MILWAUKEE – Though it seems like it’s been there forever, the Bronze Fonz has only served as an iconic piece of Milwaukee’s Riverwalk since 2008.
A whimsical and macabre reminder to nostalgia-obsessed baby boomers that death is near, its relevance is often lost on younger millennials and Gen Z. “Happy Days” may mean little to younger generations, but Henry Winkler is recognizable from more recent shows like “Arrested Development” and “Barry” – which they likely see their Gen X parents watching.
Now in the twilight of his career, Winkler leads a less “cool” life, spending many of his days complying with a court-ordered mandate that forces him to fly weekly to Cream City.
“You hijack a 16-person pedal tavern ONCE during a joyride over the Hoan Bridge, and the next thing you know – you’re getting cuffed, breathalyzed, and are legally required to polish the bronze mold made in your own likeness every week.” said Winkler.
“Do you know what it’s like to repeatedly face your own mortality? Staring right into the crotch of your legacy, the pinnacle of your success?” he continued. “Every time, I grapple with the fragility of existence, wondering if this is it, my swan song – as I wipe bird droppings off my bronze self.”
But after years and thousands of flight miles, Winkler claims he’s had enough with the statue.
“Other than my face, the statue looks nothing like me. That thing’s packing a Tic-Tac when, in reality, I’m packing closer to what resembles an uncut slab of mortadella,” hollered Winkler to anyone who would listen. “Ron Howard can vouch.”
Refusing to believe his career had jumped the shark, Winkler launched a petition seeking to make sizable changes to the statue. Winkler hopes the call to action will rally fans and garner public support. The public campaign, Winkler says, will restore a sense of pride and accomplishment to the area.
“The artist gave the Fonz the Ken doll treatment, if you know what I mean. And what I mean is – the good people of Milwaukee deserve a more anatomically correct statue,” exclaimed Winkler as he was being put in the back of yet another Milwaukee police car. “A bronze dong befitting of Arthur goddamned Fonzarelli.”
For more information and to sign the petition, click here.
Lucas DeLong reporting