Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Laverne & Shirley”

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight … Schlemiel, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated…

Thus began the theme to the long-running television comedy, “Laverne & Shirley.”

The characters first appeared on “Happy Days” as dates Fonzie rustled up from his big black book for himself and his best friend, Richie Cunningham. The characters of Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney were so popular with viewers that they garnered their own show, which ran from 1976 to 1983.

The show revolved around—yes, you guessed it—Laverne and Shirley, single roommates in Milwaukee who worked together in Schotz Brewery in the bottle-capping division. Laverne (played by Penny Marshall), could easily be spotted by the big letter “L” she usually wore on her shirts, and Shirley (Cindy Williams) dated Carmine “The Big Ragu” Ragusa.

Other series regulars were Michael McKean and David L. Lander as upstairs neighbors, Lenny and Squiggy, who would often burst into the girls’ apartment unannounced, both saying, “Hello!” in unison. Phil Foster starred as Laverne’s dad, Frank, and Betty Garrett, who played Irene Lorenzo on “All in the Family,” joined the cast as Edna Babish, Laverne and Shirley’s landlord, who would eventually marry Frank DeFazio.

In later seasons, the girls moved to California, along with the rest of the cast. And instead of a brewery, the worked in a department store. Joining the cast would be Leslie Easterbook as next-door neighbor, Rhonda Lee. Easterbrook would go on to star in several of the “Police Academy” movies.

The series waned when Cindy Williams left due to pregnancy and the show pretty much became the “Laverne” show.

But now matter how long the show goes off the air, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get the Angora Debs song out of my head. (“Angora Debs, forever true, we stick together, two by two. And if we should part, we’ll know from the start. Whatever goes, whatever comes, we’ll always be, Angora chums….you got an A-N...G-O-R-A-, you got an A-N...G-O-R-A ... Angora Debs … hot stuff!”

Has anyone figured out I need a vacation?

Some sites to scope out:


You can see the opening of “Laverne & Shirley” on YouTube.com here


michael said...

Brad, Brad, Brad...finally a topic I can get excited about, especially with the release of "Laverne & Shirley Season 3" only a week away. This is without question one of the funniest shows in TV history and a true testament to the impact Lucille Ball had on the medium. Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams were the first and last since Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance to truly master the art of the female physical comedy.

Who can forget Laverne working the grill at Dead Lazlo's Place ("Betty please, pick up your hashblacks"), their turn as candy stripers, or when Lenny and Squiggy "runned away" to join the circus.

While I wasn't much of a fan of their move to Los Angeles, the first episode there, when they experience the earthquake, is one of the finest examples of how skilled they were as physical comediennes.

Besides, who else in the history of the medium ever made a young lad from Hunterdon county want to grow up and live in a basement with their best friend?

Brad Wadlow said...

Michael!!! Welcome back! Long time, no hear! Hope you are well!

Chus said...

This is what I think: Penny Marshall