Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fonzie Revisited

I don't want to come across as some kind of Happy Days fanatic but I thought this story from JJ was really entertaining:

Someone asked what bike the Fonz rode in Happy Days. I was the wrangler for Fonzie's bike on the first season of Happy Days. The bike he rode was a 1947 Knucklehead Bobber. I spent time trying to teach Henry Winkler how to ride it but he was scared to death of it. In the scenes when Henry pulled into frame with it running I was the guy who started it and got it pointed in the right direction.
If you will recall the first season of Happy Days was an outside, on location show. We had the cars and car hops outside of Arnold's Drive In. The boys went street racing, ETC., ETC., ETC. The second season the show was changed to a three camera show that seldom left the stage. You never saw the outside of the drive in again. Things got cut back, including my job. Nobody on the crew could start the Knuck and it was really just too big for Henry to handle with two grips pushing him into the shot. So they called on Bud Ekins to put together a '50's period Triumph to replace the Harley. There were several Triumph's used in the show, but only one Harley.
The bike that was Fonzies Knuck belonged to George Dockstader. George had a fleet of Harley's that were used strictly for movies and TV. The bikes changed wardrobe often. I had used that same bike as a Police bike, Army sidecar rig, Chopper, Stock bagger, ETC. That bike had been so many different things in its lifetime you wouldn't believe it. It was in Wild Angel's, Both of the Clint Eastwood Any Which Way movies, And about half of the other biker explotation movies of the '60's and '70's. It was a piece of Hollywood history.
The '47 Knuck that was Fonzies bike has been restored to semi original condition and is in a motorcycle museum in Colorado

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