Laverne & Shirley TV Series Overview


Introduction

Laverne & Shirley (originally Laverne DeFazio & Shirley Feeney) is an American sitcom television series that played for eight seasons on ABC from 27 January 1976 to 10 May 1983.

A spin-off of Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley followed the lives of Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams), two friends and roommates who work as bottle-cappers in the fictitious Shotz Brewery in late 1950s Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From the sixth season onwards, the series’ setting changed to mid-1960s Burbank, California.

Featuring regular physical comedy, Laverne & Shirley became the most-watched American television programme by its third season, and it was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award in 1979.

Outline

At the start of each episode, Laverne and Shirley are skipping down their street in Milwaukee, arm in arm, reciting a Yiddish-American hopscotch chant: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated,” which then leads into the series’ theme song, “Making Our Dreams Come True” performed by Cyndi Grecco. The hopscotch chant is from Penny Marshall’s childhood.

For the first five seasons, from 1976 to 1980, the show was set in Milwaukee (executive producer Thomas L. Miller’s home town), taking place from roughly 1958-1959 through the early 1960s. Shotz Brewery bottle cappers and best friends, Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney, live in a basement apartment, where they communicate with upstairs neighbours Lenny and Squiggy by screaming up the dumbwaiter shaft connecting their apartments. Also included in the show are Laverne’s father, Frank DeFazio, proprietor of the Pizza Bowl, and Edna Babish, the apartment building’s landlady, who later married Frank. Shirley maintained an off-again on-again romance with dancer/singer/boxer Carmine Ragusa. During this period, characters from Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley made occasional guest appearances on each other’s series.

During the fifth season, the girls went into the Army Reserve, and they contended with a tough-as-nails drill sergeant named Alvinia T. “The Frog” Plout (Vicki Lawrence). While their time in the Army Reserve was brief in the live action series, it did inspire an animated series with the duo in the army contending with their immediate superior, a commanding pig named Sergeant Squealy who was voiced by Ron Palillo (best known for his role as Arnold Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter) who is always threatening to report them to Sergeant Turnbuckle (voiced by Kenneth Mars).

Animated Spin-Off Series

During the run of the main show, an animated spin-off called Laverne & Shirley in the Army began airing on Saturday mornings. The first programme was aired on 10 October 1981, and featured the voices of Marshall and Williams playing Laverne and Shirley in the Army with a talking piglet drill sergeant named “Squealy” (voiced by Ron Palillo).

The show was renamed Laverne & Shirley with Special Guest Star The Fonz when the Fonz began working in the motorpool as the chief mechanic, and then again renamed Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour when new segments involving a teenaged Mork & Mindy were added to the mix. The series ran until 03 September 1983.

Laverne & Shirley Series 05

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 13 September 1979 to 13 May 1980 (Series 05).
  • Running Time: 30 minutes.
  • Rating: PG.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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