Fred Fox Jr., writer of the immortal (as in zombie) Happy Days “Jump the Shark” episode (officially known as “Hollywood 3”), would like to defend his honor:

Which brings us to the question: Was the “Hollywood 3” episode of “Happy Days” deserving of its fate?

No, it wasn’t. All successful shows eventually start to decline, but this was not “Happy Days'” time. Consider: It was the 91st episode and the fifth season. If this was really the beginning of a downward spiral, why did the show stay on the air for six more seasons and shoot an additional 164 episodes? Why did we rank among the Top 25 in five of those six seasons?

Well, since you ask…

Fonzie jumped the shark on September 20, 1977. In an era with three networks, no cable channels, no VCR, and no videogames, here was the alternative Tuesday-night programming from 1977 through 1982:

The Fitzpatricks, The Richard Pryor Show, The Paper Chase, Grandpa Goes to Washington, California Fever, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, The White Shadow, Simon and Simon, Bring ’Em Back Alive, and Father Murphy.

By the end of the 1982-83 season, against such withering competition, Happy Days still ranked a respectable 28th. But that fall, it dropped to 55th place. What happened?

NBC ran fourth-ranked The A-Team against it. Fool, pitied.

Still, after being beaten down by Diana Ross’s former bodyguard, Fox bounced back:

Fortunately, my career didn’t jump the shark after “jump the shark.” When “Happy Days” ended, I went directly to the ABC Paramount hit show “Webster” and, after that, wrote and produced, among others, “It’s Your Move,” “He’s the Mayor,” “The New Leave It to Beaver” and “Family Matters.” In 1987, Brian Levant and I created the action comedy “My Secret Identity,” which won an International Emmy.

If that’s what he’s proud of, we shudder to think what “among others” amounts to.

Which brings us to the question: Was Fred Fox Jr. deserving of his fate?


A journeyman Hollywood hack, Fox should have remained in well-deserved obscurity for the crap he dispensed to the American viewing public. But thanks to some dudes at the University of Michigan getting wasted while watching Nick at Nite in 1987, Fox will always be known for inspiring the One Meme That Ruled Them All.

First Person: In defense of ‘Happy Days’ ’ ‘Jump the Shark’ episode [LAT, via Sully]

You’ve managed to stir some of my few remaining brain cells back to life, noje, and what they are remembering is a TV series back then, a rival to The Love Boat, set on a coast-to-coast super-train. It was an Aaron Spelling production featuring a good deal of model work, plastic actors and SFX. And every week we laughed, we cried, we were touched (though not in the ways we wanted), were uplifted and edified: in short, we learned from the feisty yet attractive crew and the all-star passenger list (I am not going to mock June Allyson or Alice Faye).

Damn you. Now I’m going back into my coma.

My Secret Identity was really popular in… Canada City where it was produced. It helped sustain the amazing career of Jerry O’Connell to the “not” Joe Francis Piranha chomped penis victim he is today.

BTW, I’ve seen the “New Leave It To Beaver” and it should have been called “Leave It.” It’s not like I had good taste in 1986. Sure we had like 20 channels when dad finally relented after all our crying and whining to get cable, but it didn’t mean there was anything good on and I was still suckling on the glass teat. There is nothing to be proud about whether one produced it, broadcasted it or watched it.

Touchy though.

I pretty much stopped watching “television” in 77 and then only gradually picked up on MTV (120 mins, natch) and local community freeform broadcasting in the mid to late 80s.

So it’s no accident that I’m pretty much clueless about exactly when Happy Days started it’s decline. Wouldn’t that have been the whole Joanie loves Chaachi thing?

You have to admit that Simon & Simon was pretty damn cool. Give me 30 seconds and a cup of coffee and I could probably start humming their theme song. And it was set in Stinque’s World Domination Headquarters.

@ManchuCandidate: Happy birthday darling. You have anything wild and crazy planned for a celebration?

I wish. Probably hike up my pants to my waist and complain about how things weren’t as good as they used to be.

Actually I’m going to my parents for my b-day dinner and (hopefully not, but more than likely will) listen to my mom explain to me why I’m not married and producing grandchildren and how I should act 40 instead of the immature man baby she thinks I am.


you really need to see this

Erial Ali is no ordinary artist. For his Celestial Soul Portraits, the California-based empath requests photographs of his subjects, collects as much biographical information as possible — especially pertaining to their spiritual beliefs — and channels their “unique Essence,” based on his ability to “hear what’s going on inside of people” and envision “a higher plane of existence.”

