I had the honour of interviewing Anson Williams, also known to millions as Potsie Weber, from the hit TV series, Happy Days. I found Anson to be a personable, outgoing humanitarian. He truly inspired me. – Sue London
YOU PLAYED POTSIE ON HAPPY DAYS, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY?
It’s not a favourite memory, because it wasn’t just playing a character. I was only 23 years old at the time. Now, it’s 40 years later and the cast has contributed to entertainment and social issues. All that was stimulated by Garry Marshall. He inspired all of us to not get in the way of ourselves and to appreciate being on this major movie lot. The show was great, playing Potsie was great, all that was fun, but it actually became a minor part of the experience.
YOU GAVE THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU WERE TRULY A FAMILY. DID IT FEEL LIKE YOU WERE?
Yeah and also at the beginning, all of us took the opportunity and educated ourselves. I think that’s why we’re still effective in the business because we learned to wear many hats, we saw many other areas that we were interested in and we perused that. We didn’t get lost in the icing of fame.
DO YOU HAVE ANY CHILDREN?
I have five daughters. I have one that is married, two grandsons, four daughters still at home and that’s my focus in life. That’s a lot of work right there. My day is pretty much like everyone else’s as a dad, being a responsible parent.
I IMAGINE YOU’VE GOT A PRETTY BUSY LIFE STYLE. WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY FOR YOU?
I have been directing since 1985. I have directed and produced over 300 shows. If I haven’t been creating, I’ve brought in people to create problem solving products, within the last 20 years.
DO YOU HAVE THAT WORK PLAY BALANCE?
I’ve never worked for anybody, I’ve always worked for me. Today, if my kids are sick, I’m right there. I may have 5 pages to write, but instead I finished the dishes because my wife was up all night with the sick kids. So, you balance everything. It’s about prioritizing.
TELL OUR READERS WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HEALTH RECENTLY.
I almost died a year ago. They found out I had colon cancer.
HOW DID THE CANCER DIAGNOSIS CHANGE YOUR LIFE?
Today I am very lucky, cancer free and healthier than I’ve been in 30 years. However, it’s a determination, a mindset and living for more than yourself. I understand the importance of priorities and that was a wakeup call. We need to go back to the garden and go back to the beginning. Find yourself and find who you are. My family was almost poor, like lower level, we had a very small home with one bathroom. Deep down I knew I was something more, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Now that I’m older, I found out how important that tree was in our backyard, I never looked at it enough or appreciated it enough. It took me to go on this huge road in order to get back to the basics. I want to forward that to people and inspire them to think “I am okay” or “that’s where I want to go.”
I’M A FIRM BELIEVER THAT EVERYTHING HAPPENS IN OUR LIVES FOR A REASON. CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS ABOUT YOUR LIFE CHANGING CAR ACCIDENT?
Many years ago, I was driving outside of Los Angles in the local desert, doing a shoot. It was a very hot and exhausting day. Driving home, I blacked out and the next thing I know, I was bouncing around in the desert and almost killed myself. I had fallen asleep for like 3 seconds. It was enough to get off the road. I’m so lucky I survived this. I didn’t crash, but it scared me. I called my uncle, Dr. Heimlich, who created the Heimlich Maneuver, he’s actually my second cousin, but I’ve called him my uncle since I was born. I told him my situation and he explained how the body helps the body’s sensory connection and all that, basically natural ways to heal. He was a genius. He explained to me that when I’m having a hard day, I should keep cut up lemons with me. If I start feeling exhausted, to bite into it hard and he explained how the citric acid of the lemon would hit the nerve on top of your tongue. The automatic reflex reaction of the body is adrenaline and then you would feel alert. No caffeine or anything. Just the body working the body. It’s no different than going to the doctor and he has his little rubber mallet and he checks your reflexes.
WHEN YOU SUCK ON THE LEMON, HOW LONG DOES IT WORK FOR YOU?
It lasts 30 min to an hour. Everyone is different because everyone’s body is different. If it only lasts 10 min, take another hit, there’s nothing to hurt you. So, I did that for years and I never had the problem again. Then during those years, I had gone into the product business. I loved finding a problem and I loved creating a solution. So, I started researching drowsy driving. In 2012, the National Sleep Foundation did a study and at the time, there were 168 million drowsy drivers a year. Today it’s worse. One out of five people admitted to falling asleep. There are more accidents and deaths from this, than from medicated driving and drunk driving combined. If you lose 2 hours of sleep, it equals 3 beers driving.
THAT’S VERY SCARY. WHAT DID YOU DO NEXT?
I called Dr. Heimlich and I said “because of this information you gave me years ago, I have an idea. What do you think?” I said, what if we get the right amount of citric acid, with the right amount of sour lemon, a little water and a little preserve for shelf life. What if we just put it in a spray gel? What if we just spray the middle of your tongue?” He said, “Yes! Anson! That would be twice as effective as biting into the lemon. You’ll save more lives than the Heimlich Maneuver. Absolutely do it.” Then we did. It’s called Alert Drops.
CAN WE GET THESE DROPS IN CANADA?
If people go to AlertDrops.com, they can learn all about the product. It’s all natural, so nothing will hurt you. It’s very old science. We just found a way to make it civilized and educate people on how the body can help the body. There’s nothing in your system and nothing to screw up your sleep pattern. You can order them on our website and on Amazon, but there are problems with the shipping. If you go onto AlertDrops.com and write to the info e-mail, which is me, we can figure it out and get it to you.
WHO IS BUYING ALERT DROPS?
People have found that construction sites in America have banned energy drinks and similar products and now they are buying alert drops. EMT’s, doctors, nurses and anybody that needs to be alert in their jobs are buying it. Kids are using it in classrooms before tests. Anybody that needs to be alert and clear, it’s great for. It suits your own body and makes it alert. No stimulants, no caffeine, nothing.
WHAT TIME DO YOU FIGURE PEOPLE SHOULD GO TO SLEEP AND HOW MUCH SLEEP SHOULD THEY GET?
I don’t know what time to go to bed, but you need 8 hours. Early to bed, early to rise. The other thing is to not eat past 6pm. Get a good breakfast, smaller lunch, tiny dinner, so your body doesn’t have to work.
CAN YOU SHARE ANY LAST WORDS OF WISDOM?
Be everything in life, be in life, don’t be of something and don’t hide behind anything. Take the time to find out who you are. Don’t get brainwashed in constant media. You know yourself best. Find yourself, take some quiet time and learn to meditate. Find who you are, you will find your own direction, you will find yourself and you will find your place. You don’t need all this icing, you need to find the cake. That’s the centre of who you are and what you are about. Dr. Heimlich always said, “we’re all going to die, all of us. The purpose of your living is to leave something behind that doesn’t die.” That’s what he did; he left behind saving lives. Leave behind something more, leave behind something purposeful and make your life meaningful. Make this place just a little better because you were here and let it continue on, to the hearts and minds of everybody you touch.
Jason Stacey is the Managing Editor for Luxury Listed and forever on the lookout for a story worth reading.