If you grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, much of your home life probably revolved around the television set. It was breakfast cereal and Saturday morning cartoons, sandwiches out of your Star Trek lunch box at school, and TV dinners with the family gathered around the set for the latest episode of Gunsmoke.
Even on your cross country family road trips, after a long day touring national parks and quirky roadside attractions, everyone lay on the bed eating snacks they bought from a Stuckey’s stop while watching I Dream of Jeannie before turning in for the night. And whether you loved Lucy, found Fonzie your favorite, or whistled along to The Fishing Hole (the theme song to the Andy Griffith Show), the beloved characters that came into our living rooms every night became a part of our life and our fond childhood memories.
Fortunately for us, we can relive some of those childhood memories thanks to efforts of the TV Land Landmark campaign which placed six statues around the USA before the promotion ended in 2007; however, other local communities decided to carry on the tradition by erecting bronze statues to some of their most notable celebrities, fictional or otherwise. It’s in that spirit that we created this list of bronze statues of America’s favorite TV personalities. So, if you’re looking for something different to do on your ultimate family road trip this year, why not plan your itinerary around some of your childhood favorites?
1. Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners
The first TV Land Landmarks statue was none other than New York’s most lovable bus driver, Ralph Kramden, and what place could be more fitting than the Manhattan Port Authority Bus Terminal? The statue stands eight-feet tall which is also appropriate as Jackie Gleason – who played the part of Kramden in the early television sitcom The Honeymooners for 39 episodes starting on October 1, 1955 – was larger than life himself. He died in 1987, but if he had lived to have seen the statue dedicated to one of American’s favorite television characters in August 2000, we can only imagine he’d say, “How sweet it is!”
2. Bob Newhart as Dr. Robert Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show
Okay, so let’s get this straight first: actor Bob Newhart played Dr. Robert Hartley on a show called The Bob Newhart Show? We don’t know why it wasn’t called the Dr. Robert Harley Show, but if Dick Van Dyke can have The Dick Van Dyke Show where he played a guy named Rob Petrie, well then, why not? Newhart played psychologist Bob Hartley from 1972-1978. The on-screen doctor lived with his wife Emily in a swanky, Mid-Century Modern Chicago high rise apartment building and practiced psychology on his more eccentric than crazy patients 430 N. Michigan Avenue where, on July 27, 2004, a bronze statue of Dr. Hartley/Bob Newhart in his likeness was first installed. Later it would be moved to a new location on the Navy Pier where you can sit on Dr. Hartley’s couch and tell him all your problems. He seems to be a pretty good listener.
As a couple of side trips, first head over to over to the original location of the statue at 430 N. Michigan Avenue location of the fictional doctor’s office for a photo-op, though the façade has been changed since the good doctor practiced here. Afterwards take the short trip up to The Thorndale Beach North condominiums at 5901 North Sheridan Road which was used for the exterior shots of Hartley’s apartment building. Nobody will think you’re crazy for stopping for some selfies.
3. Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show was, of course, Mary Tyler Moore who played Mary Richards, a thirty-something, unmarried, independent woman who moves to Minneapolis on the heels of a broken engagement. Upon arriving, she applies for a job as a secretary at local station WJM-TV, but soon finds herself working as an associate producer of the evening news at the station.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show ran on CBS from 1970 to 1977 and is often thought of as groundbreaking television because it was rare in the 1970s to have a television show with a central female character that was not married or dependent on a man.
Perhaps most memorable about the show for many, however, was the final scene in the opening credits that ends in a still-frame of Mary Tyler Moore (as Mary Richards) throwing the beret she is wearing into the air. That rather iconic shot was not only frozen on film, but it was also cast in bronze and placed on Nicollet Mall in at the same location where the scene was filmed in downtown Minneapolis.
Incidentally, the fictional Mary rented an apartment in a 19th century Victorian house that the magazine Entertainment Weekly dubbed “TV’s most famous bachelorette pad”. The exterior establishing shots were shot at a real house in Minneapolis located at 2104 Kenwood Parkway, a 10-minute ride from Mary’s Statue at Nicollet Mall. So, if you have time, stop by a take a selfie and see if you, too, can turn the world on with your smile.
4. Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy
From 1951 – 1957 everybody loved Lucy Ricardo (played by American actress and comedian Lucille Ball) on the hit television sitcom I Love Lucy. So beloved was Lucy, in fact, she has been memorialized in bronze not once, but three times!
Scary Lucy and Lovely Lucy
In 2009, Lucille Ball’s hometown of Celoron in Jamestown, New York asked sculptor Dave Poulin to sculpt a statue in their hometown celebrity’s honor. However, when the statue was unveiled at Lucille Ball Memorial Park, those in attendance gasped and hid their children’s eyes from the horror that stood before them. Soon, the statue was the subject of internet fodder and the world was laughing at the town.
However, that’s when the good citizens of Celoron got together and decided to do something about it. They would build another, hopefully better, statue and began taking bids from artist from all over the world. Even the sculptor of Scary Lucy put in an offer to fix the monster he had created, to which the good citizens of Celoron said (we think), “Are you out of your (expletive) mind. No! Uh-uh! No way!”
