‘Happy Days’: Which Cunningham Family Member Was on the Show the Least?

by Joe Rutland

The Cunningham family was front and center in ABC’s “Happy Days.” So, which member of that family appeared least on it?

Now, Outsiders, we are talking about immediate family members. Not aunts, uncles, or cousins who drop by here and there.

Got any guesses? Well, let’s cut to the chase. That family member would be Chuck Cunnigham, played by actor Gavin O’Herlihy. He appeared in just nine episodes during the first season of “Happy Days” in 1974.

Here’s another factoid along these lines. Ask anyone who’s seen this show and they might say Ron Howard has the most appearances. But the actor, who played Richie Cunningham, popped up on 170 episodes. You might recall Howard left the sitcom before its final season.

Erin Moran, who played Joanie Cunnigham, totaled 239 appearances on “Happy Days.”

So, what about O’Herlihy? Well, the actor appeared in movies “Never Say Never Again,” “Willow,” and “The Descent: Part 2.”

‘Happy Days’ Creator Garry Marshall Used Names of People In Life For Characters

“Happy Days” was created by Garry Marshall, who made his name not only on TV but in movies, too.

When it came to creating characters, Marshall simply would use names of people that were in his life.

Let’s take a look at this. His wife went to grade school with a real guy named Potsie Webber. So, that became a character played by Anson Williams.

Then, Richie Cunningham, played by Howard, was named for a “nice boy” who attended the same church as Marshall.

OK, so what about Charles “Chachi” Arcola, played by Scott Baio? That came from Marshall’s first home located off of Arcola Street.

What about the name of “The Fonz”? Hmm, Marshall originally had Henry Winkler’s character name as Arthur Masciarelli. It is Marshall’s original surname. That really didn’t fly, so Marshall came up with Arthur Fonzareli and the rest is history.

So, What Type Of Car Did The Cunningham Family Have On TV Show?

If you recall, “Happy Days” was set in the 1950s. It was quite a time for different automobiles, too.

Sometimes, fans of the ABC sitcom remember keen details. The finer ones, like what car they drove, are tough ones.

The Cunninghams drove a 1948 DeSoto Custom Suburban. When it was being produced, the car happened to be the most expensive of the company cars.

Yes, the show was filmed between 1974-84. Being set in the 1950s would make sense for the Cunninghams to have a late 1940s car.

What was cool about the Suburban? It could fit up to nine passengers and had a fold-down back seat. This model had a standard metal-and-wood luggage rack. It was perfect for family trips. The car also had a three-speed manual transmission. Only 7,500 were produced.