Since the presumptive Republican presidential front-runners are intensely spiritual people, The Politics Blog commissioned Ali to reveal their true inner selves to the world. He remains adamant that his portraits (made over the last six weeks in Photoshop) are meant neither to mock nor deify, but instead “help create higher potentials for the country and world.”

Palin is featured but Newt and Huck are equally wowee.

@Capt Howdy: I’m surprised he doesn’t live in Woodstock. They look like the ‘spiritual’ tchotchkes on sale at the lamasery.

@ManchuCandidate: Happy birthday. Now would be a good time to invest in a pair of substantial suspenders. You might ask noje where he got his.

@Capt Howdy:

Wow – like the Repugs lost a bet and were re-outfitted by Liberace’s tailor. ;)

BTW, the WordPress login is doing something weird in Safari 5; every time I log in, I lose my session when the page refreshes. Works in FF, though…

Out of respect, I burned the television when they canceled Banacek and then The Night Stalker.

@Capt Howdy: Oh my word, that hurts my eyes.

@Tony Blair Witch Project: Aiiiii, there’s a lot of that crystal-healing quasi-Indian Unicorn rainbow tchotchke shit sold in some of the small towns on the northern California and Oregon coasts…

@ManchuCandidate: Ugh. Good luck with mom. I guess if you want to be smart ass you can ask her if cranking out kids makes one a “real” grown up adult, does she think that Bristol Palin and every 15 year old pushing around a pram with their baby-daddy are more of an adult than you? That’s one of the responses in my arsenal when family or friends ride my ass about breeding.

@Capt Howdy: Is that a golden-domes mosque behind Sarah??? OMG she’s a secret Muslim!!!11!1!

@ManchuCandidate: Happy birthday, darling! Hope you have some friends to drink with after the family dinner.

@SanFranLefty: Bet you don’t have a Tibetan Superstore for All Your Prayer Flag Needs. We do. Nyah nyah ommmmmmmmmmmmm. I will take pics sometime.

@Mistress Cynica: Now there’s an observation by someone with trained eyes.

@Tony Blair Witch Project: You mean there was a TV series that was basically Hotel on a train? Unpossible! No one can duplicate the magic that Bette Davis brought to the role of matriarch. (Except Anne Baxter.)

@ManchuCandidate: Damn. That’s what I was gonna get you for your birthday.

@Capt Howdy: Wow. I never noticed the uncanny resemblance between Mitt Romney and Liberace before.

wordpress is an evil evil thing. after agonizing over it’s secret ways long time, i will share the key: santeria

i get really stupid when i post this stoned. it’s harvest in provo!
some early bloomers are passing through from The Great Amsterdam planting. i have a few more weeks to baby my trees. F.U.N.

that wasn’t a sophmoric post. it was a political statement.

@Tommmcatt Cannot Be Arsed To Think About Sharon Angle:
it was that great, eh? so..what? what did you do.

@Tommmcatt Cannot Be Arsed To Think About Sharon Angle: The Mouse welcomes you with open jaws. Is it true you’re working on their new spy series H.A.G. (stands for Hot Asian Guys)?

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: I guess. Except it had train crashes every other episode just to keep the South tuned in. And hey, I adored Ann Baxter. Frank Lloyd’s Wright’s granddaughter and a woman of great intelligence and imagination. She once did the single most thoughtful thing to a fan I ever witnessed.

@Tony Blair Witch Project:



If I were not so bitchy this morning I’d wish you many happy returns of the day…


I can’t really say, but it involved my husband and lots of alone time.

I really miss the teevee themes from the 80s–many were really quite brilliant and memorable, like Airwolf, Magnum PI, Miami Vice, Riptide, Remington Steele, to name a few, and of course my personal Sci-Fi action favorite Otherworld.

Nowadays we don’t even get a theme since they need every second to cram in more ads. Bummer!

@ManchuCandidate: I spent my 21st birthday surrounded by extended family (a cousin was getting married later that week) with nary a drop of alcohol in sight. Not ideal, but not terrible either. In other words, make the most of it!

