Tom Hanks speaks on his start in movies as a result of kicking Fonzie

Written by: Vasantha

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Tom Hanks is known for movies like Toy Story, Saving Private Ryan, and Forrest Gump. His leading man career was launched by Splash. That film came about in part because of his role on Happy Days where he kicked Fonzie. Wow, what a start! 

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Like Robin Williams who appeared in an episode during the start of his acting career, Hanks talked about his appearance on Happy Days during his early acting days. He explains he got to do something few people get to do: he worked with Henry Winkler on the show.

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"I kicked Fonzie, I got dressed up in a judo karate outfit, and I think I’m legendarily the first guy to actually strike Fonzie. I kicked him through the stained glass window of Al’s drive-in. Pretty big stuff, man. By the way, Happy Days had been on for like 12 or something like that…it was still a rating powerhouse."

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Hanks was chosen as the lead when Splash was under development because of his interaction with The Fonz, and the writers -- who worked with Ron Howard on Happy Days and on the Disney film -- knew of his relationship with The Fonz. Hanks said: 

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The guys who were the head writers of that episode, who were the head writers on Happy Days at that time, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, Ron Howard had already left the show and he was directing, and they had written this movie called Splash and it was at Disney. No one wanted to work for Disney, and no one would take the job, and eventually, they said ‘Hey, this guy who kicked Fonzie through a plate glass window might be good.’ And so I ended up auditioning for that.

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He also revealed that he thought he wasn't auditioning for Splash. It's hard to envision him as anything other than Daryl Hannah's love interest now that the movie's been out for decades. 

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In the 1980s, he made a lot of connections both through kicks and networking, which paid off, because he went on to star in massive movies such as Big and Turner & Hooch as a result of appearing on the classic sitcom and Splash in 1984.  

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