Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Days - Back To The 50s - America Went Retro, Too!

A 1977 UK Happy Days novel.

So, as the '70s flopped, overshadowed by the '60s, pummelled by financial angst, anger and violence, the UK was not the only nation to seek refuge in the 1950s. Yep, the USA was well and truly in there - putting out Happy Days from 1974 until 1984.

And of course those glorious Happy Days weren't long in coming to England. We already had '50s nostalgia aplenty, of course - remember Wizzard, Showaddywaddy, Alvin Stardust, etc? But now we had the American angle and we found Fonzie just so great.

Fonzie's '50s style became much imitated - and this became even more pronounced with the release of Grease in 1978 - in which John Travolta played a be-quiffed Fonzie-style dude.

The absolute star of Happy Days was Henry Winkler as one Arthur Fonzarelli - AKA "The Fonz" - the coolest '50s dude in Milwaukee. He "hung out" with the likes of Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) - who was not very cool really. So that made Fonzie seem even cooler.

Only Richie's mother, Marion (Marion Ross) called "The Fonz" any thing other than "The Fonz" or "Fonzie": she called him Arthur.

Which did not seem terribly cool at all.

I remember that, back in the '70s and '80s, if the word "cool" was used as slang it was always used derisively - we regarded it as outdated '50s/'60s nonsense. "Oh, that's so cool," we'd sneer - meaning that whatever it was was actually fogey - out of date.

Now, when I hear twitty young things using the "cool" tag in all seriousness, I often snigger. Particularly as they often look like they've just stepped out of the '60s or the '70s or the '80s. So fogey.

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