Saturday, November 26, 2005

Pat Morita

Pat Morita has passed away.Not from the events in this picture but I couldn't resist it when I googled his name.

Most obits will be calling him 'Mr. Miyagi' from a terrible movie that made a lot of money in the 80's. But Morita was a great character actor for decades. Don't believe me? Check it out here.

I'll always remember him as the original Arnold on Happy Days. It was a very Garry Marshall joke that the All-American hamburger stand would be run by an Asian. My favorite line early on was in an episode dealing with racism in the '50's. Richie and the Fonz had become friends with an African American (who strangely would never return after the episode) and were worried he'd be treated badly, as they explained to Arnold, because he was colored.

"Colored? What color? BWA-HA-HA-HA!" (that loud laugh was his catch phrase).

He was replaced by Al Molinaro in a lateral move. Never figured out why.

He was also in an episode of 'Sanford and Son' where Fred and he opened a Japanese restaurant in the junkyard. That alone is worth his mentioning here.

UPDATE: Mark Evanier brings us the story of why Morita left Happy Days. Turns out he got his own show "Mr. T and Tina" which was cancelled before it premiered. Go over there and get the details from a man that knew him.


Walker said...


Dave said...

Morita rules. That guy put up with a lot of racial issues in the early days. Case in point is his first role as "Oriental #2" in Thouroughly Modern Millie.

Anonymous said...

You're right J, Pat Morita was definitely didn't get a lot of credit for some of his other big time, non-Macchio films.

I mean who could foget such classics as "Lamb Chop's Special Chanukah" or "Karate Dog"?

It's a shame...

dan x.