Fans still have trouble tracking Fonzie's family members on Happy Days

Get the Fonzarelli family straight. Spike and Chachi were not the same character.

Read to Me

"Ay, uncle Fonz!" Spike says, rolling up to Arnold's on his bike and dressed exactly like the Fonz. The mini version of Fonzie punches Henry Winkler's shoulder in greeting.

"Ay, how ya doing, Spike?" Fonz says, slugging Spike on the shoulder right back before turning to introduce Spike to Richie.

In the episode "Not With My Sister, You Don't," Happy Days introduces Fonz's nephew Spike for a very special occasion — Joanie's first date. Spike, naturally, is the fella who ends up taking her on it, despite the Cunninghams' misgivings.

Of course, Happy Days as a series ends with Joanie marrying a different member of Fonzie's family, his cousin Chachi. Their relationship trod the same tension as Joanie's first date with Spike.

For this reason, fans with fuzzy memories often confuse Spike and Chachi, thinking they were intended to be the same character, with Chachi appearing later as the grown-up version of Spike. As recently as 2003, fans were still posting on at least one message board asking, "Were Spike and Chachi the same character?"

So, here's a breakdown so you can get the Fonzarelli family tree straight in your mind.

Spike is Fonzie's nephew. He appears in the second through the fourth seasons of the show, and he's played by an actor named Danny Butch.

Chachi is Fonzie's cousin. He appears in the fifth season through the end of the series, marrying Joanie in the episode that was meant to be the end-cap to the entire series.

The thinking was that Spike would be introduced and grow to be as popular as Fonzie. But Garry Marshall failed to strike gold twice, and Spike did not become a major heartthrob like his uncle.

Scott Baio proved the sitcom could still introduce popular characters, though, because when he joined the cast, he became a teen idol. 

However, it's possible that Spike might have become more popular if there had been more publicity done to get the audience pumped up for his character. Apparently, there was practically no info for fans to get to know Danny Butch, the actor who was primed to be the next Fonzie.

In 1976, after Butch returned to Happy Days to appear in a few episodes in the third season, four different fans of the show were so curious about who this kid was that they wrote into the TV mail section of their local paper, The Courier of Waterloo, Iowa. "Could you please tell us where to write 'Spike' on Happy Days and give us information on him, if possible?" they asked.

The Courier responded with an address to reach Danny Butch in Hollywood, explaining "ABC has not serviced a biography on him yet." The P.R. machine could have made the kid a contender.

Not much is known about Butch beyond his few appearances on Happy Days, but he did join a cast reunion in 2005, so we have to assume there were no hard feelings about living in the shadow of the more popular Fonzie types on the show.

Watch Happy Days on MeTV!

Weeknights at 6:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

35 Comments

Post a comment
PulsarStargrave 7 months ago
Uh, in Season 2 Spike was Fonzie's nephew--BUT in Season 3 after Spike was caught after helping some goons break into Arnold's, Fonzie suddenly blurts out "I'm not his uncle! He's my COUSIN! I'm big, he's little, so I became his uncle! I'm an only child!" The continuity on that show was nearly non existent, IMO!

