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Happy Days - The Second Season


TITLE: HAPPY DAYS - THE SECOND SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: April 17, 2007 (CBS DVD/Paramount)
Color / 1974-75
MSRP: $38.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 23
Running time: Approx. 9 Hours, 36 Minutes
Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital - Restored English Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; No Subtitles; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None

Happy Days - The Second Season DVD Menu Happy Days - The Second Season DVD Menu


Introduction:

Happy Days are here again! Enjoy Season Two of this American TV classic! The gang from the top-rated sitcom is back for more 1950s fun -- Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard), his parents Howard (Tom Bosley) and Marion (Marion Ross), his buddies Ralph (Donny Most) and Potsie (Anson Williams), and the coolest greaser, Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler). Join Richie and his friends for more rockin' adventures as they grow into young adulthood. This four-disc DVD collection contains 23 episodes of memorable entertainment for the whole family.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Happy Days' second season premiered on September 10, 1974. It continued to air on Tuesdays at 8:00-8:30 P.M. on ABC. After finishing in 16th place for the short first season, it finished out of the top 30 in season two. By season four, it was the number-one program in all of television. Randolph Roberts replaced Gavan O'Herlihy as Chuck Cunningham after O'Herlihy left for Ireland to become a poet. Other recurring characters included Neil J. Schwartz as Bag Zombroski, Beatrice Colen as Marsha Simms (waitress), Linda Purl as Gloria (Richie's girlfriend), Misty Rowe as Wendy (waitress) and Tita Bell as Trudy. This season was, once again, filmed with a single camera and without a studio audience (they added the laugh track), although they did film one episode ("Fonzie Gets Married") with three cameras and a studio audience as an experiment. They would make the permanent switch to filming before a studio audience and three cameras in season three.

Memorable episodes included "Richie Moves Out," in which hoping for for more privacy, Richie moves out of the Cunningham home to share an apartment with his brother. Richie fights his fears over attending a Halloween party at a haunted house where he believes he saw a headless ghost in "Haunted." Richie is the lucky audience member selected to become a contestant on a popular game show with a chance to win $3,200 in "Big Money." One of my all-time favorites of the entire series is "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas," in which the Cunningham family plans a quiet, old-fashioned family Christmas until Richie discovers Fonzie faces a lonely holiday. Fonzie must save the day when Richie, Potsie and Ralph leave town to meet some girls and get into trouble when the girls' boyfriends show up in "Cruisin'." It's a new experience for Richie when he becomes romantically attracted to an "older woman" in "Get a Job." Richie gets his own radio show as a teenage disc jockey and irritates his friends with his new rock 'n' roll image in "Richie's Flip Side."

Notable guest stars included David Ketchum as Binicky in "R.O.T.C." Chery Ladd appeared as Cindy Shea and Frank Ashmore (as Frank Stell) was Johnny in "Wish Upon a Star." Danny Butch makes his first appearance as Spike in "Not With My Sister, You Don't." Dave Madden guest starred as Jack Whippett and Lou Wagner was Mr. Schneiber in "Big Money." Ronnie Schell appeared as Monty Miller in "A Star Is Bored." Colleen Rose guest starred as Rose in "Open House." Herb Edelman was the Burglar in "The Cunningham Caper." Maureen McCormick appeared as Hildie in "Cruisin'." Buffalo Bob Smith (as Robert E. Smith) guest starred as himself in "The Howdy Doody Show." Adam Arkin played Bo in "Fonzie Joins the Band." Flash Cadillac and The Continental Kids (Sam McFadin, Kris Moe, Linn Phillips, and Jeff Stewart) appeared as The Fish and The Fins in "Fish and The Fins." Warren Berlinger guest starred as DJ Charlie the Prince and Jesse White was Bander in "Richie's Flip Side." Didi Conn was Joyce in "Kiss Me Sickly." Phil Leeds appeared as J. Jackie Silver and Helen Page Camp was Miss Wheaton in "Goin' to Chicago."


