Working Stiffs

Do You Recall 1979’s Working Stiffs Starring Michael Keaton?!

Well, to be completely honest, Working Stiffs didn’t just star Michael Keaton. No, this CBS comedy series also co-starred Jim Belushi.
Working Stiffs

The two portrayed Mike and Ernie O’Rourke – two men who have yet to find their true purpose in life. So naturally they do what they can to make ends meet, becoming your typical Working Stiffs of course.

For the O’Rourke brothers it turns out they do have some aces up their sleeves. For one thing – the apartment where the two can hang their hat is situated above a cafe. In addition Mike and Ernie are able to become friends with the owner of the eatery, Mitch Hannigan as well as the cafe’s waitress, Nikki Evashevsky.

Hannigan by the way is played by M.A.S.H.‘s Allan Arbus with Nikki portrayed by Lorna Patterson. I bet some of you might recognize Patterson from her starring role in the early 80’s TV version of Private Benjamin.

[Via] Jamie Gee

The other bit of good fortune for our Working Stiffs is they are able to secure employment with a relative. Their rich Uncle Harry who owns the building reluctantly agrees to put them on the payroll. However not as the businessman as the duo hope but as janitors in fact.

While I can certainly say in all honesty that I hadn’t seen Working Stiffs before today. I have to say that the short video below – from the pilot episode showed a lot of promise.

[Via] Greg Stanina

When Working Stiffs debuted on CBS back in 1979 it rather unwisely decided to compete against NBC’s CHiPs. It was also attempting to compete against ABC’s Three’s Company spin-off The Ropers. The series itself was created by Bob Brunner, who had a hand in the popular TV series Happy Days as well as Laverne and Shirley. In addition, the pilot episode was directed by none other than Penny Marshall. As well as having a rather catchy theme song in my honest opinion.

Sadly Working Stiffs just couldn’t stand up to the likes of Ponch and Jon nor even Stanley and Helen Roper. After a mere four episodes the comedy series was cancelled. However, once both Keaton and Belushi found success in films, the show was released on VHS. Having said that though, friends, in total there were nine episodes filmed – but only six present on the VHS release. I found that the show has been seen here and there since 1979. I’ve read that it’s appeared on the likes of retro-themed TV channels such as TV Land, Comedy Central, and the A&E Network. Although I haven’t found an actual DVD release as of yet.

Like I mentioned up above, I wasn’t aware of this TV series until today. I have fellow Retroist author, Phillip Cary, to thank for the heads up. For my birthday earlier this week he brought me a 1979’s TV Guide. A Fall preview issue that had this to say about the then upcoming television series.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about Working Stiffs why not check a stand-up comedy routine by Michael Keaton?

I am pretty positive this is actually from the TV show An Evening at the Improv.

[Via] A Blast from the Past

The Kids Dig The Doo-Wop…

Goodnight sweetheart, well it's time to my day job as Head of Children's Programming...

Goodnight sweetheart, well it’s time to go…to my day job as Head of Children’s Programming…

I am convinced that Bowzer from Sha Na Na was the head of children’s programming for every network in the 80’s…well at the very least he had to have been in charge of cartoon theme songs. Don’t believe me? Check out the inordinate amount of doo-woppin’ that was going on…

Seriously…what in the bom ba ba bom ba bom ba bom bom ba ba bom ba ba bom ba ba dang a dang dang ba ba ding a dong ding was going on?

Happy Days Fonz Pinball

Happy Days Fonz Pinball Table

At every thrift store and antique mall I visit, I always search every nook and cranny to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I found this gem hiding in a back area that I had almost missed. The seller had just finished cleaning it up and had put a price tag on it moments before I stuck my head around the corner. It was a Happy Days Fonz Pinball table! I was enchanted.

happy days fonz pinball close-up

These Happy Days Fonz Pinball tables were made by Coleco and sold in the mid-seventies. While they were mostly plastic and of course scaled down in size from real pinball tables, what kid wouldn’t want to hang out with the Fonz while playing the silver ball?

Plus it gives you an opportunity to practice the Fonz special power over machinery. His near magical understanding of how the universe function has given him a special knock. He just taps a machine and it bends to his will.

With your very own Happy Days Fonz Pinball Table you can practice this for hours. I would suggest waiting to get it home first though. Tapping the merchandise while in an antique is generally frowned upon. Lucky, much like the Fonz, I am very charming. I just stuck out my thumbs, twirled around and said, “ayyyy.” Just like that all was forgiven.

Enjoy this classic commercial for the Happy Days Fonz Pinball Table

Happy Days Action Figures

While out and about, I recently ran across a complete set of Happy Days action figures.

I hate when I run across something “new”, thinking that it’s “old”.

The giveaway, of course, was the URL written on the back of the packaging.

Over at you can find not only these figures, but lots of other classic 8″ figures as well (for about the same price than I found them at the antique mall).

Wishing Happy Days Were Here Again

If I made a list of top five favorite sitcoms of all time, Happy Days would be on that list. It may not be recognized for snappy writing but I think it’s the sitcom that is the most fun. It’s certainly iconic.

After the recent post of Happy Days memorabilia photos I started kicking myself for never owning a single Happy Days item back when the show aired on prime-time television. While a lot of collectibles were release during the 1970s, like paper dolls, lunch boxes, puzzles and board games. However, the best was the Mego toy line. It was simple, small and managable. By sticking with Fonzie, Richie, Ralph and Potsie as the only action figures, Mego was able to have the core group of the Happy Days gang on the market.

The retro-style releases from the mid-2000s from Classic TV Toys had these four characters plus variants and others from the show like Chachi, Joanie and Al. I’m not sure these additional characters would have sold well back in the 1970s.

In addition to the action figures Mego released two vehicles. The main vehicle in the Mego line was a working version of Fonzie’s Motorcycle. Since this vehicle was integral to the character it made perfect sense for it to be a toy for the action figure. The Evel Knievel toy line had proven that a toy motorcycle could be successful.

The next vehicle available for the Mego action figure line was Fonzie’s Jalopy. Any fan of Happy Days knows that this is Ralph Malph’s car not Fonzie’s. However, I understand needing to use Fonzie’s name to brand the toys.

Then to complete the Mego toy line was a playset of Fonzie’s Garage. I don’t understand why Fonzie’s Garage was the choice for a playset. Arnold’s Drive-In makes more sense. That setting was shown more than Fonzie’s garage ever was.

A second runner-up to the Mego toy line are the Happy Days pinball machine and video game. You wouldn’t think Happy Days would lend itself to any type of arcade experience but here are two. Granted the pinball machine is one of those produced for home use rather than the arcade.

Anyone of age ever own any Happy Days merchandise? How about a lunchbox, coloring book, paperback novel, or collector glass?