Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bronze Fonzie Statue Unveiled -- Milwaukee Jumps the Shark

When TV icons become actual icons. Chicago has a statue of Bob Newhart; Minneapolis has Mary Tyler Moore; Raleigh has Andy Griffith -- all of them cast in bronze. And now, Milwaukee has "The Fonz."

The City of Milwaukee bills today's unveiling "Bronze the Fonz," as Meg Kissinger sighs deeply in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Paris has its Eiffel Tower. Rome's got the Coliseum. And Milwaukee?

Well, we're now the proud home of the Fonzie Statue, a 5-foot-6-inch, teal, white and bronze monument to Henry Winkler's character in the 1970s TV sitcom "Happy Days."

And to cap things off, Henry Winkler himself was called upon to do the unveiling. Also on hand for the ceremony on the Riverwalk were both Happy Days and franchise alumni, including Garry Marshall, Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Erin Morin, Anson Williams, Don Most, Penny Marshall, and Cindy Williams.

Meg Kissinger continues:

More than 500 people turned out to line the streets as the cast appeared, snapping pictures and shouting, "We love you, Fonzie!" and "Schlamiel, Schlamazel," the words made famous in the opening song of "Laverne & Shirley."

There were proclamations from the governor, presented by Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton (who opined that the statue was a "great ballast to the Calatrava," Milwaukee's world-famous Art Museum addition); County Executive Scott Walker (dressed in a black leather jacket and motorcycle boots); Mayor Tom Barrett (marveling at the size of the crowd); and even Giuseppe Ganelli, who came all the way from Italy to represent the International Happy Days Fan Club.

Local comedian John McGivern served as Master of Ceremonies for the unveiling, describing the statue's pose as "The most famous thumbs up in the world."

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