Packaging:

The 4-disc set contains all 23 episodes from the second (1974-75) season. The packaging is quite a bit different from the Season 1 release. For Season 1, they used a thin, cardboard box and 3 slim cases. This time they use an Amaray movie-style case with clear outer edges. CBS DVD/Paramount has also used this kind of packaging on other recent releases like Family Ties and Bosom Buddies. Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy also utilize the same style of packaging. The cover art features a cast photo inside a red record. The Happy Days logo is in neon pink and light blue and "The Second Season" is in white text at the bottom. A blue diamond background is used. This photo was actually from the third season, but it is one of my favorites and I've heard Henry Winkler mention that it was one of the best cast photos they took in the early seasons. On the back of the case, there is a partial photo of Fonzie sitting on his motorcycle (which isn't visible) in front of Arnold's. There are three smaller photos below it: 1) Richie and Potsie in Richie's room; 2) Ralph, Potsie and Richie in Ralph's roadster; 3) The Band - Richie, Fonzie (playing the bongos), Ralph and Potsie. A short synopsis of the set and the DVD specs are listed. A tiny record and the Happy Days logo is on the spine of the box. There is a plastic holder in the middle of the case that holds the second and third discs. The first and fourth discs are in an embedded holder inside the case. While the middle holder is quite sturdy, the embedded holders are cheaper looking and they arrived broken when I opened the case. The discs can easily scratch outside the holders. It would have been better if they used two of the middle holders. Episode titles, original airdates and short summaries are listed by disc in the backgrounds, which are yellow in color. The disc number is in a record and the episodes are listed in their own individual column. The episode titles are in red and the rest of the text is in black. With the embedded plastic holders and a black sticker bar thing in the way, it is hard to read the information. I would have preferred the individual slim cases that they used in season 1. Continuing the trend of other recent CBS DVD/Paramount sets, the discs are very plain looking and just have the show logo on them and have a silver background. The Happy Days logo on them gives a hologram-type effect when you turn them into the light. Photos of the cast on the discs would have been much nicer. Disc 1 has episodes 17-22, Disc 2 has 23-28, Disc 3 has 29-34 and Disc 4 rounds out the set with 35-39.


Menu Design and Navigation:

Happy Days - The Second Season DVD Menu Happy Days - The Second Season DVD Menu

The menus are very basic, but they look nice and are easy to navigate. Some animated menus with the theme song would have been great, but these are just static menus. They are very colorful, with a blue background. There is a cast photo inside a red record like the cover art on the left side of screen. Here is the breakdown by disc: 1) same cast photo as cover art; 2) Richie, Marion, Howard and Howard; 3) Ralph, Fonzie, Potsie and Richie; 4) Fonzie and Richie. I don't think any of these photos are from the second season, but I guess that is not that big of a deal. It is funny to see Richie in his Wisconsin jacket. A "Play All" button is available for those who want to watch the episodes without interruptions. Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but no separate scene selection menus are offered.


Video and Audio Quality:

I thought the Season 1 set featured some excellent video quality. I read many other postive comments about it. The episodes on this set look to be in much poorer shape. They are presented in their orginal full screen format and in their original broadcast order. I'm not sure what happened here. The first season episodes looked like they were digitally remastered for the best possible picture. It looks like the second season episodes didn't receive the same treatment. There is simply a lot of grain, dirt, debris, white lines, flashing white dots and other digital artifacts. Some scenes do look very clean, while other scenes look terrible. I noticed that "Wish Upon a Star" and "Big Money" looked especially poor in some scenes. The poorer quality scenes seem to be the ones that aren't shown in syndication. Although they were filmed a few years later, the second seasons of Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy look much nicer. For the closing logo enthusiasts, you will be disappointed to see that the Paramount mountain logo is gone. They just use a new CBS Paramount Television logo.

The Dolby Digital Mono audio has been restored and seems to be better than the video quality. The volume is at a good level, and the dialogue is easy to understand. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes.

