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It’s Always a Good Day on the Set of Happy Days

The Idea For the Show Originated During a Snowstorm

In the winter of 1971, Michael Eisner was stuck at Newark airport during a massive snowstorm. That’s when he bumped into Tom Miller, the head of development at Paramount Pictures. As time went by, the two realized they weren’t going to be flying anytime soon. That’s when Eisner told Miller, “Tom, this is ridiculous. We’re wasting our time here. Let’s write a show.”


Henry Winkler Happy Days. Photo by Henderson/Miller-Milkis/Paramount/ Kobal/Shutterstock

But when the script wasn’t accepted, Miller and Eisner rewrote it, despite the fact that the market research department said that a ’50s theme wouldn’t work. The second script was accepted as a pilot and filmed in 1971 under the title of New Family in Town. However, Paramount passed on making it into a weekly series and instead sent it to the “dumping ground of failed pilots”—Love, American Style.