1 9 7 6 – 1 9 8 3 (USA)
178 x 30 minute episodes
Laverne and Shirley was the first spin-off from Happy Days, where the characters Laverne De Fazio and Shirley Feeney had made their debut as friends of Fonzie.
It took place in the 1950s, and Laverne and Shirley were lifetime best friends who shared an apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They also shared the same job, both working on an assembly line at the local brewery (Shotz) as bottle-cappers.
Laverne was rash and defensive, while Shirley was naive and trusting. Typical plots involved the traumas of being a single, working girl and the extent that they would go to get a date or simply improve their standard of living – by putting on a talent show or beating their high school rival, Rosie Greenbaum at bowling.
Their neighbours – Lenny Kosnowski and Andrew ‘Squiggy’ Squiggman – were a couple of greasers that also worked at the Brewery. Shirley had a guy who she dated, but always kept at an arm’s length (she was a good girl and not a bimbo) named Carmine Ragusa, aka “The Big Ragu”.
Laverne’s father, Frank, a loudmouthed Italian, turned up frequently, as he owned the gang’s favourite hangout, the Pizza Bowl. Rounding out the cast of regulars was Edna Babish, the girls’ landlady, who was always full of good advice, and later started dating (and ultimately married) Laverne’s dad.
Laverne and Shirley was extremely popular for its first few years. Even the shows theme song was a top 25 single in the Summer of 1976.
In the 1980 season, to give the show some fresh plot ideas, the entire cast moved to Los Angeles, where the girls attempted to break into show biz and took on many hilarious odd-jobs.
Frank and Edna, now married, opened up a restaurant called Cowboy Bobs together where Laverne and Shirley occasionally worked. Once in L.A., we also met new neighbours Rhonda, an obnoxious, aspiring actress, and stuntman Sonny St. Jacques.
Laverne and Shirley remained in prime time until the end of the 83 season. It was also seen as a Saturday morning cartoon from 81-83.
In the show’s final year, Cindy Williams left the show after becoming pregnant, and Penny Marshall remained and the show was renamed simply Laverne.
Shirley’s stuffed cat was called “Boo Boo Kitty”. Hope that helps you sleep better.
Laverne De Fazio
Andrew ‘Squiggy’ Squiggman
David L Lander
Frank De Fazio
Edna Babish/De Fazio
Carole Ita White
Sonny St Jacques