I have to wonder, was life really like this for teenagers back in the 50s? Did they really hang out in burger bars eating burgers and drinking milkshakes? I just find it hard to believe that would be the case. When I was a teenager, we were smoking cigarettes, sipping from bottles of JD we stole out of our parent’s liquor cabinet and flicking through dirty magazines we’d managed to score from our older brothers. Milkshakes? Sheesh! Sure, I enjoy a milkshake with my fish and chips, but I’d rather have a beer!
I guess if I’d been a greaser in the 50s like old Fonzie, I’d probably be riding around on motor bikes, wearing leather jackets and clicking my fingers hoping girls would swamp me. I’d probably more likely get a slap in the face, but hey we can dream can’t we? The thing is, if I were a greaser I’d be hanging out with bad company, doing drugs, getting into street brawls and getting myself arrested on a regular basis. But Fonzie never had that problem. Yeah, he did have a crooked cop after him from time to time, but he was hardly your typical gangster, that’s for sure! He hung out in a bloody toilet for god sake! His so-called office! And his best buddies were the ones eating the burgers and drinking milkshakes! The geeks! The nerds! What the fluck? Seriously? This was the bad boy? The rebel without a cause?
I just don’t buy it. Ok, I can dig the leather jacket being attire for all occasions. Just slap on a tie for a wedding or a funeral and you’re still cool, but otherwise I can’t imagine anyone like the Fonz in the 50s. He would have been an enigma. Still wish I had his special powers though, like being able to get girls to come to him with a click of the fingers or thump something and make it work, not to mention being able to jump sharks… ok let’s definitely not mention that. We don’t want to be talking about jumping the shark when it comes to this particular TV show.
So we have the Fonz, this really cool guy who hangs out in toilets and then we have the Cunninghams, kind of like his adopted family. They are actually what this show is mainly about and they’re supposed to be this ideal little American apple-pie type family. They’re like the family that every family should aspire to be like. The father is the bread winner and the mother is in the kitchen making sure everyone’s dinner is on the table. Just like every mother should be right? Yeah!
But are they?
This family isn’t all as nice as what you might think. In fact, they have a nasty deep dark secret, something that they kind of just swept under the carpet.
I’m talking about Chuck Cunningham! That’s right, the son they disowned. The son they supposedly loved one day and then the next he was gone, never to be mentioned again. Mr Cunningham, in the final episode of Happy Days, even talked about his ONLY TWO children… yes only two. Although there were three originally!
Was Chuck really such a bad egg? Well yes, he was! After all he ended up as a gang leader in "Death Wish 3", trying to kill Charles Bronson, so it’s not surprising his family wanted nothing to do with him.
Perhaps they felt guilty about disowning him though? Perhaps that’s why they took in the Fonz as kind of like their surrogate bad egg child. Perhaps Chuck just wasn’t the kind of bad egg they wanted in their family. They wanted one who was just a pretend bad egg.
Or maybe they were just a bunch of A holes?
Sit on THAT Howard Cunningham!