62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
How can it possibly be 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." Over the course of the next fifteen shows, he came home drunk (accompanied by a stripper) from a Marine's bachelor party, got arrested after he snuck out of the house to attend a drag race, put himself through "The Deadly Dares" in order to join The Demons, used a fake ID to get into a strip club, lost his band mates' money in a poker game, came close to leaving home with a bunch of beatniks, almost got a tattoo to impress a girl, and almost got himself into a rumble with The Dukes. Of course, he learned important lessons from all of his adventures - except the lesson that he should stop going along with all of Potsie's hare-brained schemes and plans. There are some truly classic moments in these first 16 episodes, such as Fonzie selecting Richie (in drag) to dance at the sock hop, Richie's first drunk in "Richie's Cup Runneth Over" and Richie's blind date with a really tall girl in "Because She's There."
The gang's all here for the most part, but Ralph Malph is just a jokester you see at Arnold's or parties/dances, and Fonzie is largely just the local king of cool. Both characters' presence tends to increase as the season progresses, but the only real character development we see of Arthur Fonzarelli comes when Fonzie decides to go back to high school in "Fonzie Drops In." Then, of course, there's Chuck, the infamous oldest son of the Cunninghams who simply disappears after this first season. The question is not really why his character was purged from the show with such Stalinist diligence; instead, it's why was he ever there to start with? He did nothing on the show except dribble a basketball.
It's interesting to see how the show became a little more serious as the first season drew to a close. While thoughts of making out with girls were never far from Richie's mind, we witness a rather poignant example of growing up when Richie and Howard square off over the beatnik way of life, see the show take racism head-on in "The Best Man" when Howard has his black army buddy's wedding at his house in spite of his neighbors' protests, and take a moment to reflect on the dangers of the nascent Cold War and the A bomb back in the 1950s.
I hope this Happy Days Season One collection sells like hotcakes because I want all of the other seasons ASAP. I like the next few seasons better, but a lot of fans probably have a special love for these early episodes. If you're a rabid Fonzie fan, don't expect to see the Fonz you know and love in these first season shows, though - there are only glimpses of the central character he would become. Keep in mind, as well, that there are only 16 shows in this first season - Happy Days debuted on January 15, 1974. There are also no extras whatsoever included on these 3 DVDs, a fact which is quite disappointing. Frankly, that means this collection is overpriced. At least we have the episodes themselves, though - and that is a treasure in and of itself.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2008
It's wonderful to see this classic piece of nostalgic American comedy finally begin to get a DVD release. Season 1 is a great introduction to the characters of The Cunningham family from Milwaukee, and the show's No.1 High School drop-out - Arthur 'The Fonz' Fonzarelli.
"Happy Days" is a very entertaining series with something for everybody to appreciate. It's fascinating to see the development of the whole process of this series throughout from story settings to characterization. Whatsmore you will view 'The Fonz' in his less-than-customary grey windbreaker as opposed to his street-cred black leather jacket at the start of this first season!
Here's hoping CBS/Parammount release all Eleven seasons of this legendary series on DVD, it's certainly a welcome addition and wonderful timeline that pays homage to the rock 'n' roll era.
An American Classic!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2010
It wasn't until the 3rd season of Happy Days that the shows popularity really took off,by which time it was being filmed before a (very) live audience and the plotlines were increasingly built around the character of Fonzerelli.These were great fun for a few seasons but the Fonz character grew ever more cartoonish and with the departure of Ron Howard,the series,in my view,went downhill.Which is why the first two seasons are particularly interesting as they have a charm that the later seasons struggled to maintain.Instead of a live audience,their is a laugh track(unobtrusive and tastefully used),only one camera is used in the filming and their is a better balance as far as the acting is concerned.Although the scripts revolve around Ritchie,all the characters get a fair crack of the acting whip unlike later seasons where it sometimes seemed that everyone was playing second fiddle to the Fonz.As a result,their is an innocence and intimacy about seasons 1 & 2 that is unique.I had forgotten just how good this show was (being nearly 30 years since i'd seen an episode)so this was a revelation.Ron Howard is excellent as Ritchie Cunningham,the geeky nice guy that everyone warms to but their isn't a weak link in the cast.The characters are extremely likeable,the girls are nice eye candy,this is feel good tv at it's best.It may be a seventies take on 1950's America but it doesn't date and works on 2 levels nostalgia wise,those of us who remember watching it in the seventies and those of us who might wish that modern life resembled at least some of the aspects depicted in Happy Days.A stolen kiss with a ponytailed lass at the local hop...bliss!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The first season of Happy Days is quite different from the shows as it progressed. In the first season Fonzie is more of a background character and has not yet fully developed his character, though you can certainly see it on its way. As with the later seasons the main character of the show is Richard Cunningham and his friend Potsie.
This 3-DVD set contains all 16 episodes from the first season:
1. All the way
2. The lemon
3. Richie's cup runneth over
4. Guess who'd coming to visit
5. Hardware jungle
6. The deadly dares
7. Fonzie drops in
8. The skin game
9. Breaking up is hard to do
10. Give the band a hand
11. Because she's there
12. In the name of love
13. Great expectations
14. The best man
15. Knock around the block
16. Be the first on your block.
There are no extras at all and there is a small note on the case that says "Some episodes may be edited from their original version". I don't recall too much of the series when I first saw it years ago so unless it was smack-in-the-face obvious I wouldn't know what had been edited and what hadn't.
Packaging/sleeve is quite basic with a fold open case revealing the three DVDs inside with an insert summarising each episode.
Interesting to see that the opening theme music is not the tune that is perhaps mostly associated with Happy Days, rather it is used as the closing theme. The opening music is "Rock Around The Clock".
Surely a must for all fans of Happy Days. Recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2013
A hilariouse at times, feel good comedy,about a group of friends growing up in the late 50s/early sixties,even my teenage children who never heard of it before liked it a lot and are ready for season two,about the only gripe i have is they use cover versions of 50s songs that were recorded in the 70s,so lost some authenticity that way,but other than that,i recomend the series.