on May 29, 2004
Back in 1976 a new series - a spin-off of the hit ABC sitcom "Happy Days" - debuted on ABC. Called "Laverne and Shirley," it centered on the lives of 2 bottle-cappers who worked at a brewery in Milwaukee, Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney.
To me, this show was MUCH better than "Happy Days"; funnier, not as corny, and with much better performances by the leads. Cindy Williams as Shirley, and Penny Marshall as Laverne, created a classic television comedy that Paramount is finally premiering on DVD in August!
The show, a mid-season replacement as "Happy Days" had been, had a first-season run of 15 episodes ... so here is what the first boxed set should contain:
1) The Society Party - The boss's nephew wants to mingle with the "commoners" ... so invites the girls to a dinner at his Nana's manor -- where the girls show up wearing stolen gowns provided by Lenny and Squiggy, and get busted mid-dinner!
2) The Bachelor Party - With Laverne's father away and the girls managing the Pizza Bowl, L&S show a bad error in judgment when Fonzie talks them into letting a bachelor party go on there after hours.
3) Bowling for Razzberries - A bowling tournament is Laverne's big chance to finally get back at a bowling rival ... but by the night of the contest she falls ill, and is so doped up on medication she can hardly walk.
4) A Nun's Story - An old high school buddy, crazy Anne-Marie, shows up for the reunion as a nun.
5) Father at the Altar - Laverne decides to marry her boyfriend of only two months before the Navy ships him off.
6) Dog Day Blind Dates - Laverne and Shirley unwittingly have blind double dates set up with 2 criminals who plan to heist the bank next to the Pizza Bowl.
7) Once Upon a Rumor - Shirley's stuck zipper (with Squiggy trying to help her) leads to a rumor around the brewery that Shirley is a "fun date."
8) One Flew Over Milwaukee - Shirley drives everyone nuts when she loses her pet canary.
9) Dating Slump - Shirley becomes sullen and depressed when Carmine finds a new girlfriend.
10) It's the Water - L&S set out to earn promotions at work when they try out for a beer tasting position.
11) Fakeout at the Stakeout - A robber, "The Milwaukee Masher," is terrorizing local women; L&S set out to help Laverne's cop boyfriend catch him.
12) Hi, Neighbor - Lenny and Squiggy move into the girl's building.
13) How Do You Say "Are You Dead?" in German? - The girls set out to help a German delivery guy who faints in their living room.
14) From Suds to Stardom - Another Shotz Brewery talent show has the girls determined to win this year - after losing 4 years in a row.
15) Mother Knows Worst - Shirley's domineering mother pays a visit, and drives Shirley crazy criticizing her friends, clothes, home, life ... until Laverne finally sets the old gal straight.
"Laverne and Shirley" was an instant hit, and ran for eight years. The show relied a lot on silly humor and schtick and physical comedy, but could always be guaranteed for a lot of laughs, and remains a TV classic. Thanks so much Paramount, and please don't hesitate on other seasons - the two-parter where they foil a murderer on a train to Moosejaw, Canada (season 5) is still the BEST!!
I absolutely LOVE this series, especially the earlier seasons. Everyone is incredibly multi-talented. They sing, dance, do slapstick-type comedy, all together with a witty and very clever script. Such a difference between these shows and sitcoms today. My favourite character is Laverne because I'm always so impressed with how talented Penny Marshall was. It's a shame she pulled herself out from in front of the camera for a career behind the scenes. I can't help wondering what hilarious shows she would have given us if she'd continued acting. Michael McKean, too, was so talented - he actually wrote all the songs that he and David Lander performed as Lenny and the Squigtones. Listen to the words and watch their expressions as they sing, and you'll laugh out loud. Sooo funny.
If you love the gentleness (aka: not biting sarcasm) of 70's humour, you'll love Laverne & Shirley. Guaranteed.