All hail the Fonz — our ageless, eternal hero

This week, on the “(Is It) Good for the Jews?” podcast …

Larry Rosen: Say, speaking of celebrities …

Eric Goldbrener: You’re really working those segues this week.

LR: (ignoring him) … Speaking of celebrities, did you happen to see on the Facebook a photo of our pal the King of Real Estate with the Fonz?

EG: Many, many photos. The Fonz, he’s gotta be pushing 80.

LR: No way.

EG: Really. The Fonz? He’s 80 if he’s a day.

LR: I had this same discussion with everyone at the King of Real Estate’s Super Bowl party. They all thought he was old, maybe 80. I said no way.

EG: Check with Siri. You’ll see.


Siri: … Henry Winkler is 72 years old.

LR: He’s only 20 years older than us. Not 80. Because at the party, Sam said the Fonz was in his 40s when he was doing “Happy Days.” He wasn’t in his 40s. If he’s 72 now, he was born in 1946, maybe 1945. “Happy Days” came on in 1973, that means he was 27 or 28 when “Happy Days” started. Remember that? No leather jacket that first season, just a light blue windbreaker. Man, the Fonz was cool.

EG: He’s pushing 80.

LR: He is nowhere near 80. I’ve heard that Henry Winkler is the nicest man in Hollywood, and the story coming from the King of Real Estate seems to support that claim. Very gracious.

EG: Nicest man in Hollywood. Well, nice guys finish last.

LR: Not in this case. King of Real Estate said he told him that when he was a kid he always wanted to be the Fonz and Winkler replied, “Me, too.”

EG: I’ll bet he gets that a lot. Henry Winkler was in one of my favorite movies, “Click.”

LR: That’s with Adam Sandler, the more thoughtful Sandler. I’ve also heard that he’s one of the nicest men in Hollywood.

EG: I like it when he has some depth.

LR: Not the screaming man-child Sandler.

EG: You know what? Two of the nicest men in Hollywood are Jews!

LR: And not only that; one of them was the coolest guy in the world for several years in the 1970s. It’s difficult for people to understand that now, because these days the Fonz looks like exactly what he is: a short Jewish guy.

EG: A mensch.

LR: I’m pretty sure I had no idea when I was a kid that the Fonz was Jewish. I can’t remember when I found it out.

EG: Oh, I knew.

LR: Come on.

EG: Sure. The amount of pride I felt, knowing that the Fonz was a Jew! One of us!

LR: See, now if I’d had that knowledge, say, in 1976 when my family moved from small-town Pennsylvania to the belly of the beast that was 1970s Southern California, I might’ve walked tall into my new elementary school, instead of getting harassed to the point that I had to bail one month in. Disappeared on a Friday. Didn’t even clean out my desk.

EG: That’s a very Fonz-like move, very cool, just disappearing without telling anyone, except that the Fonz probably wouldn’t have been in school in the first place.

LR: I left to go to the gifted children’s school.

EG: That’s probably not how the Fonz would’ve played it.

LR: He would’ve left to open a body shop. Though remember, later in the series run, when the “Happy Days” gang gave up all pretense of actually looking like it was the 1950s and started blow-drying their hair, they did this episode where the Fonz couldn’t read or something

EG: Yes! He was trying to read at Arnold’s, I think.

LR: I can’t remember the specifics, but I know the episode ended with The Fonz telling everyone it was cool to read. Reading was cool.

EG: Reading is cool.

LR: Not as cool as making all the sounds of nature come to a halt because you yell “cool it!” Do you remember that one?

EG: I didn’t see that one.

LR: Regardless, the one thing we share is that today we’re both jealous of the King of Real Estate; he got to meet the Fonz.

Larry Rosen
Larry Rosen

Larry Rosen is a writer, husband, father and author of “The Rabbi Has Left the Building,” a memoir about his son’s bar mitzvah. He co-hosts the podcast “(Is It) Good for the Jews?”

Eric Goldbrener
Eric Goldbrener

Eric Goldbrener is a Libertarian, Zionist, atheist and autodidact technologist. He co-hosts the podcast “(Is It) Good for the Jews?”