|Don Most and Jack Dodson are son and father on Happy Days.|
According to Ron Howard, ABC wanted to re-brand Happy Days as Fonzie's Happy Days during the show's third season. Fortunately, this shortsighted plan was nixed by Howard, who was still the sitcom's nominal star, and the title remained simply Happy Days. Nevertheless, the program's focus had unmistakably shifted to greaser mechanic Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli by this point, a process that only accelerated during Season 4. This was the season that gave us "Fonzie Loves Pinky," "Fonzie the Father," "Fonzie's Old Lady," and much more.
Even during these Fonzie-centric times, though, Happy Days still gave the other characters spotlight episodes of their own. We've had showcase moments for Potsie, Joanie, and Marion during Season 4. For the season's penultimate installment, "Last of the Big Time Malphs," it was practical joker Ralph Malph (Donny Most) at center stage. The plot has Ralph becoming a bookie and incurring an $80 debt to local thug Bruiser (Paul Linke). The best thing about a story like this is that it brings in character actor Jack Dodson (aka Howard Sprague of The Andy Griffith Show) as Ralph's wisecracking father, Dr. Mickey Malph. You can easily see that Ralph is a chip off the old block, for better or worse.
This week on These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days podcast, we talk about "Last of the Big Time Malphs." But our conversation touches on many topics, including succotash and the 1958 Green Bay Packers. Have a listen.