Henry Winkler's Infamous "Jump the Shark" Moment

Season 5 Episode 506
Aired on 05/09/2015 | CC tv-14
A TV icon was born when Happy Days premiered in 1974—the jukebox-thumping, motorcycle-riding Arthur "the Fonz" Fonzarelli, played by actor Henry Winkler. By 1976, the show had 22 million viewers and was the number one show in the world. For a decade, viewers tuned in to hang out at Arnold's Diner with the Cunninghams, Potzie, Ralph Malph and the Fonz.

The show became part of popular culture in America, and to this day, people still use a phrase that was inspired by a Happy Days episode. The idiom "jumping the shark," which refers to the moment when a television show begins to decline in quality or popularity, stems from a scene when Fonzie literally jumps over a shark while water skiing. Now, during a one-on-one conversation with Oprah, Henry reveals how that infamous jump came about.

"I water skied during the summers, and it was one of the few sports I could do. And [my father] said, 'Tell them you water ski!'" Henry says, "And lo and behold, honest they wrote this thing about Ritchie going to Hollywood, and I went with him. And they had me water ski."

Did Henry do his own stunt skiing? Watch the above clip to find out!

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