Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008

About that Bronze Fonz Statue...

By Evan Rytlewski
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Unlike just about everyone I know, I was a proponent of building a "Bronze Fonz" statue in downtown Milwaukee. After all, there are worse brands to associate your city with than "Happy Days," and public art is almost always a welcome addition in my book, no matter how tacky or contentious the art in question is. I was especially happy with how Visit Milwaukee played this morning's unveiling ceremonies, which were as much as commercial for Milwaukee as they were a celebration of "Happy Days." Between all the national news coverage-which included a live broadcast from "Good Morning America"-the city's tourism industry has easily already milked tens of thousands of dollars in exposure from the statue.

So I was feeling pretty warm toward the Bronz Fonz… until they actually unveiled the thing. It is every bit as atrocious as its worst critics feared. Save for its 1950s biker attire, it doesn't even particularly look like the Fonz. Its face is a horrible, compressed facsimile of Henry Winkler's-imagine if Winkler's face was made of clay then swiftly bashed with a large pan and you'll get the picture-and its abundant, combed-back hair is all wrong, making the statue look like, as one of my co-workers described it, "Eddie Munster." And why are its hands so veiny? Did "the coolest character in the history of television" really possess the hands of a varicose octogenarian?

What a bummer.

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