A few things need to be said about the music on this set. The first thing you'll probably notice is that Bill Haley & His Comets "Rock Around the Clock" has been replaced on this DVD with the season three theme song. The opening credits remain the same, just the theme has been replaced. It really doesn't have the same 50's feel, but I guess if it had to be replaced this was the best alternative. You can pop in your Season 1 DVD for the "Rock Around the Clock" opening. I guess I'm a bit confused about "Rock Around the Clock" and the various versions that they've used. I was told a few months ago that the show used the original 1954 recording for the first and second episodes, but they started to use a newly recorded version that they had made in the fall of 1973 starting with the third episode. The Season 1 DVD set used the 1973 Paramount version. I was told that Paramount had him re-record it in 1973, so they would own it and wouldn't have to pay royalties to MCA (hence, Universal) for every episode. If this is true and Paramount owns the 1973 version, why didn't they use it on the Season 2 DVD set like they did for Season 1?

On the back of the case, it says in very small text: "Music has been changed for this home entertainment version." On the Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy - Season Two sets they had "Some music." With the help of fellow reviewer Pavan, we went through all the episodes to see what music exactly has been changed for this release. Unfortunately we don't have very good news to report. Of the approximately 50 original songs used in season two, it appears that only 5 of them have been cleared for this set. The rest have been replaced by instrumental music or other unidentified songs I also noticed that they have removed the title card in the closing credits that listed the "recording artists contributing to the series" information. It appears that they just re-did the last 4 screens in the credits. All of the episodes have a 1974 copyright date. The new title cards look much clearer than the rest of the credits, and the closing theme fades into the CBS Paramount Television logo at the end.

Thanks to anglemark10 for providing a list of the music for the season two episodes. Please note that his list is compiled from the TV Land broadcasts. Some songs have even been replaced in syndication. I added a few additional songs that I've heard on local channels to the list. There are four instrumental songs that we couldn't identify in the episodes: "Perfidia" by The Ventures and "Richochet" (instrumental) by Teresa Brewer. They were each used in two episodes. We've put them in the possibly included section below. The episodes run from 24:12 to 25:30. It's hard to tell if there are any actual scenes that have been edited out. Let's hope not. If you notice any missing scenes or substituted music, please post in this thread.

17. Richie Moves Out
Included: One unidentified song with lyrics (probably a replacement); several replacement instrumentals
Not Included: "Yakety Yak" by The Coasters (1958); "Love Me Tender" by Elvis Presley (1956); "Earth Angel" by The Penguins (1955); "Wheel Of Fortune" by Kay Starr (1954)

18. Richie's Car
Included: One unidentified song with lyrics (either a replacement or part of the original score); replacement instrumental
Not Included: "Secret Love" by Doris Day (1953)

19. Who's Sorry Now?
Included: One unidentifed song with lyrics ("Love has flown like a starling..." - probably a replacement); several replacement instrumentals
Not Included: "Splish Splash" by Bobby Darin (1958); "Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino (1956); "Lipstick On Your Collar" by Connie Francis (1959); "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley (1956)

20. You Go to My Head
Included: replacement instrumental
Possibly Included: "Perfidia" by The Ventures
Not Included: "I'm Walkin'" by Fats Domino (1957)

21. R.O.T.C.
Included: Two unidentified songs with lyrics (the second one ("Come What May"?) has "There's no mountain too high... There's no river to wide...")
Not Included: "Little Darlin'" by The Diamonds (1957); "Who's Sorry Now" by Connie Francis (1958); "Yakety Yak" by The Coasters (1958); "My Prayer" by The Platters (1956)

22. Haunted
Included: several replacement intrumentals
Not Included: "I'm Walkin'" by Fats Domino (1957); "My Prayer" by The Platters (1956); "Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers (1957)

23. Wish Upon a Star
Included: several replacement instrumentals
Not Included: "Sh-Boom" by The Crew Cuts (1955); "Hound Dog"(instrumental) by Elvis Presley (1956); "Love Me Tender"(instrumental) by Elvis Presley (1956); "Earth Angel" by The Penguins (1955); "Mona Lisa"(instrumental)

24. Not With My Sister, You Don't
Included: One unidentified song with lyrics (probably a replacement)
Not Included: "Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino (1956); "Love Me Tender" by Elvis Presley (1956)

25. Big Money
Included: several replacement instrumentals
Not Included: "Pretend" by Nat King Cole (1953)

26. A Star Is Bored
Included: several replacement instrumentals
Not Included: "Cry" by Johnnie Ray (1951); "Yakety Yak" by The Coasters (1958)

