Tuesday nights were my favorite nights when I was a teenager in the 80s. And ABC was *the* channel to watch. Remember the line-up?
Happy Days – 8pm
Laverne and Shirley – 8:30pm
Three’s Company – 9pm
Too Close For Comfort – 9:30pm and Hart to Hart after that.
I lived for Tuesday nights. LIVED.
My favorite shows were Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. They were my “Must See TV” before the phrase was even invented. Not only did I watch every week, but I also loved catching up with the early seasons in syndication on Boston Channel 56 every weekday.
At the time, I was more enamored with the actors. I had the biggest crush on Scott Baio (who, as we all know, turned out to be a colossal disappointment). I thought the Fonz was cool. I channeled my inner Marion Cunningham when playing the mom in my high school production of Bye Bye Birdie. And I played Laverne in an elementary school skit. I even drank her signature milk and Pepsi, which I adored.
Until I discovered the manna from heaven that is Diet Coke.
Years later, I learned more about the man behind the magic of my Tuesday nights.
In my eyes, Garry Marshall was a genius. A brilliant writer and a master of comedy with the most distinctive voice. When I first started working at Disney, my first job at the theme parks was at the Backstage Studio Tour. In the preshow queue there was a video that played on continuous loop. It featured famous people talking about different things in the movie industry. One of those people was Garry Marshall. I remember closing a loop in the queue (Disney speak for lengthening or shortening the line with chainlink barriers) and stopping to watch his segment. You could hear his raspy, thick Brooklyn accent all over the pre boarding area.
One of my favorite genres to read is memoir. I’m sort of a celebrity stalker, but I also truly enjoy learning more about the person behind the persona. Last year, I checked out Garry Marshall’s memoir – in an audio book format.
I can’t even tell you how fantastic it was to HEAR Garry Marshall tell the story of his life. I found myself smiling as I drove my car listening to him talk about filming Happy Days, The Odd Couple and Laverne and Shirley. Or writing for Jack Parr and the Dick Van Dyke Show. Or working with a young Julia Roberts on Pretty Woman. Or how Hector Elizondo was his lucky charm in so many TV shows and movies.
It was a joyous read because he was a joyful man.
I know I’m not alone when I say many of my fond memories growing up and into adulthood are thanks to Garry Marshall. His TV shows and movies made so many people happy.
What a legacy he leaves.