The real happy days were before America discovered the Fonz.
They were during the first season of Happy Days. Before the series became "The Fonzie Show," with these typical plot lines: Fonzie conquers Suicide Hill, Fonzie goes blind, Fonzie saves the world from nuclear destruction. Before the live studio audience went berserk whenever the Fonz (Henry Winkler) entered the set. And before "Aaaaay" became part of the language of TV watchers.
Those who have forgotten what a sweet, mellow show it was will have a chance to rediscover the earlier "Happy Days" this week, when the series starts all over again on KTLA. The first episode airs Saturday at noon; the second follows.
The first episodes showed the Cunningham familyat its '50s best: unliberated mother, Marion (Marion Ross); small-business owner dad, Howard (Tom Bosley); typical teen-ager, Richie (Ron Howard), and smart-mouth daughter, Joanie (Erin Moran).
Those fans who stuck through all 10 years of the series will want to watch its finale (Sunday at noon), a two-parter that brings back Richie (who had left the series four years earlier), Al, Jenny Piccalo and Lori Beth.
(One person you won't see in that final show is Richie's big brother, the not-too-bright, basketball-playing Chuck, who disappeared from the show in 1975 and was never heard from again.)