Ted McGinley found his true love not at Al's Diner, but at Burt Reynolds' dinner theater
"Strange things happen down here at this theater," Burt told Ted in 1988, accurately forecasting marriage in McGinley's near future.
In 1958, a doo-wop group out of Pittsburgh called The Skyliners put out a chart-topping song called "Since I Don’t Have You."
You might remember the song pines, "I don't have happiness, and I guess I never will again," because the singer has lost his true love, he has nothing "since I don’t have you."
In the Nineties, hit artists like Don McLean, Ronnie Milsap and even rockers Guns N’ Roses covered it with great success.
But it was Happy Days that revived the song first in the Eighties.
On Happy Days, which faithfully looked to the Fifties for inspiration, it was fitting to feature an episode called "Since I Don’t Have You" that evoked themes of the hit song.
In the show’s 10th season, Roger Phillips plays the lovelorn role, struggling to keep it together as one of his former flames returns to town and starts messing with his heart again.
For actor Ted McGinley, who played Roger, true love didn’t come when he was all that young like it did for Roger.
He had just turned 30 when he took a role in a play at Burt Reynolds’ dinner theater in Jupiter, Florida, and unexpectedly, he locked eyes with the woman who would soon become his wife, Gigi Rice.
When Reynolds picked McGinley up from the airport, he warned Ted that his dinner theater was a place where tender hearts had a time of it.
"Strange things happen down here at this theater," Burt told Ted at the time, as McGinley recalled in an interview with The Palm Beach Post in 1991. "People fall in love, they get divorced, weird things."
"It’s almost as if he was fortunetelling," McGinley said.
The same year McGinley came to Burt’s theater, Reynolds had married Loni Anderson, so it makes sense Burt was feeling love in the air.
For McGinley, he instantly felt similarly stirred upon sight of Gigi Rice but it took two weeks before he mustered the courage to speak to Gigi after watching her week after week from afar as she performed an emotional scene on a bridge.
He didn’t need to worry about rejection, though.
Gigi told Gannett News Service in 1995 that when McGinley got to the theater, she felt the same instant spark. "He walked into the room, and I said, 'That’s the man I want to marry,'" Gigi swore.
Just as caught up in the romantic atmosphere, Gigi felt the same way Burt did about the dinner theater’s vibe, only she felt love was in the air in all of Jupiter.
"Jupiter is right on the ocean," Rice said. "It was the most romantic place in the world."
So when Ted walked up to Gigi, she was ready for romance, but that didn’t mean she knew what to say to her future husband.
She said she blanked and complimented McGinley’s tan, and that was all it took. Soon, they were talking about life and swiftly falling in love.
McGinley didn’t take Gigi out to a fancy restaurant when he scored his first date with her, though.
Instead, he kept it casual and took her to a shopping mall restaurant called Chuck & Harold’s.
There was nothing special about the typical chain restaurant menu, but after that night, Chuck & Harold’s became their special place.
"Now we consider it our favorite restaurant," McGinley said.
When the smitten couple finally decided to wed, it was three years later, and they couldn’t wait hardly a second longer to exchange vows.
So one day in summer 1991, they decided to skip the elaborate wedding planning and just get married at a church. Two days later, they were husband and wife.
At this point in his career, McGinley was finishing up his third Revenge of the Nerds movie and appearing in the cast of the hit show Married With Children.
Rice’s career was a little less stable, with Harry and the Hendersons cutting her episodes down in 1991, and the actor deciding to quit the show rather than accept the reduced episodes. A few years later, she bounced back, memorably joining the cast of The John Larroquette Show.
For McGinley and Rice, their careers never faltered for long, and neither, apparently, did their love waver after coming together at that strange dinner theater.
The key complaint at the core of the song "Since I Don’t Have You" is that the singer no longer has any love to share because the only person who cared for them has gone.
For McGinley and Rice, they never had to worry about that kind of loss after fatefully meeting, because they’re still happily married today.
When The Palm Beach Post reported their wedding announcement, they described Ted and Gigi’s union as "a marriage made in the heavens."
Consulting Fifties chart toppers, we think that makes Gigi Rice an "Earth Angel" sent specially for Ted McGinley.