This is how some fans can get confused! Fonzie has TWO cousins! The next question is: are Spike and Chachi BROTHERS???
Mark091 9 months ago
SPIKE FONZARELLI Danny Butch
Was an excellent character
Too bad that Spike only appeared in
4 episodes and then dissapeared
Mark091 9 months ago
I would like to see METV have articles
On these HAPPY DAYS persons:
ROGER PHILLIPS TED McGinley
BAG ZOMBROSKI Neil J Schwartz
EUGENE BELVIN Denis Mandel
MELVIN BELVIN SCOTT BERNSTEIN
MOOSE Barry Greenberg
CHUCK CUNNINGHAM
Gavan O Herlihy and Randolph Roberts
Leather Tuscadero SUZI QUATRO
DAPHNE HILLARY HORAN
MARSHA SIMMS BEATRICE COLEN
WENDY MISTY Rowe
Mark091 Mark091 9 months ago
Also whatever happened to
DANNY BUTCH (SPIKE)
Why did SPIKE CHUCK CUNNINGHAM BAG MOOSE
EUGENE BELVIN and Melvin Belvin all vanish from Happy Days with no explanation at all?
denny 9 months ago
I liked the Spike character as a child, haven't seen the episode in years. Although I've grown to loath Happy Days after the 1st couple of seasons.
Mark091 9 months ago
Just like Chuck Cunningham and
SPIKE FONZARELLI maybe the
Reason that the character of
BAG ZOMBROSKI Neil J Schwartz
Didn't catch on is because The
Writers of Happy Days didn't write
Enough Episodes featuring BAG
And because BAG ZOMBROSKI
Didn't have enough air time
BAG was just as good of a practical joker as RALPH MALPH
Bag Zombroski was very similar to the character of Wally Plumstead Skip YOUNG on the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
BAG liked to play Practical jokes on Richie Potsie and Ralph and Wally
Liked to play Practical jokes on Rick and David Nelson
I believe that BAG ZOMBROSKI was
Modeled after WALLY PLUMSTEAD
Chuck Cunningham did not do
Hardly anything but bounce a
Basketball and eat sandwiches
RANDOLPH Roberts the second
Chuck Cunningham had more
Air time than GAVAN O HERLIHY
The first Chuck Cunningham
Gavan O Herlihy appeared in 6
Episodes and Randolph Roberts
Appeared in only 2 episodes
SPIKE appeared in only 4 episodes
I also wonder why BAG who played the drums in Richie's band on season one and two was replaced by
STICKS DOWNEY John Anthony Bailey
As the new person to play the drums in Richie's band in season 3
BAG ZOMBROSKI was also a member of the DEMOMS
EUGENE BELVIN Denis Mandel
And his brother MELVIN BELVIN SCOTT BERNSTEIN were also
GREAT characters and so was
MARSHA SIMMS BEATRICE COLEN
And WENDY MISTY Rowe
BOBBY MELNER (Harris Kal) was
Also funny
Also The character of MOOSE Barry Greenberg the heavset guy didn't
Have time to catch on
Moose appeared in Only 3 Episodes
In season one before MOOSE
Did a Vanishing act into thin air
Mark091 Mark091 9 months ago
The first appearance of BAG
Zombroski was in the Episod
The Deadly Dates and the last
Appearance of BAG was in the
Season 4 episode The Book of Records
BAG was in Episodes
There are You Tube VIDEOS
On the best of Bag Zombroski
The Best of SPIKE
CHACHI ARCOLA videos
And several videos about
Big brother CHUCK CUNNINGHAM
Mark091 Mark091 9 months ago
Bag was in 9 EPISODES
Eugene Belvin Denis Mandel was
In 8 Episodes and MELVIN BELVIN SCOTT BERNSTEIN
Was in 7 Episodes
MARSHA SIMMS BEATRICE COLEN was in 21 Episodes and
BOBBY MELNER Harris Kal
Was in 19 Episodes
Ashley000076 9 months ago
It's unfortunate MeTV is showing 2nd season prints that are butchered with "Rock Around The Clock" replaced, along with all the songs within each episode.
markemiller72 9 months ago
Put the invaders back on at midnight on Sat. or even better at 11:00. No more buck rogers! Leave star trek alone though. And bring back wonder woman,No more stooges!!
Never say "No more Stooges" !! That's blasphemy!!!
denny markemiller72 9 months ago
Wonder Woman, ugh. TV did no favors when the brought WW, Spiderman live action and the Hulk to the small screen.
JeffSchafer 9 months ago
They should have kept Spike. He was a LOT better than Chachi.
Mark091 JeffSchafer 9 months ago
I WISH that SPIKE Danny Butch
And CHACHI ARCOLA Scott Baio
Had been on the show Happy Days at the same time
RIGHT After SPIKE FONZARELLI
VANISHED during season 4 CHACHI ARCOLA showed up on
Season 5 of Happy Days
IF SPIKE and CHACHI had been on Happy Days at the same time
Viewers would not have thought
That SPIKE and CHACHI were the same person (cousin)
If SPIKE AND CHACHI had a
Conversation together on
HAPPY Days viewers wouldn't
Think that they were the same
Person with a name change
Spike Fonzarelli to Chachi ARCOLA
Some persons making comments about SPIKE and CHACHI on YouTube and the
Internet also think that CHACHI
And SPIKE are the same person
However the METV article is right SPIKE and CHACHI are 2
DIFFERENT COUSINS of FONZIE
Mark091 Mark091 9 months ago
Also if SPIKE had been invited to
Joanie and CHACHIS wedding
That would be more proof
That SPIKE and CHACHI were
NOT the same character
StrayCat 9 months ago
On Happy Days Joanie loves Chachi and also in real life as Erin and Scott carried on a torrid love affair.
David StrayCat 9 months ago
Torrid? LOL!
TVOPS 9 months ago
Correction: It was revealed in the episode "Bringing up Spike" that Spike was also Fonzie's cousin. Spike only called Fonzie "uncle" because he was bigger. Fonzie tells Howard how could Spike be his nephew, when Fonzie is an only child?

