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Happy Days: Season 1 (Bilingual)

Ron Howard , Henry Winkler , Don Weis , Herb Wallerstein    Unrated   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 22.99
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Happy Days: Season 1 (Bilingual) + Happy Days: Season 2 + Happy Days: Season 3
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Less than a year after Ron Howard played a college-bound adolescent enjoying a final, summer-of-1962 romp with old friends in American Graffiti, he turned up as high school innocent Richie Cunningham in the memorable, ABC television network debut of Happy Days, set a few years earlier in Milwaukee. The show would last a decade and go through many changes in tone, cast, and character development, but that first season got a boost from the natural perception that it had some things in common with Graffiti: Howard, of course, but also fumbling teenage sex, drag races, drive-in food, pesky little sisters, and laconic greasers.

Happy Days: The Complete First Season is a sweet trip back to the Garry Marshall-produced sitcom's 1974 entry in primetime television, before political correctness would make stories about clean-cut boys fixated on seducing girls unthinkable, and long before older kids were defined by angst on the WB and Fox TV. At least in its first year, before Happy Days developed more of a comic-book feel and energy, the show was about Richie's all-too-human inclination to grow up too fast, to bite off more than he could chew and learn poignant lessons in the process. He was a sympathetic naif, not the charming braggart he later became, and major characters appear to have been created to provide both ballast and motivation. Among them is best friend Potsie (Anson Williams), a superficial hustler who typically incites Richie's enthusiasm for booze, reputed nymphomaniacs, and sophisticated, older girls, and fast-talking Ralph Malph (Donny Most), owner of a fantastic, yellow hot rod. More important are counterparts Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler), a vaguely dangerous drop-out, and Richie's exasperated father, Howard Cunningham (Tom Bosley), each of whom provides Richie the validation of an experienced male: Fonzie's raw worldliness versus Mr. C's seasoned view of a man's responsibilities. First-season highlights include the pilot episode (co-written by Rob Reiner), "All the Way," in which Richie's typical decency allows him to see past the sex-mad reputation of an amiable girl from school. Season closer "Be the First on Your Block" finds the Cunninghams' plans to build a bomb shelter turning into a popularity contest as Richie's friends vie for a guaranteed spot in the event of nuclear war. --Tom Keogh


