Friday, September 16, 2005

Pat Morita's Happy Days Stint 1982-83

A plan comes together. Arnold burns down Al's while Chachi takes the blame.

This blog takes on the big issues. In fact, when I think about it, there was no bigger entertainment story in 1982-83 when Pat Morita came crawling back to Happy Days. Morita was the textbook example of having a good gig and then leaving it. Here's the backstory, for those with a weak constitution, keep reading. Morita played the owner of Arnold's restaurant, the place where Richie and the gang hung out. Morita got a case of the cutes and bailed. He was only on the show from 1975-76. Character actor Al Molinaro replaced him, quite well by the way. While Molinaro earned raves and laughs for his "yep, yep, yep's" Morita became the Fool of the Year and then some. Although he continued to guest on televison sitcoms, he also had his own. 1976's ABC's non-hit Mr. T and Tina is often called one of the worst shows ever. It is.

Flash up to the 1982-83 season of Happy Days. Doors seemed to be closing all over for Morita. They're was no safe haven to be found on cancelled favorites like Sanford and Son and Blansky's Beauties. And there was no place for him on Bare Essence either. What happened next? Morita returned to his old stomping grounds on Happy Days. Of course things were not the same.

At this point Happy Days was coasting on fumes. With Potsie doing something close to nothing; an unfunny Jenny Piccilo and Ted McGinley in the cast, there was no room for good ol' Pat Morita. Pat had the last laugh however. He became Kesuke Miyagi for the popular Karate Kid movies.

Full of contrition: Al Molinaro thinks about stealing Pat Morita's job.
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