Mr. T & Tina


I remember this show so well — how is it possible it only aired for five episodes? At any rate, we are prompted to post it today because one of the regulars was Jerry Fujikawa (here billed as Hatsuo Fujikawa), whom we have reported about  extensively in our “Cyndy Fuj’s Vaudeville Family” series. It was the first American tv show starring an Asian American (the first show starring an Asian American female was of course All American Girl starring Margaret Cho, a couple of decades later).

Mr. T and Tina starred Pat Morita.  His career was waxing hot in the mid 70s. His performance as Arnold was one of the best things about the early seasons of Happy Days, much humor being mined from how thoroughly Americanized the Japanese American businessman was, cooking hamburgers at his Milwaukee Diner etc, etc. Other than Henry Winkler, he was the breakout star of the series. Mr. T & Tina was spun-off of Welcome Back Kotter was a solo vehicle for him and lasted, sadly, all of five episodes.  Morita would have to wait eight years to achieve even greater fame as Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid.

Here’s the credit sequence for Mr. T and Tina:

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