Why Ron Howard, Henry Winkler Met John Lennon on ‘Happy Days’ Set

The Beatles were so huge that even child star Ron Howard got swept up in Beatlemania. He even met John Lennon on the set of Happy Days. However, his reaction to meeting John was much different than Henry Winkler’s. In addition, The Beatles’ label managed to use their music to cash in on the success of Happy Days.

John Lennon wearing yellow glasses
John Lennon | Ron Howard/Redferns

How Ron Howard tried to mimic The Beatles as a kid

During an interview with NME, Howard recalls seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show when he was nine. He wanted a wig that would make him look like the Beatles and “Beatle boots” — The Beatles’ distinctive shoes. “The Beatle boots didn’t ever arrive, but I did get a wig,” Howard said. “It soon wound up in the box in the corner and eventually got thrown out with all my baseball cards. I always appreciated them, but I never bought a lot of music. I like the music a lot, but it’s the story I was attracted to.” The story in question was the story of the Fab Four’s career.

How Ron Howard and Henry Winkler reacted to meeting John Lennon on the ‘Happy Days’ set

This wouldn’t be the end of Howard’s connection to The Beatles. He revealed “[H]is son really wanted to see our set and meet Henry,” Howard recalled. “Henry was desperate to meet John Lennon, too. I had nothing but admiration for John Lennon but I was nothing quite as fervent – for Henry it was a practically religious experience. I just said hello – it was all over in 10 or 15 minutes. Ringo [Starr] and Keith Moon wandered onto our set a few years later, but they were in a state in which I wouldn’t expect them to remember very much of the experience!”

A rendition of the Happy Days theme

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Howard would later direct a documentary about the Fab Four titled The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years. The film discusses the band’s career beginning to end, with a special moment of their early period. In addition, it features interviews from a number of famous people about their connection to The Beatles, including Whoopi Goldberg and Sigourney Weaver. In the film, Howard never discusses that he met both John and Ringo.

Did The Beatles’ label cash in on ‘Happy Days’?

Interestingly, The Beatles’ label cashed in on Happy Days. MeTV reports Capitol Records released a Beatles compilation album called Rock ‘n’ Roll Music. The album had a title font similar to the font of the Happy Days logo. In addition, the album art included a lot of 1950s iconography, like a jukebox and Marilyn Monroe, so the album was clearly riding the same 1950s nostalgia wave as Happy Days — even if The Beatles were a 1960s and 1970s band.

“Rock and Roll Music”

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Both John and Ringo criticized the look of the album. However, Rock ‘n’ Roll Music reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Although they aren’t particularly associated with each other, Howard and The Beatles crossed paths in major ways.