If you are a child of the ’70’ you no doubt still use many expressions from the show Happy Days. This being a car forum, we thought we’s look back at the Malachi Crunch, an expression we all know and love.
The Malachi Crunch phrase was coined in 1976. It was the central theme of Happy Days’ season four episodes one and two. In the first episode, we meet Carol “Pinky” Tuscadero. She’s a tough broad in town for a motorcycle exhibition and to drive her ’55 Caddy in a demolition derby. Fonzie, of course, falls hard for Pinky. However, their romance is clouded by Fonzie’s old-fashioned view that demolition derby is a man’s game.
This rift is exploited by Marvin “Count” Malachi. He and his brother Rocco “Jumpy” Malachi plan to win the derby. Their signature move, of course, is the tag-team double whammy. They use both cars to slam into one stranded car. During the demolition derby scene, the brothers use the crunch in both forward and reverse, and it is not their only dirty move. Jumpy throws flour in the face of Left Banducci to blind him. That trick is thwarted by the Fonz, who uses a hair dryer he happens to have on hand, to redirect the flour back at Rocco Malachi, who then decries the move as unfair. The scene culminates with Pinky exiting her vehicle to “repair her engine” and is hit by Jumpy. She is injured but survives.
According to reports, Pinky is actually tough. She is said to have fired a shotgun into a neighbor’s home to silence a car alarm. That is, of course, legal in Texas, but she was arrested since she did this in Vermont. She did not serve time for that but is reported to have done 98 days for hitting a man with a cane.
Any football or hockey fan now in his or her ’40s will use the term “Malachi Crunch” on average once every other sporting event to describe any form of two-on-one violence. The term has made the jump from the Happy Days show to the pop culture almost 30 years ago. So far, it’s the one thing from the show that hasn’t jumped the shark.