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Actor Henry Winkler and cast members of the 1950’s era sitcom “Happy Days” will be present when the bronze statue of “the Fonz” is unveiled in Milwaukee on August 19th, 2008.
Winkler, who played Arthur Fonzarelli in the TV series, says “I think it’s one of the greatest honors for me. It’s right up there with putting my jacket in the Smithsonian Institution.” The Fonz’s leather jacket was a signature prop, always associated with his bad-boy, “king of cool” character.
There will be autograph signings, free frozen custard, a parade and ceremonies before the Milwaukee Brewers-Houston Astros game. A poster of “the Fonz” will be sold to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.
The statue will be a constant reminder that the TV series, which was produced from 1974 to 1984, is part of Milwaukee’s cultural heritage.
Henry Winkler, as many people know, has published 15 books about “Hank Zipzer: The Mostly True Confessions of the World’s Best Underachiever.” The books are based on Winkler’s harrowing experiences as a boy with dyslexia and ADHD. He has become a national speaker on dyslexia and the impact it had on his life.
As for the character of the Fonz, Winkler used the character to send positive messages to millions of TV viewers about serious issues such as bigotry and illiteracy, says Anson Williams, who played Potsie on the show.
Recalling an episode where Fonzie got a library card, Williams says a few days after the episode aired libraries across the country reported a huge spike in the number of people applying for cards.
“He used the show as a platform to teach morals and values and yet he was still cool,” says Williams. “That staue is well deserved because 50 to 100 years from now, that character will still be cool. Everyone loves a rebel at heart.”
sole source: Peg Masterson Edquist’s article in the Business Journal of Milwaukee on 8/13/08. www.milwaukee.bizjournals.com
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