Thrift store find: Happy Days

Ayyyyyy! Look what I stumbled on at a recent thrift store/used book run: Happy Days #1: Ready to go Steady.

The interesting thing about this tie-in is that it came early in the show’s run. Note that the Fonz is not wearing the leather jacket that became his staple in the show’s later years. Happy Days, the television series, started in 1974. This book came out in 1974, meaning that tie-ins were a part of the initial media strategy.

Many times, when we think of tie-ins, we think of toys, action figures, Happy Meals, trading cards (which, by the way, I’m missing one card for a complete set … if you could help me out) and so on. We don’t automatically think of books.

But book tie-ins are a big thing. I wonder what it would be like to write one of these. Is it similar to fan fiction? How much leeway does a writer get?

This edition was published by Tempo Books, an imprint of Grosset & Dunlap, which is now part of the Penguin Group. It was written by William Johnston, who wrote a lot of tie-ins. How many? Well, in 2010 he was named the “Tie-In Grandmaster” by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

I don’t know which part of that sentence stands out more: that you can be named a “Grandmaster” of media tie-ins, or that there is such a thing as the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. I want to join.

The award, though, came the same year Johnston passed away.

So here’s to you, William Johnston: Grandmaster, writer and purveyor of pop culture. Thanks for writing this in 1974, so that I could find it 38 years later.

Back cover text:
Richie Cunningham saunters down the street headed for his first day at a full-time summer job. Boy does he feel manly and full of himself! Suddenly, he spies Emma, the new girl on the block. Emma is a knock-out, the woman of his dreams! Richie is IN LOVE. The calm of the Cunningham household is quickly shattered — we’re off and laughing!

Emma and Richie plunge into their summertime romance and are soon “going steady.” Richie’s love for Emma is boundless. His imagination soars. Contemplation: MARRIAGE!! Wouldn’t it be great to come home to Emma’s welcoming arms every night? (Sigh)

Join the contagious, side-splitting hilarity with Richie, his family, and the whole bebopping gang from Happy Days!


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