wear was unacceptable. Colors remained bright and vivid, with no smearing.

"Laverne and Shirley" is presented in the show's 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The picture quality fares unexpectedly well, noticably surpassing any broadcast reruns of the series that I've remembered seeing in the recent past. Sharpness and detail are quite good, as the image maintains a bright, well-defined appearance; while not exceptionally well-defined, the level of detail certainly exceeded my expectations, considering the material and its age.

The presentation wasn't without a few concerns, but the image quality was largely quite pleasing. Some minor instances of dirty and wear were spotted on occasion throughout the episodes, but largely, the elements appeared very clean. Some minor shimmering was also present at times. Colors appeared bright and vivid, with no smearing or other concerns. Flesh tones also looked accurate and natural. Overall, a very nice job.

SOUND: The mono soundtracks of all 3 shows weren't noteworthy in any way, but also never sounded distorted or otherwise problematic.

EXTRAS: Sadly, both season sets have no extras.

Final Thoughts: "Happy Days" remains a timeless classic that continues to improve in the third season after a somewhat uneven first season and mildly better second season. "Laverne and Shirley" also continues to be wonderfully entertaining in its third round of episodes, as well. Paramount's DVD set remains disappointingly free of supplements, but I was pleased with the audio/video quality and the price is very reasonable. Recommended.

DVD Information

Paramount Home Entertainment
Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English
Rated NR
Dual Layer:Yes
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