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The only filmed Season! July 1 2004
Format:DVD
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that the first season was filmed and not video taped. This means that there is a lot more shooting on location and outdoor scenes. Much of the action takes place in the parking lot at Arnold's. In the later years the show becomes much more claustraphobic as video tape makes it necessary to have most of the scenes take place inside Arnold's or inside of the Cunninghams home. Remember the term "Video Taped before a live studio audience," it's kind of hard to take a studio audience outside to film a scene. Ouside location shooting only happened in later years during sweeps weeks - the Pinky Tuskedero demolition derby, the trip to California - where the term "Jumping the Shark" comes from, The episode where Fonzie jumps the buses in Arnold's parking lot. Most of the later outside shots are "second unit" stuff, meaning that sound was added later, and you often see only the backs of peoples heads, but don't see them talking. The first season, on the other hand, has major plot points happening anywhere they naturally should, there are no contrived outside sequences, but just effective acting and directing wherever needed. All of these were far and few between in later seasons, but in this great first season we get some really nicely filmed understated acting that was the genesis of some american icons.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Before it jumped the shark. . . May 22 2004
Format:DVD
"Happy Days" was one of the most popular television series in the 1970s. The premise focused on Richie Cunningham, a high school kid living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the 1950s. Everyone knows about Fonzie, Potsie, Ralph Malph and the Cunninghams. What most people forget is the serie's initial focus was on the relationship between Richie and Potsie. In fact, the premise for "Happy Days" arose from an episode on "Love, American Style," entitled "Love and the Happy Day." That episode also featured Ron Howard in Richie's role.
The first season of "Happy Days" features several differences from its later incarnation, especially as it involves the role of the Fonz. The Fonz was NOT a major character in the initial shows. Watch these episodes and notice he wore a white--not black--jacket. Also, Fonz never strayed far from his motorcycle. And, of course, there's also the matter of Richie's older brother, Chuck, who simply disappeared after a few episodes.
I'm a fan of "Happy Days," and I think some of the serie's stronger writing and more memorable episodes are from the first couple seasons. I especially like the first season, which for some reason maintains a poignancy that the show lost as it became enormously popular.
At this time, it doesn't appear that any commentary will accompany the dvds. It doesn't matter to me because this season stands on its own. Five stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, I can't belive it! June 8 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
This is kind of creepy actually. I was complaining about the lack of a Happy Days DVD just the other day! It's about time this happened, Happy Days is a classic. I can't wait till this DVD is released. Get up the money and order this today. If you like quality television, you won't be disappointed!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time Favorites June 21 2004
By Chris
Format:DVD
I am glad to find this on TV again I was looking then I found out it was on at 10 AM here and I am very Happy.This is the greatest Family Show and the Fonz along with Richie,the Cunnighams and the boys are good.I kind of wish they would have kept Fonzies cousin Spike on and Richie's brother Chuck on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yay! I can't wait! June 16 2004
Format:DVD
The first season of Happy Days is my favorite one-really original. I really love the song 'Rock Around the Clock' at the beginning and the very first episode on Love American Style, so cool! I hope that one is on this DVD.
In fact, my dad used to remember those Powerhouse candy bars! :)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Days are here again July 6 2006
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
How can it possibly be over thirty years already since Happy Days first premiered? That fact makes a guy feel very old, for I can't imagine having grown up without Happy Days; fortunately, being able to watch these classic episodes brings back great memories that almost make me feel young again. As a little kid growing up in the 70s, Happy Days was - without question - the show. I was trying to be Fonzie - strutting around, giving thumbs up, and saying Heyyyy! all the time - even before I learned to read. The show remained a constant presence in my life throughout the 1980s, as well, as it was a staple of after-school programming (back before all the talk shows took over). The first season's episodes were never really my favorite - mainly because a lot of changes were made at the start of the second season, Richie was a little wild that first year, Joanie was still a few years away from babehood, Fonzie was basically just a peripheral character, and - let's face it - there was just way too much Potsie in these early shows. In the first season, Potsie was the second-most important character, although Howard and Marion came on strong in the last half of the season.

Richie really wasn't a clean-cut paragon of virtue in Season One. In the very first episode, he set out to go "All the Way" with a girl who had a "reputation.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!!!
Happy Days was a show from the 70's (and mid 80's) taking place in the 50's. Now it's a flashback of a flashback....
Published 5 months ago by Peter Blake
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Days Season 1
This is a must see DVD. Remembering watching this 50's era sitcom will make you recall the 1970's, both dynamic times. Did you have a little sister like Joanie? Read more
Published 5 months ago by Cyril Michaud
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic - timeless
Happy Days is still a true classic - timeless. It's based in the 50's like Casablanca last forever. Real will done, great actors/actress, great directors, great scripts. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2012 by AHDN
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST SEASON of the series!
These are ABSOLUTELY the BEST episodes of the series when it actually had the 1950's look the show should have had through the subsequent seasons. Read more
Published on July 17 2004 by Richard J. Goldschmidt
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother if Original Music is Gone and Episodes are Cut
Sadly, there are many releases that studios are doing this to in order to maximize profits. Watch out for it. Read more
Published on July 17 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Excited, but more so about later seasons
It's great that Happy Days is finally getting its release on DVD. I hope that it sells well, because while I like these early seasons FAIRLY well, I am anxious to see the later... Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by Leonard Snerdley
4.0 out of 5 stars Happy Days (Happy Only in the First Couple of Seasons)
Watch the very early episodes of HAPPY DAYS before Fonzie became the main focus of the show. The viewer will see a late 1950's,nostalgic, coming-of-age type show. Read more
Published on July 7 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars "Happy Days" was always on film.
A little clarification to a previous review. "Happy Days" was always done on film ... they never used videotape. Read more
Published on July 4 2004 by Christopher K. Nagel
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