There are plans in Milwaukee to build a public sculpture of the Fonz, the character from hit TV show Happy Days based in the city.
Visit Milwaukee, a non-profit group that promotes the city as a tourism and convention destination, is leading an effort to raise $85,000 to commission the statue. So far, Visit Milwaukee has raised $45,000, and the group is confident it will meet its timetable of unveiling a bronze Fonz in 2008, said Dave Fantle, the agency’s vice president of public relations. The agency already has contacted four artists and hopes to choose a sculptor by the end of October, he said. Visit Milwaukee got the idea of a Fonzie statue 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, such as Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore). All six sculptures are from shows mainly popular in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, in keeping with TV Land’s focus on its baby boomer audience.
So this potential statue seems to represent a doubling of nostalgia, the twinning of the desire for a past located in fiction: the Happy Days sitcom was produced in the 70s and 80s, in a setting two decades earlier.
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