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'Happy Days' Gang Reunites for Special

You know the main reason for TV reunion specials. It's to let viewers get a (search)look at the show's stars today and then react one of two ways: Either "Gosh, they look old," or "Gosh, they look REALLY old." Take a look at "The 'Happy Days' 30th Anniversary Reunion," (search) which ABC is airing 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST Thursday.

It brings back original cast members Scott Baio (search), Tom Bosley, Erin Moran, Don Most, Marion Ross, Anson Williams and Henry Winkler (search). Also Ron Howard, of course, who scarcely more than a year ago appeared on an "Andy Griffith Show" reunion special. Also: Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, who have done at least two reunion specials honoring their "Happy Days" spinoff, "Laverne & Shirley."

"Happy Days" began its run on Jan. 15, 1974 (which, by traditional, non-ABC math computes to 31, not 30, years ago). Set in Milwaukee in a problem-free version of the 1950s, this sitcom centered on high schooler Richie Cunningham (Howard, though he left the show in 1980), his family and friends, particularly charismatic dropout Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli (Winkler).

Long before "Happy Days" left ABC's lineup in 1984, viewers could recite the show in their sleep, which was maybe part of its charm. Same with the "Happy Days" reunion special, with its reunion show essentials: cast recollection, clips, blooper reel and overall schmaltz.