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Ron Howard Threatened To Leave 'Happy Days' Over Proposed Title Change Focused On Fonzie

Howard told the 'New York Times' for an article marking the show's 50th anniversary how a proposed title change to 'Fonzie's Happy Days' left him considering ditching the show.

Ron Howard; Henry Winkler
Udo Salters/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; Lionel Hahn/Getty Images

Ron Howard recently revealed he nearly walked off Happy Days when producers proposed changing the title to Fonzie's Happy Days due to Henry Winkler's rising popularity.

In an article marking the show's 50th anniversary, Howard told the New York Times he threatened to leave the 1970s sitcom if they went through with the change.

"I said, 'If you do that, it is an insult to everybody I’m working with.'"
"'Why fix something that isn’t broken? We are really good. I live in the family and that’s why I’m successful.'"
'"I’m asking you, if you never listen to me again, leave it alone.'"

And while Howard acknowledge he was "contractually" obligated to remain on the series that ultimately ran for 11 seasons from 1974-1984, he nevertheless told the network he "would leave."

"But I told them if you really want to change the name of the show to that, I would rather go back to USC and film school and what I was doing before the show launched."

People on social media agreed with Howard and didn't blame him for threatening to quit.

Some, however, felt the title change made sense given Winkler's rising stardom at the time.

And others noted that Howard ended up exiting the show early, anyway.

Winkler himself even admitted he wasn't a fan of the title change, though he did confess the fame went to his head a bit.

The show's creator, Garry Marshall, was not having any of it.

"One time, when he was announcing the guest cast, I said, 'Garry, we have to hurry up because I’m flying to Arkansas."
"He nodded, put down the microphone, grabbed me by my shirt, put me against the wall and said, 'Don’t ever do that again, because they have every right to be recognized like you.'"
"He kept us in line."

Fortunately, the friction between Howard and producers over the title change never bled into his relationship with Winkler, who is the godfather to all four of his children.

Howard shared that their close friendship "endures to this day."