In the first season of Happy Days, a gang called The Dukes steals Potsy’s bike in the episode called “Knock Around the Block.” Ritchie Cunningham goes to the gang’s pool-hall headquarters to smooth things out. But things don’t go well for Ritchie. However, it’s during this brief encounter that Ron Howard goes nose-to-nose with Harvey Keitel.
Well, maybe — but probably not.
This is actually a heated debate topic amongst fans of Happy Days. The uncredited actor looks a little like a young Harvey Keitel, but he doesn’t haven’t any speaking lines. Had he spoken, it would be easy to pick out Keitel’s iconic voice.
For years, IMDB credited Keitel on the episode’s page. But someone has since removed that credit. Several other websites also still have him listed as appearing in the episode. However, if you watch the episode, it’s most likely not Keitel. Not unless Keitel got plastic surgery to look like a “Harvey Keitel-type.”
Complicating matters further is that when this episode was filming, Keitel was already working in films. He would have been filming Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore in 1974, when this episode was shot. That doesn’t necessarily mean he couldn’t have taken half a day to film the role of Quiet Thug No. 2 in the Happy Days episode, but it’s unlikely.
So, it’s most likely not Keitel. We know, the internet got something wrong? We couldn’t believe it either.
But see for yourself. Harvey Keitel possibly appears at the nine-second mark in the clip below.
Something We Know is Harvey Keitel Was A Marine
Before he was in Bad Lieutenant, Taxi Driver, and potentially Happy Days, Harvey Keitel was a U.S. Marine. Signing up was something he’d wanted most of his young life.
“It taught me how to endure, taught me how to endure hardships, it taught me what real camaraderie was like. It taught me what sacrifice was really like and what loyalty was,” he told Fox News.
Keitel joined the Corps when he was 17 and served in Lebanon during Operation Blue Bat from 1956-1959. He said he made friends for life during his time in the service. And he said he can also spot a fellow Marine even if they’ve never met before.
“You can pretty much tell the people who do understand. They don’t understand our experience, but they understand their own, which might have a parallel place. You’re a Marine. I am [a Marine]. Our motto is Semper Fidelis. That says it all. Always faithful. That’s something you’re not going to find often in life,” he told MovieMaker magazine.
He didn’t start acting until he left the Corps. He studied under legendary acting teacher Stella Adler and did whatever he could to make ends meet. One day while looking for work in the newspaper, he came across an ad an NYU film student placed looking for actors. It was Martin Scorsese trying to fill roles for his first film Who’s That Knocking at My Door. It was the beginning of one of the great cinema pairings, as Keitel has appeared in several of Scorsese’s best films.