27. Guess Who's Coming to Christmas
Included: several Christmas instrumentals
Not Included: "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms (1957)

28. Open House
Included: several replacement instrumentals
Not Included: "See You Later Alligator" by Bill Haley and The Comets (1956); "My Prayer" by The Platters (1956)

29. Fonzie's Getting Married
Included: "Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino (1956) (very briefly in the first scene)
Not Included: none

30. The Cunningham Caper
Included: no songs used, just the original score
Not Included: none

31. The Not Making of the President
Included: replacement instrumental
Not Included: "Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers (1957); "Sh-Boom" by The Crew Cuts (1955)

32. Cruisin'
Included: several replacement instrumentals
Possibly Included: "Ricochet" (instrumental) by Teresa Brewer (1956)
Not Included: "All I Have To Do Is Dream" by The Everly Brothers (1958); "Little Darlin'" by The Diamonds (1957)

33. The Howdy Doody Show
Included: several replacement instrumentals
Not Included: "Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino (1956)

34. Get a Job
Included: One unidentified song with lyrics ("Love flew away... come fly with me.")
Not Included: "Wheel Of Fortune" by Kay Starr (1954)

35. Fonzie Joins the Band
Included: "Splish Splash" by Bobby Darin (1958) (played twice by the band, once briefly in the first scene then longer towards the middle/end, sung by Potsie both times)
Possibly Included: "Perfidia" by The Ventures (played by the band)
Not Included: "I'm Walkin'" (instrumental) by Fats Domino (1957) (played by the band); "My Prayer" (instrumental) by The Platters (1956) (played by the band)

36. Fish and The Fins
Included: "Young Blood" by The Coasters (1958) (played twice by The Fins - once briefly on TV and once live in concert)
Possibly Included: "Ricochet" by Teresa Brewer (1956)
Not Included: "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley (1956)

37. Richie's Flip Side
Included: several replacement instrumentals
Not Included: "Sh-Boom" by The Crew Cuts (1955); "Splish Splash" by Bobby Darin (1958) (heard twice); "Little Darlin'" by The Diamonds (1957); "See You Later Alligator" by Bill Haley and The Comets (1956)

38. Kiss Me Sickly
Included: One unidentified song with lyrics (probably a replacement); several replacement instrumentals
Not Included: "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" by Doris Day (1956); "Who's Sorry Now" by Connie Francis (1958); "Cry" by Johnnie Ray (1951)

39. Goin' to Chicago
Included: no songs used, just the original score
Not Included: none

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
2-1 - 17. Richie Moves Out (09/10/74) (25:25)
2-2 - 18. Richie's Car (09/17/74) (25:13)
2-3 - 19. Who's Sorry Now? (09/24/74) (25:10)
2-4 - 20. You Go to My Head (10/01/74) (24:56)
2-5 - 21. R.O.T.C. (10/08/74) (25:03)
2-6 - 22. Haunted (10/29/74) (25:05)

Disc 2
---------
2-7 - 23. Wish Upon a Star (11/12/74) (25:22)
2-8 - 24. Not With My Sister, You Don't (11/19/74) (25:07)
2-9 - 25. Big Money (11/26/74) (25:30)
2-10 - 26. A Star Is Bored (12/03/74) (25:26)
2-11 - 27. Guess Who's Coming to Christmas (12/17/74) (24:41)
2-12 - 28. Open House (01/07/75) (25:05)

Disc 3
---------
2-13 - 29. Fonzie's Getting Married (01/14/75) (25:25)
2-14 - 30. The Cunningham Caper (01/21/75) (25:04)
2-15 - 31. The Not Making of the President (01/28/75) (25:06)
2-16 - 32. Cruisin' (02/11/75) (25:20)
2-17 - 33. The Howdy Doody Show (02/18/75) (24:48)
2-18 - 34. Get a Job (02/25/75) (25:05)

Disc 4
---------
2-19 - 35. Fonzie Joins the Band (03/04/75) (24:12)
2-20 - 36. Fish and the Fins (03/11/75) (25:27)
2-21 - 37. Richie's Flip Side (03/18/75) (24:20)
2-22 - 38. Kiss Me Sickly (04/29/75) (25:01)
2-23 - 39. Goin' to Chicago (05/06/75) (24:44)


Special Features:

Unfortuantely there are no special features included. I thought they would make up for all of the music substitutions with some nice extras, but this is another bare-bones release. We'll probably see the pilot which aired as an Love, American Style episode if the rumored Best of Love, American Style set comes to fruition.


