About Christmas TV History

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Days in Milwaukee

I'm in Milwaukee for my book signing tonight, Wednesday Dec. 8th at 7pm at Boswell Book Company. This is my first time visiting the fine state of Wisconsin but as soon as I drove over the Illinois border I was flooded with false memories. I saw signs for Kenosha and Lake Geneva--locations referenced by the characters on TV's Happy Days. And, I somehow knew Milwaukee was only an hour and a half's drive from Chicago--from the bus schedule repeated on TV's Laverne and Shirley. These aren't exactly false memories as much as knowledge attained not my own life experiences. But I love it and it makes being in Milwaukee comfortable and familiar. You gotta know my first stop after arriving in town last night was to visit the Fonzie statue downtown.

Aaayyy! Welcome to Milwaukee Joanna

Being here also reminds me of the fantastic Christmas episodes with our favorite TV characters from Milwaukee. There are many holiday episodes from Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley and even one from Joanie Loves Chachie. Of course, all of these Christmas installments are included in my book Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials and Movies.

Below is my favorite Happy Days Christmas episode "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" from 1974. This story takes place before Fonzie lives above the garage with the Cunningham family--and includes a tenderness and generosity that warms the heart. This 1970s series that takes place during the 1950s also incorporates a sense of nostalgia inherent in it's storytelling. This too adds to the emotional impact for a Christmas story--even if the viewer didn't originally experience or live through the 1950s (or the 1970s!). I also love the berserk robotic Santa Claus decoration for the Cunningham's front yard. Enjoy.

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