Laverne & Shirley
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Laverne & Shirley (also known as “Laverne DeFazio & Shirley Feeney” in the first season) is an American television situation comedy that ran on ABC from 1976 to 1983. It starred Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, roommates who, as the series began, worked in a Milwaukee brewery known as Shotz Brewery.
The show was a spin-off from Happy Days, as the two lead characters were originally introduced on that show as acquaintances of Fonzie. Set in roughly the same time period as Happy Days, the Laverne & Shirley timeline started in approximately 1959 when the series began through 1967, when the series ended.
Laverne De Fazio (Penny Marshall) Known for being a tough-talking tomboy, Laverne grew up in Brooklyn, with her Italian immigrant parents and grandmother; Laverne’s parents moved to Milwaukee, where her mother died and was buried. Laverne works alongside best friend and roommate Shirley and is known for being the cynic of the pair. Laverne enjoys dating tough guys of the “Purple Fiends” gang and picking up sailors at the dock with old lady neighbor Mrs. Colchek. (The show’s dialogue was always clear, however, that both Laverne and Shirley were “good girls” according to the standards of the 1950s.) Laverne is also a fan of the TV show Sea Hunt and enjoys 3-D Monster Movies, such as The Bride of Bwana Devil. Milk and Pepsi was Laverne’s infamous favorite drink (Penny Marshall drank milk and Pepsi in real life and added it to her character). Along with her poodle skirts, her trademark was the letter “L” monogrammed on her shirts and sweaters (another idea introduced by Marshall).
Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) Shirley Wilhelmina Feeney is the perky, positive one. With apple cheeks to match her personality, Shirley never “lets her balloon land”. She also tends to be a meek little “girly-girl”, while Laverne is more outspoken and athletic; this doesn’t mean that Shirley is a wimp or a pushover, as she is quite capable of standing up for herself when necessary—she just isn’t quite as aggressive about it as her friend is. One of Shirley’s most prized possessions is “Boo Boo Kitty”, a large stuffed cat which sits next to her bed. Her favorite song is Frank Sinatra’s “High Hopes” and that song is featured in several episodes, often used by one of the girls to cheer the other up. Shirley later becomes a huge fan of teen-idol Fabian. She has an overbearing mother named Lily (Pat Carroll) who had moved to California, and an alcoholic sailor brother Bobby (Ed Begley, Jr.). In episode 32, “Buddy Can You Spare a Father?” (which aired on 1977-02-15), Shirley’s father Jack Feeney was played by Scott Brady (who turned down the role of Archie Bunker on All in the Family). Shirley dotes on her never-seen nieces, nephews, and cousins and adores her “Feeney Family Photo Album”. Shirley is also well-known as a conservative in her personal life: for example, “a little vo-dee-o-doe-doe” was an early catchphrase. In an early exchange, Shirley insists that “I don’t vo-dee-o-doe-doe” to which Laverne replies, “You vo-dee-o”. After a beat, Shirley’s response is a deadpan “Once”, followed by a bit of babbling about the special circumstances. In the series’ earliest episodes, Cindy Williams used a coarser accent for her character, but it was soon softened considerably. (This speech pattern had been previously used by Williams in a commercial for Foster Grant sunglasses.)
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