Tuesday afternoon in Milwaukee, something was very, very wrong. The jukebox was unsmacked, the shark unjumped, and nary an ayyyy to be heard.
It didn’t take long to identify the cause of this uncanny, dreadful sensation. The Bronze Fonz had left us. His Riverwalk bridge was empty, home now only to a shaded, dank square of cement where that glorious metallic tribute to a sitcom character from the 1970s had once stood.
This tragedy, so unexpected and so brutal, demanded an explanation – and so we went to the scene of the crime to investigate. It was like “True Detective,” except instead of Matthew McConaughey you had a short, pale guy who smells like rutabaga and kinda looks like a toad.
This was going to be a major story of earth-shattering proportion – The Disappearance of the Bronze Fonz. Surely there would be corruption, scandal, theft, uncommon sexual proclivities, financial mismanagement, Henry Winkler – all the ingredients found in the greatest pieces of journalism. Our excitement was unbounded. When MilMag broke this story, the Pulitzer Committee’s bowels would quiver with excitement; The New York Times would cower at their inadequacy; and that girl from high school would finally see that I am cool and she definitely should have gone to the Halfway to Summer Winter Formal with me because I’m going places!
In our annual love fest for the city we call home, readers and editors alike give mad props to the people, places and things that rev us up right now. From restaurants to remodelers, we’ve curated more than 100 reasons for you to get out and explore Milwaukee.
So anyway, we started investigating and about two minutes later, Visit Milwaukee released a statement saying that the statue was at the shop getting cleaned. Yeah. Vanguard Sculpture Services took it away for maintenance. It’s gonna be back in two weeks.
Well, that explanation kinda undermined the big story we had planned. Plus, it was super boring. Like entire-article-could-fit-in-the-headline boring. So instead of writing that boring article, we put together this listicle of explanations for the Bronze Fonz’ disappearance that would have been way better than the one we got:
- The Bronze Fonz was stolen by international art thieves.
- The Bronze Fonz was covertly moved as part of a citywide game of hide-and-seek concocted by a Department of Public Works employee with too much time on his hands.
- Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson deftly bartered the Bronze Fonz with New York City, the home of Henry Winkler, in exchange for the Statue of Liberty, which will be installed on the Riverwalk next week.
- The Bronze Fonz was never there. Like the Mandela effect, but the Bronze Fonz.
- The Bronze Fonz was actually one of those living statue dudes this whole time. His level of commitment was astonishing, but not unlimited. And it has been cold lately.
- The Bronze Fonz was a surveillance robot developed in Minneapolis for the purposes of gathering intelligence on a much superior and more advanced civilization. Its job complete, its handlers have retrieved it.
- The Bronze Fonz was a manifestation of God, watching His creation from below, and He has finally returned heavenward, heralding the final days before the end of time.
- Carlos Mencia did it.
- The Coalition for 1970s Sitcom Stars Who Wish to Be Forgotten threatened legal action against the city if the statue continued to stand. After the city attorney said, “Yeah, I dunno. I guess they could maybe sue,” the statue was removed.
- The real Bronze Fonz was the friendship we found along the way.
- The Bronze Fonz was actually the Fondue Fonz. We just never knew. The squirrels finally figured it out, though, and a late night feeding frenzy followed.
- Tom Barrett took the Bronze Fonz to Luxembourg. It is now on the front lawn of the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art. In unrelated news, the curator of the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art has resigned.
- Henry Winkler asked for the statue very nicely. It was hard to say no to him. Have you seen “Barry”?
- Ron Howard, in a fit of jealousy, tore the statue down and smashed it to pieces with a jackhammer.
- An unpaid city intern was asked to clean the statue. The unpaid intern had been promised real-world experience in local government. The unpaid intern was angry. The Bronze Fonz will never be found.
- In the year 1387 BC, the Oracle of Delphi prophesied, “A statue of purest Bronze, a Fonz, shall be spat forth from the belly of Hades onto the riverbed of the city of Milwaukee. Fourteen years shall it reign. Then the Fonz must return to his fiery home amongst the damned. Ayyyyy.” The Greeks were very confused, but the Oracle spoke truth.
- The Milwaukee Art Museum, finally fed up with having such an exquisite piece so tantalizingly close but not within its grasp, gave in to the mayor’s demands and hawked up $5 million to buy it for the museum’s permanent collection.
- The Communists.
- When Vice President Kamala Harris was here last week, she bet the mayor that if she hit the Bronze Fonz with a spitball from 20 yards away he had to give it to her. Little did Johnson know that Harris is the best spitball shooter this side of the Mississippi – and she doesn’t let people renege on their bets.
- The folks at Visit Milwaukee knew that Milwaukee Magazine’s digital editor was on vacation this week and that the managing editor and executive editor were haphazardly running the website in her absence. They also knew that these two were in desperate need of content and so they did them a solid by taking the Bronze Fonz away for cleaning and opening up the chance for a funny story. The two of them appreciated it.