TV… Reliving Happy Days with Erin Moran



A wee post remembers a childhood favourite, Erin Moran’s Joanie…


As a kid in the 1970s, essential TV tea time viewing included this lovely actress in Happy Days.


Happy Days (Theme Stereo HD), Franck G


Happy Days (1974-84) was the show that brought us The Fonz – Henry Winkler – and Ritchie Cunningham (Ron Howard). But for me, it was always the show about Joanie, Ritchie’s kid sister, Joanie. And not about the alleged King of Cool and his mainly ginger cronies. I’ve nothing against ginger blokes, I like Domhnall Gleeson especially Tim in About Time (2013) and Caleb in Ex Machina (2015) and Damian Lewis in Your Highness (2011). Redheaded girls include the lovely Karen Gillan and Christina Hendricks in your number. Not envious of the leggy one. Much.

Anyway, I was really sad to hear that the lovely Erin Moran who played Joanie had passed away. Her Happy Days show was must-see weekend tea-time viewing in the Realweegiemidget 1970s years.  But by the 1980s, after the Fonz literally jumped the shark, I stopped watching. As the Fonz really irritated me, with his famous thumbs-up stance, which haunted me for years after this.  

Even a one time colleague replicated Fonz’s thumbs up on occasion to my horror, for a job well done. And it was a lot less cool than Winkler. Ron Howard – who played her screen brother Ritchie – also irked me. But I do enjoy him in the director’s chair with films such as Parenthood (1989) and Rush (2013). The latter had Chris Hemsworth and of course, it’s on the review pile.

I did like a few of the characters namely Moran, her love interest Chachi (Scott Baio). And her screen parents Howard (Tom Bosley) and Marion (Marion Ross). Anyway back to Moran. At the time, I watched Moran as Joanie in this show, I thought she was super cool. She brought a much-needed female character into the proceedings. And both her ongoing relationship with Chachi and her trendy 1970s wardrobe was what made the show for me.

On looking at Erin Moran’s TVography (not sure if that’s a word but it should be) and filmography it seems I’ve probably seen her in more of her telly roles. She starred in The Love Boat (1977-87) and Glitter (1985) to name but two. Darlin Husband remembers her 1980s film a Galaxy of Terror (1981) which on reading more about sounds good sci-fi 80s hokum.

It was great to learn of Joanie’s Happy Days wedding with Chachi in the final episode. I’ve now made a vow to watch this show’s wedding.  I hadn’t heard of the Happy Days sequel comedy Joanie Loves Chachi (1983-84) so that is now also on the to watch list. Their duet in the opening credits theme tune makes it must see TV.

This opening soppy ballad sung by Moran and her on-screen love puts even Neighbours (1985-) on-screen lovers, played by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue to shame with their Especially For You 80s track. So it’s good to know there’s been so much more to see of this actress. But for me, I’ll always think of Erin Moran as Joanie, and making my middle name kinda 70s cool.



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