bbraat TVOPS 9 months ago
I haven't seen the episode in 40 years but remember it distinctly. Big fail for MeTV.
bbraat TVOPS 9 months ago
Didn't Fonzie's dad show up one time as a sailor?
AnnieM bbraat 3 months ago
Maybe you're thinking of 'Laverne & Shirley'? A one-time appearance by Ed Begley, Jr as Shirley's brother Bobby, I think his name was. I'm pretty sure he was a sailor?
LSUFAN44 9 months ago
So if he was a nephew that means fonz had a brother or sister...which he didnt until almost end of show when they had some half brother turn up
MrsPhilHarris 9 months ago
I loved that episode. Found Spike amusing. I assumed he went away with Chuck, Bag and Marsha. 😆
Mark091 MrsPhilHarris 9 months ago
You are right MRS Phil Harris
CHUCK CUNNINGHAM
BAG ZOMBROSKI and
MARSHA SIMMS All left
MILWAUKEE at about the same time and CHUCK BAG and MARSHA and SPIKE all VANISHED into thin air
Never to be seen again
SO CHUCK CUNNINGHAM was
Not the only character to vanish
From HAPPY Days
HERE IS A LIST of the Characters who Vanished
From HAPPY Days:
CHUCK CUNNINGHAM
BAG ZOMBROSKI
MARSHA SIMMS
SPIKE FONZARELLI
MOOSE
FLIP PHILLIPS
KC Cunningham
TRUDY
WENDY
EUGENE BELVIN
MELVIN BELVIN
ANGIE FONZARELLI
SPUNKY
MrsPhilHarris Mark091 9 months ago
That’s a lot of characters!
Mark091 Mark091 9 months ago
SPUNKY was FONZIE'S Dog
SPUNKY appears in two episodes
Did Spunky run away
The viewers missed SPUNKY
SPUNKY and TIGER from the
BRADY Bunch both vanished
From their TV shows
RedSamRackham 9 months ago
* Fonzie's Grandma Nussbaum may've been a nod to Henry Winkler being Jewish! ☺
VBartilucci 9 months ago
I could have sworn Spike was played by Jimmy Baio, Scott's brother. Huh.
Fsrinaldi VBartilucci 9 months ago
I thought the same
It could've been Scott's brother, {which we know it really wasn't.} Jimmy would not have been on all 4 seasons {'74-'78} Spike was on HD. 4th season for Spike, {'77-'78,} was the first season for the show JB is known for: "Soap." So HD would have had to find a replacement for JB. Even though they were on the same network, that doesn't mean JB would've been able to do both shows.
MrBill VBartilucci 9 months ago
You are mixed up. Jimmy Baio is Scott's cousin and he is older than Scott. Scott has a brother Steven Baio and he appeared in a couple of later episodes of Happy Days. Steven Baio was part of the crew of kids who worked on the Cunningham's new 2nd bathroom as a school project in one of the episodes.
gojirob Fsrinaldi 9 months ago
I think she also remarried a few times, plus they never said whose mother she was, his father's or his mother's.
Steve 9 months ago
But of course it was also established that Fonzie was an only child. So how could he have a nephew?

It's explained in a throwaway line that Spike was actually Fonzie's cousin. He just called him Uncle Fonz.

The identity of Fonzie's father and mother is even more nebulous. Although his mom's maiden name is apparently Nussbaum.
daDoctah Steve 9 months ago
Grandma Nussbaum herself explained "I've been married more than once". I always assumed she had married the unseen Mr Nussbaum *after* she becoming the mother of Fonzie's mom.
LSUFAN44 Steve 9 months ago
He did have a half brother show up in last season i believe but that clearly wasnt Spike's daddy since Fonz had no idea he existed
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?