From the Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee.
Fonz funds found: Two-thirds of statue’s cost raised
By TOM DAYKIN
Posted: Nov. 26, 2007
A bronze Fonzie sculpture is expected to be unveiled in downtown Milwaukee next fall, with two-thirds of the funds raised for the project.
Visit Milwaukee, a nonprofit group that promotes the city as a tourism and convention destination, says it has raised $57,000 of the $85,000 needed to commission a life-size sculpture of “Happy Days” TV show character Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli.
The group today is announcing plans to sell T-shirts to help raise the remaining funds. Also, Visit Milwaukee has hired Lake Mills artist Gerald Sawyer to create the statue, said David Fantle, the group’s vice president of public relations.
The sculpture, which is planned for the plaza south of E. Wisconsin Ave. and west of N. Water St., near the Chase Plaza office tower, is to be unveiled in October, Sawyer said Monday.
“It’ll be one of his classic poses,” said Sawyer, whose other works include “Rendezvous,” a sculpture of flamingos at the entrance of the Milwaukee County Zoo, and numerous sculptures of Frederick Miller for Miller Brewing Co.
Sawyer said Fonzie might be posed with a jukebox. On “Happy Days,” set in Milwaukee circa the late 1950s and early 1960s, a running gag was Fonzie’s unexplained ability to make the jukebox at Arnold’s diner play just with a strategically placed fist bump.
But the bronze Fonz will not be depicted on a motorcycle, Sawyer said. In the opening credits of “Happy Days,” which ran from 1974 to 1984, Fonzie is riding a Triumph. The idea of Fonzie riding a British motorcycle in the hometown of Harley-Davidson probably wouldn’t be warmly received, he said.
A Web site, bronzethefonz.com, provides information about the project, Fantle said.
Also, “Bronze the Fonz” T-shirts can be ordered through the site. Beginning Friday, the shirts also will be available at the Brew City store at The Shops of Grand Avenue. The shirts cost $22, with $10 going toward the fund-raising campaign, Fantle said.
Visit Milwaukee is promoting the project to create another photo opportunity for people visiting the city. The group got the idea from TV Land, a cable network that broadcasts reruns of vintage shows.
TV Land has donated six sculptures commemorating memorable TV events or characters to various cities, including Mary Richards, the main character from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Located in downtown Minneapolis, it depicts the well-known shot from the show’s opening credits when Mary gleefully tosses her hat in the air.
TV Land, owned by New York-based Viacom International Inc., is dropping the statue program. But Viacom, which owns the rights to the Fonzie character, has approved the Milwaukee project.
- Want to be cool? Start here.
I found this during one of my occasional sweeps of the Web. It’s a humorous post by a travel blogger about the oddity of finding monuments to figures of American pop culture in places like Yugoslavia.
No part of me is comfortable with Yahoo.com becoming a serious purveyor of news and opinion. But I thought this opinion piece about modern monument-making was worth a look.
A monument to Jan Karski, a hero of Poland’s World War II underground, was dedicated on Nov. 11, 2007, which is Independence Day in Poland. It was intended to be “in recognition of Karski’s wartime courage and lifelong commitment to the memory and history of Polish Jews.”