Final Comments:

The second season of Happy Days has finally been released after a 2 1/2 year wait. It had be rumored to be delayed because of poor sales and music licensing issues. I thought Paramount did a great job with Season 1 of Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy, and they spent a substantial amount to get the original music (almost $1 million for Happy Days). Unfortunately for these second season releases, it appears that much of the original music has been replaced by instrumental music. While it is still nice to see 2-3 minutes of "new" footage on the DVDs that isn't shown in syndication, the music changes are really noticeable to me. I thought they would have considered releasing the first seasons together as a "classic 39" episodes collection like The Honeymooners. I guess I really don't understand how the whole music licensing rights issue works. Since they re-used many of the same songs in multiple episodes in seasons 1-2, I thought they could just pay for each song once per DVD. It's obviously different when they cleared "Blueberry Hill" on only one of the four possible episodes it was featured in on this set.

I love Happy Days. It is my all-time favorite show. I was very excited when I heard back in December that the second season was going to be released at last. After reviewing it in detail, I'm very disappointed with the final product for a number of reasons. It just seems that CBS DVD/Paramount tried to cut the corners at every turn here. Season 1 had such a promising release. I was expecting more of the same. What are the benefits to the consumer when this set has approximately 90% of the original music (including the opening theme) replaced, the episodes look to have much poorer video quality than season 1, the packaging is cheaper, there is no disc art and no special features included? If they were going to make all these music substitutions, why wait 2 1/2 years to do them? Where are all the great artists like Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, Connie Francis, The Platters, Bill Haley & His Comets, Doris Day and many more? These episodes are not the Happy Days I grew up watching and loving. The music was an integral part of giving the show a 1950's feel. I'm a purist. I want to hear every last note of original music as they aired on ABC over 30 years ago.

I hope that the remaining seasons are released, but I'd like to see a number of improvements. I've listed a few suggestions that I hope they can consider.

1) Use as much original music as possible. Season 1 seemed to have very few music subsitutions. There were around 90 songs in the first season. There were approximately 50 songs used in season two. Clearing only 5 ("Blueberry Hill" once, "Splish Splash" by Potsie and the band twice and "Young Blood" by Fish and The Fins twice) out of 50 songs is unacceptable. If they didn't pay for the "Rock Around the Clock" theme, what songs did they pay for instead? I counted around 30 songs in Season 3, so music will be less of a factor as the seasons continue.

2) Do not edit any of the episodes. Music substition is bad enough. Cutting out entire scenes is much worse in my opinion. Clearing the songs that Potsie and the band performed are a must. There were a number of them that they covered in season three. Are they going to edit out a scene every time Richie sings "I found my thrill... on Blueberry Hill..."? I sure hope not.

3) Improve the video quality of the episodes. The season 1 episodes looked very good. I read many positive comments about it. I doubt I'll be reading the same comments about this set. I've seen some better prints on TV Land and WGN. Digitally remastering the episodes for the best picture possible is a must.

4) Use sturdier holders in the cases and put some photos on the discs.

5) Add some special features. If I Love Lucy, The Odd Couple, Hogan's Heroes and The Phil Silvers Show can have them - why not Happy Days? Where is Paul Brownstein when you need him?

6) Consider staggering the releases of Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy. They could release one series every 2 months or so. I think one of the contributing factors (besides the high price for short seasons) of the low sales for the first seasons was that Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley were released on the same day and Mork & Mindy was not far behind. There are many fans that like 2 or all 3 of them. Not everybody can afford to buy 3 sets at once.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall: 2.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 04/15/07

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000M343AI/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=198537

For much more information on the show, visit the sitcom site that started it all for us in 1997:
Happy Days Online


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