'Happy Days' reunion: Ron Howard reveals the moment he almost quit the show (Exclusive)

Happy Days are here again!

The close-knit cast of the megahit 1970s sitcom came together on Wednesday, speaking with ET's Kevin Frazier about their memories of their time together and how they've managed to stay such close friends.

"We acted together, we played charades together, [we played charity] softball all over the world together," Henry Winkler shared.

"It feels like if somebody had a script and put some marks on the ground we could just do an episode," Ron Howard added.

"That's the one reason the show was so successful too," Anson Williams chimed in. "There was chemistry, there's just immediate connection. The minute we're together there's just that it factor."

The stars of the beloved long-running comedy -- Winkler, Howard, Williams, Don Most and Marion Ross -- reunited at the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles for the Garry Marshall Theater's 3rd Annual Founder's Gala.

9 PHOTOS
Ron Howard and father Rance Howard together
See Gallery
Ron Howard and father Rance Howard together
LOS ANGELES - JULY 30: ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW. From left: Ron Howard with his father, Rance Howard between takes of episode, 'Mr. McBeevee'. Image dated July 30, 1962. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images) *** local caption *** Rance Howard;Ron Howard
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - MAY 23: Actor Rance Howard, guest, Cheryl Howard and director Ron Howard arrive at the premiere of 'Cinderella Man' at Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk on May 23, 2005 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Rance Howard and Ron Howard at the The Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Director Ron Howard, who won the Best Director and Best Picture Academy Awards for his film "A Beautiful Mind" at the 74th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, poses with father Rance Howard (L) at the Governor's Ball following the ceremony March 24, 2002. REUTERS/Fred Prouser FSP/SV
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - MAY 23: Actor Rance Howard and director Ron Howard arrive at the premiere of 'Cinderella Man' at Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk on May 23, 2005 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Rance Howard and son Ron Howard during 'Cinderella Man' Los Angeles Premiere at Gibsob Amphitheater in Universal City, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 15: (L-R) Director Ron Howard, Rance Howard's wife Judy, actor Rance Howard, and retired astronaut Buzz Aldrin pose at the special screening of THINKFilm's 'In The Shadow Of The Moon' in the Clarity Screening Room on August 15, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for THINKFilm)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: (L-R) Rance Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Ron Howard attend the 'Long Live Imagination' campaign screening of 'When You Find Me' at the American Museum of Natural History on November 15, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: (L-R) Rance Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Ron Howard attend the 'Long Live Imagination' campaign screening of 'When You Find Me' at the American Museum of Natural History on November 15, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Marshall, who created Happy Days in 1974, passed away in July 2016 following a stroke, and left behind a film and TV legacy that puts him in the pantheon of Hollywood greats. 

The cast of Happy Days had no shortage of incredible memories of Marshall, and of their time being the stars of the biggest show in TV.

"It was an amazing change in your life," said Winkler, who famously played the cool greaser Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli. "People wanted my socks without taking off my shoes."

"It was kind of like the boy band of the moment. It was that kind of pandemonium. And a lot of it was just focused on trying to get his socks," Howard -- who starred as Richie Cunningham -- recalled. "Somebody grabbed my hat and, even back when I had hair I liked to wear a hat, but they grabbed my hat [and] I actually went and got it."

"That's the only time I've lost my temper in a situation like that," Howard added.

However, it was this level of fame that led to some problems between the network and the cast. Specifically, Fonzie's popularity skyrocketed so quickly that the execs wanted to retool the show to focus on him specifically -- and this almost led to Howard quitting.

"They did come to me and said, 'Well the network would kind of like to change the name of the show to Fonzie's Happy Days.' And I said, 'Well, I don't think I wanna be in that show. I wanna be in Happy Days and I think Henry should have, you know, every opportunity to do everything -- that's fantastic -- but you know, I signed on for this other thing and I just really don't wanna do that. I think I'd go back to film school,'" Howard explained.

"The one producer who wasn't there was Garry Marshall," Howard continued. "In fact, he was standing outside and he said, 'How'd that go in there?' And I said, 'Well, I don't wanna upset everybody and disappoint everybody, and I love Henry and I love the show, but I just, I just don't feel good about that.' And he said, 'It's not gonna happen then.' And that was that."

As it turns out, fans have Marshall to thank for the Fonz's iconic leather jacket and general greaser vibe. 

Execs wanted to tone down his radical rebelliousness and tough-guy image -- essentially, everything that made Fonzie so popular -- and that included having him rock a cloth coat. Because, as Winkler explained, the higher-ups "thought I'd be associated with crime," if he wore a leather jacket.

It was Marshall who convinced them to make an exception that became the rule.

"So he went to ABC said, 'You know, he could be hurt if he wears the cloth and is riding a motorcycle.' And they said, 'OK, when he's with his bike, he can wear leather!'" Winkler recalled. "And Garry [just] went down to the payphone, he called the writers room, he said, 'Never write another scene without his bike.'"

"He really cared about us. More than [as] actors. He really inspired us to learn," Williams said of the late director. "Because he said [we might], 'Wanna wear many hats.'"

"Garry was a natural a natural teacher and he loved collecting theories and axioms about life but also making a show," Howard recalled. "They were all hilarious but they all rang true and they were great lessons."

11 PHOTOS
Happy Days
See Gallery
Happy Days

Pat Morita 

A busy actor best known for his role as Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, Morita played Matsuo “Arnold” Takahashi, the owner of Arnold’s Diner in Happy Days.

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Ron Howard

What a career arc: from Opie to Richie to Hollywood mogul, Howard was the perfect aw-shucks youth in a Midwestern town.

Henry Winkler

As the greaser with a heart of gold, the Fonz stood tall. Henry Winkler, however, was much smaller in stature. Whatever.

Tom Bosley

An accomplished character actor, Bosley played the affable patriarch of the Cunningham brood.

Marion Ross

The Fonz was putty in Mrs. C’s hands, as Ross played her traditional stay-at-home housewife role.

Anson Williams

In the role of Warren “Potsie” Weber, Williams was one of the few Happy Days characters to appear in all seasons of the show. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Anson Williams

Williams found greater success after the show, as a TV director. He’s found continuous work on the sets of Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, seaQuest DSV, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Charmed. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)

Donny Most

As Richie’s wisecracking friend Ralph Malph, Happy Days was Most’s career highlight. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Scott Baio

As a later entrant to the Happy Days cast, Baio played Chachi Arcola, Fonzie’s cousin who became Joanie’s boyfriend.

Al Molinaro

Before Happy Days, Molinaro gained famed as Murray the Cop on TV’s The Odd Couple. On Happy Days (and later Joanie Loves Chachi), he played Al Delvecchio, the new owner of Arnold’s Diner. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Al Molinaro

In 1987, he and Anson Williams opened a chain of diners called Big Al’s. He currently lives in Glendale, California (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story