On January 27, 1976, a Happy Days spinoff called Laverne & Shirley first aired on television. Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney, two bottle-cappers at the Shotz Brewery in Milwaukee, burst onto the scene in an epic opening sequence and the world fell in love. Actresses Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams shared an on-screen chemistry as the best friends and audiences were smitten. By its third season, Laverne & Shirley had become the most-watched television program in America. Here, we’ll dive into some facts about the show and dish out some behind-the-scenes trivia. Read on to learn which major role Cindy Williams was rejected for before Laverne & Shirley!
The Story Behind That Seemingly Random Intro Song
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, schlemiel, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated!” Schlemiel, schlimazel, and hasenpfeffer are Yiddish terms. A common Yiddish phrase explains the words this way: “A schlemiel is somebody who often spills his soup and a schlimazel is the person it lands on.” And hasenpfeffer is a rabbit stew.
The chant is something that Penny Marshall and her friends used to sing as they walked to school together, the same way Laverne and Shirley do in the song’s opening credits. Cindy Williams later said that they only had to shoot the scene twice.
Coming up: Penny Marshall’s death and the legacy she left behind.