‘Happy Days’, the favourite American tv series of anyone who was into rock’n’roll during the 1970s, was starting to lose its edge in late 1977, with its fifth series, but luckily there was a saviour in the shape of a spin-off comedy series ‘Laverne and Shirley’ which chronicled the everyday adventures and mishaps of two young women from Milwaukee (Laverne De Fazio & Shirley Feeney) who shared a basement apartment and a job as bottle-cappers at the Shotz brewery. ‘Laverne and Shirley’ had kicked off in Jamuary 1976 and by its third series in the autumn of 1977 had taken the baton from ‘Happy Days’ as the weekly go-to show for rock’n’rollers (at least in this ted’s experience).
The series ran happily for five years, but in late 1980 the timeline suddenly jumped three years into the mid 1960s and the locale was changed to Burbank, California, which made sense inasmuch as the series – just like ‘Happy Days’ – was filmed there, but the move did nothing in the way of improvement.
Which each season approximating a year, the timeline of the series roughly represented the years 1958 to 1962 for the first five seasons set in Milwaukee (‘New Year’s Eve 1960’ in the 3rd season), followed by 1965 to 1967 for the last three seasons set in California.
The reunion in a ‘Nun’ (season 1) gives the girls and their school peers as belonging to the ‘Class of 1956’ (see also the episode in the 7th season entitled ‘Whatever happened to the class of ’56?’), which means they were about 18 then (born ca.1938). A flashback shows an incident (Hector in closet) that occurred 4 yrs ago, i.e. 1954). TYPICAL Lav to SH : “Look, Shirl, if you wanna be ashamed of yourself, you go right ahead, but I’m not going to be ashamed of myself.”
Laverne was from Brooklyn of Italian immigrants who moved to Milwaukee aged 11.
L&S was top tv show up till fifth season in late 1979, following a rescheduling issue.
Laverne De Fazio and her friend Shirley Feeney first appeared on television on November 5th 1975 in the episode ‘A date with Fonzie’ of the series ‘Happy Days’ when the star character Fonzie decides to help his ‘junior’ friend Richie Cunningham to get a girlfriend by arranging a double date by calling up two women from his ‘black book’. Laverne and Shirley appeared again in two more episodes that season (‘Football frolics’, ‘Fonzie the superstar’) which aired at exactly the same time as ‘Laverne and Shirley’ was making its debut. The Fonz repaid the compliment of their appearance on ‘Happy Days’ by appearing in the first two episodes of their series. Laverne and Shirley would make passing guest appearances in season 6’s ‘Fonzie’s funeral’ (Part 2) and season 7’s ‘Shotgun wedding’ (part 1) (part 2 of ‘Shotgun wedding’ was a crossover episode which concluded on ‘Laverne and Shirley’).
CHK ‘The Beatnik Show’ in season 5.
The two women first appeared on a fall 1975 episode of Happy Days as dates for The Fonz (Henry Winkler) and Richie Cunningham (Howard). The episode was well-received and ABC wanted a series as quickly as possible. With no time to film a full-fledged pilot, Gary Marshall (who also produced Happy Days) had his writers come up with a fast ten minute script. One night after filming an episode of Happy Days, Marshall asked his live studio audience to stick around and watch the short pilot. ABC executives loved the chemistry between the two women and bought the series;
UK It was originally shown on ITV. / L&S was aired in teatime slots on different days by ITV so never really got the chance to build up a following like Happy Days did. /Laverne & Shirley I remember seeing on ITV in the 70s in the ‘kids TV’ slot .