Singing to a Bulldog: From “Happy Days” to Hollywood Director, and the Unlikely Mentor Who Got Me There. Anson Williams. The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. November 2014. 176 pp. ISBN#: 9781621452256.
Anson Williams, better known as “Potsie” on the wildly popular show “Happy Days,” here tells a simple but compelling story about how he rose to success. His mentor turns out to be an African-American janitor named Willie Turner who drank too much but who had a fount of wisdom in sayings that Anson sprinkles liberally throughout his story. For these snippets alone, the story is worth the read, as well as the author’s ability to control his own actions, reactions, thoughts and feelings so as to allow these wise words to rule his life. Simplistic? No, Anson comes across as sincere and humble about it all!
Anson Williams lacked direction and had taken low-paying jobs until certain opportunities came his way, combined with Willie’s words such as, “All good boy. Don’t gets in dey way of yerself. Go wit yer feelins.” Those moments of coincidence, miracles, or whatever one wishes to call them combined with his obvious talent, as he describes in an imitation of someone else that got him his first acting job. Upwards he travels as he meets the fellow actors he came to respect and love, Henry Winkler, Don Most and Ron Howard. Later he’ll be well on the way to stardom when he meets President Ford’s daughter, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bill Cosby and so many more famous actors and actresses. It is noteworthy that he acknowledges those famous people as those who fit in with Willie’s humble sayings and those who were quite full of themselves and therefore not worthy of more than comment.
Further into his career, after years of Potsie and “Happy Days” fame, Anson goes on to be inspired to direct his own films and shows, and develop what is known as product development and promotion business which is just as fascinating on its own.
Singing to a Bulldog… is a light, pleasant read that spans the career of Anson Williams. It’s a life free of the usual “love ‘em, hate ‘em” news reporting so rampant in the current media. It tells a straightforward, interesting, funny and inspiring story that readers will be sure to admire and enjoy! Thanks for sharing, Mr. Williams – this one will go down as a terrific book about an important segment in the entertainment industry! Nicely crafted!