Instead they commissioned sculptor Carolyn Palmer to create a new statue which was unveiled to thunderous applause and the good citizens of Celoron were happy once again. And for those of you who, like us, would visit the Lucille Ball Memorial Park just to see the Scary Lucy statue, we’ve got good news.
That’s right! They’ve kept both of them!
Lucy on a Bench
Travel a little over 2,400 miles across the country from Celoron, New York There is yet another I Love Lucy statue, with Lucy sitting on a bench at the corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and South Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, California.
5. Henry Winkler as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli in Happy Days (AKA the “Bronze Fonz”)
Milwaukee’s own Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli (played by Henry Winkler on the TV show Happy Days from 1974 to 1984) is affectionately known as “The Bronze Fonz” and of course he’s dressed in his trademarked leather jacket and blue jeans and giving his characteristic two thumbs up (way before it became popular to give “a thumbs up” on Facebook, mind you).
However, the statue of Fonzie almost didn’t happen. Soon after TV Land Landmarks promised to honor the Fonz in bronze, they abandoned their TV Land Landmarks promotion, pretty much telling Milwaukee they could “Sit on it!” Nevertheless, the Fonz would see happy days after all when the city’s tourist board, Visit Milwaukee, raised $85,000 and commissioned artist Gerald P. Sawyer to create it. The statue was unveiled on August 18, 2008 at Milwaukee’s Riverwalk with many cast members from Happy Days on hand including Henry Winkler who, in true Fonzie style, gave it two thumbs up. Aaaaaaayyyyyy!
6. Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor and Ron Howard as Opie Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show
Andy Griffith played widower Andy Taylor, a small town sheriff in the town of Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show from 1960 to 1968. The town of Mayberry was actually based on Andy Griffith’s real hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina, and when TV Land erected the statue of Andy and Opie called “Gone Fishing” in Raleigh, North Carolina, both the townsfolk of Mount Airy and Andy Griffith himself protested. TV Land acquiesced and erected two statues – one in Raleigh and one in Mount Airy.
7. James Garner as Bret Maverick in Maverick
In 2006, the city of Norman Oklahoma erected a 10-foot tall statue to honor their hometown son actor James Garner. Though Garner is portrayed in his role of Bret Maverick from the TV Western, Maverick from 1957 to 1962, he is also well-known as private detective Jim Rockford in the television dramedy series “The Rockford Files” that ran from September 13, 1974 to January 10, 1980.
8. Noel Neill as Lois Lane Statue in Adventures of Superman
Where else would expect to find Lois Lane other than right down the street from Superman in Metropolis? (Metropolis, Illinois, that is.) Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane was played by Noel Neill who, at the age of 89, was on hand at the statue’s unveiling in 2009.
9. Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens on Bewitched
On June 15, 2005, a 9-foot-tall, 3,000 pound bronze statue depicting Samantha Stephens riding side saddle on a broom and flying past a crescent moon was dedicated in Salem, Massachusetts’ Lappin Park. On the show, Samantha Stephens (played by Elizabeth Montgomery) was married to a mere mortal named Darrin Stephens (Yes, Darrin of the two Darrin Stephens controversy who was played by two Dicks – Dick York and Dick Sargent, respectively), The couple live in Westport, Connecticut, but occasionally (four four episodes, as a matter of fact), Sam slipped away to Salem, Massachusetts. So, seeing how Salem is known for its witches, it seemed like a great place for TV Land to put their statue. Not everybody agreed, however, as some thought it was disrespectful to those who were wrongfully accused of being a witch back during the Salem Witch Trials. Nevertheless, the statue still stands, and it’s been said that, if you watch carefully, you can see Sam wiggle her nose.
10. Frank Sutton as Gunnery Sergeant Vince Carter in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Well, goooolly! A bronze statue of actor Frank “Sgt. Carter” Sutton was dedicated on May 3, 2017 at 107 Franklin Street in Downtown Clarksville, Tennessee by Mayor Kim McMillan, statue project leader Mark Holleman, and sculptor Scott Wise. Born and raised in Clarksville, Frank Sutton remains a “favorite son” of the Clarksville community and the statue perfectly brings to mind Sutton’s famous Gunnery Sergeant Carter from the CBS sitcom Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. with his trademark hat, lean- forward stance, square jaw and flaring nostrils. Shazam!
And now an important word from our sponsor:
While you’re out chasing stars, don’t forget to stop by one of your nearest Stuckey’s locations and pick up a few stars of the American road trip since 1937! Of course we’re talking about Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls, Pecan Divinity, Pecan Pralines and other fine pecan candies. We’ve got road trip snacks for adults and kids alike including our bags of flavored pecans or our mouth-watering popcorn treats featuring the one-of-a-kind deliciously good Hunkey Dorey.
And since you’ve been out browsing retro TV land, be sure to also browse our wide selection of retro-inspired Stuckey’s t-shirts, caps and mugs, as well as our unique souvenirs, gifts, and other Stuckey’s memorabilia while you’re there.
So star struck that you missed your Stuckey’s stop? No problem because you can always order Stuckey’s merchandise online and have them deliver it right to your front door (though don’t be surprised if the delivery driver asks for your autograph). Visit us at stuckeys.com to find out more.
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!
Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!