@Tony Blair Witch Project: During a tour of Taliesin West, I learned that FLW loved movies and built his own little movie theater on the compound. Whenever Baxter sent him a movie to show, he would gather all his friends and students to watch the movie there.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: That’s nice. I’m glad to hear that. His daughter, Ann’s mother, designed beautiful furniture.

@FlyingChainSaw: I loved Night Stalker – what a perfect vehicle for Darren McGavin.

@redmanlaw: Unlike other architects, Wright did poorly during the 20s – Ennis and another ‘textile block’ house were two small commissions he drummed up. Reports say that one unhappily married couple stayed together for years for fear of losing the house in a divorce. Wright bio says that houses are crumbling due to pollution in the air and rain. I’ve never seen either (Fallingwater, Taliesin, Hagan, first Usonian house are under my belt along w/ Johnson Wax and many others). One day I’ll make my way to CA to see them if they’re open. Also want to see the Darwin Martin house in Buffalo NY.

@blogenfreude: I thought the entire ensemble worked well together and I liked the fact that the guy could resolve a case by finding out how wrong he was, like, you know, normal life.

Just came back from B-Day Dinner with the parents… sigh.

It was as I expected (“Why aren’t you married?”) except this time I didn’t yell back. I just took it and didn’t get all bug eyed angry as I have been prone to in the past. Weird, for me.

Mom threatened to saddle me up with someone I absolutely dislike and told me I would HAVE to date her. Oh yeah, that would make me “happy.” Soooo happy. So much for the “it’s about you, not us” speech they said about 10 minutes earlier. Fortunate for me, the female in question doesn’t like me.

Of course, I was not helped today because my dad’s friend sent him a DVD of his oldest daughter’s wedding. That wonderful coincidental timing that just helps twists the knife. If I could send his friend a box of pooh, I probably would just because.

Anyway, it could have been worse. At least I got a new Shirt.

@ManchuCandidate: I feel fortunate that my mother gave up on me a long time ago and my father never cared.
I hope your b-day gets better from here on out. You have my permission to extend it an extra day due to unnecessary shittiness.

@ManchuCandidate: You forgot to tell them about the harem of ferociously sexed amazons that lives with you?

@redmanlaw & @blogenfreude: If you like the Ennis House, you’ll be thrilled to know that it can be yours! The house has been shopped around for awhile now, with the original asking price of $15M enduring the mother of all price-chops down to $7.5M, which is quite shocking considering that it’s one of the crown jewels of Los Angeles architecture. That said it would be a challenging place to live. The buyer needs to set aside something like $6M to finish the renovation-restoration, the neighbors have raised holy hell over any proposals to open the home to tours (Mr. OA and I gave ourselves an unauthorized tour in 2006 pre-partial restoration), and there is no lawn, practically speaking, which most Angelenos regard as a prerequisite to purchasing. However, for the right owner, this house would be a life changing event. Aside for the incredible aesthetics and mind-blowing LA views, they would develop close relationships with the local and national architecture societies and the FLW Preservation Trust.


I had a boyfriend once with the whole “box full of Polaroids from the homeland” thing. Good Times!

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: @Tony Blair Witch Project: @¡Andrew!: I’m using my Museum Day pass to pay a long-overdue visit to FLW’s home and studio in Oak Park, IL.

@ManchuCandidate: Belated birthday tidings! The beauty of spending time with family is that, eventually, you get to leave and return to your nice, peaceful residence…alone.

@¡Andrew!: Who should my assistant call to get me in on that?

@ManchuCandidate: I never get the Marriage Question. It helps to have a younger brother who took care of the spawning before anyone noticed.

@ManchuCandidate: Next year if you want a boyfriend-for-the-day to take along the gays are here for you. Show up with one of us and you’ll never get bugged about GFs again.

@Tony Blair Witch Project: If Manchu borrowed Mr. Catt from Tommy for the night, it would at least soften the blow for MoMC because at least he would be Asian…

@ManchuCandidate: I’m with TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ, you should extend your birthday through today.

@Tony Blair Witch Project:
Thanks. I probably won’t have parents either as they’ll both drop dead from simultaneous heart attacks.

I will. I’ve been told not to go anywhere this weekend. No reason, my friends say.

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