‘Happy Days’ Diner Owner Al Delvecchio Had Two-Year Gap Between Appearances: Here’s Why

by Joe Rutland
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“Happy Days” revolved some episodes around “Arnold’s Diner.” Its second owner, Al Delvecchio, would go two years between episodes.

Why? Actor Al Molinaro, who played Delvecchio, also played a popular character on ABC’s “The Odd Couple.” He played NYPD Officer Murray Greshler in the show which starred Tony Randall as Felix and Jack Klugman as Oscar.

That role would keep him busy until Molinaro, who died on Oct. 30, 2015, joined “Happy Days” in 1976. He took over when Pat Morita, who played the original owner of “Arnold’s Diner,” left the show. Molinaro stayed through the 10th season. The show ended after 11 seasons.

‘Happy Days’ Star Makes Initial Appearance On Show In 1974

Delvecchio appeared for the first time in a second-season episode from 1974 called “Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas.” The episode focused on a Cunningham family Christmas yet Richie [Ron Howard] finds out that always-popular Fonzie [Henry Winkler] is going to be alone.

Richie asked his parents Howard [Tom Bosley] and Marion [Marion Ross] if The Fonz could come over to the house. He even invited Fonzie, so the tension becomes whether or not the invitation is accepted.

Molinaro returned as Delvecchio in the first of a two-part 1976 episode called “Fonzie Loves Pinky.” Pinky Tuscadero [Roz Kelly], a fellow motorcyclist and one-time girlfriend of Fonzie, came back into his life. He realized that he still loves her and she makes a plea to be part of a demolition derby. The Fonz states that’s no place for a woman. Who wins this argument? Well, you have to see the complete episode.

Al would take center stage in some of the arguments and fun times people have at “Arnold’s Diner.” Molinaro moved over from “Happy Days” to its spinoff, “Joanie Loves Chachi,” which lasted one season.

Molinaro, a native of Kenosha, Wis., as the TV series is set in Milwaukee, retired from acting in the early 1990s.

But he did have an interesting perspective on his career.

“I spent 20 years here before I got anything going,” he’s quoted in an article from The Guardian. “And from that I got lucky … You’ve just got to be lucky and in the right place at the right time.”

Ross Found Herself Getting Role On Famous TV Western Earn In Career

Another veteran actor who struck it rich on “Happy Days” was Ross, who is now 92 years old.

Yet Ross, too, went through a long stretch where she took whatever roles she could get. Way back in 1954, she appeared on “The Lone Ranger” in an episode called “Texas Swamp.”

She played Virginia Thorpe, wife of Brother John Thorpe. A fight begins to break out between her husband and a gang.

It took a hand from The Lone Ranger [Clayton Moore] to stop the fight. He got help from his sidekick Tonto [Jay Silverheels].

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