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10 Spin-off TV Shows That Made It Big

        Entertainment | TV Shows

8
"Laverne & Shirley"
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall in a 1976 episode of "Laverne & Shirley." ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall in a 1976 episode of "Laverne & Shirley." ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

"Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer incorporated!" Each week, these nonsensically used Yiddish and German words set the lighthearted tone for this 1976 ABC "Happy Days" spin-off. For the original show, Laverne (Penny Marshall) and Shirley (Cindy Williams) were "loose" girls on a date with Richie and the Fonz. However, on their own series, they were just two working girls toiling at the Shotz Brewery in 1950s Milwaukee.

"Laverne & Shirley" specialized in broad physical comedy, which often came in the form of the roommates' upstairs neighbors Lenny and Squiggy. Michael McKean and David Lander, who created the iconic characters, were originally hired as writers on the series. The slapstick humor worked: In its second year, the show became the most watched in America, even topping "Happy Days" [source: Sher]. When Williams left in 1982, the series carried on "Shirley-less" for one more year.