1 9 8 2 (USA)
17 x 30 minute episodes
The third Happy Days spin-off (following in the footsteps of Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy) this time focusing on the youngest Cunningham, Joanie (Erin Moran), and Fonzie’s young cousin, Chachi Arcola (Scott Baio).
When Al Delvecchio marries Chachi’s widowed mother Louisa (played by the sister of John Travolta) and moves to Chicago, Joanie and Chachi decide to head there as well, to sing in the band which performs at Al’s new Italian restaurant.
The other members of the band are Chachi’s “fat cousin” Annette, her brother, cousin Mario, and a spaced-out drummer named Bingo. Uncle Rico (Annette and Mario’s father) is their agent.
The result was a confused series that seemed unable to make up its mind whether it was a lame comedy or, with Joanie and Chachi singing songs in every episode, a musical vehicle for Hollywood to produce new teenybop stars a la The Monkees.
Consequently, Joanie Loves Chachi was the only Happy Days spin-off that was not a success.
After just 17 episodes (with a remarkable 27 writers contributing to the script) the series was cancelled and Joanie and Chachi returned to Milwaukee and their old series, eventually marrying in the very last episode of Happy Days.
Charles ‘Chachi’ Arcola