Monday, May 19, 2008
Friday night's reading at the Menlo Park library was a rare treat, as I got to see and hear "The Fonz" live and in person. He has a series of kids books focusing on Hank Zipzer's school escapades and the reading launched #14 in the series, "The Life of Me(Enter at Your Own Risk)." Hank is learning challenged, and the "world's greatest underachiever." Winkler gave a dynamic reading, impersonating teachers, classmates, animals, and other characters with vigor, sending the audience of kids, parents, and big kids like us into cascades of laughter. He also described how he got started writing the series, including an introduction to children's book writer Lin Oliver, his longtime collaborator.
"We met for lunch," he stated. "The fish was terrible, but the meeting was great!" He also talked about how, due to his dislexia, he needed his scripts sent to him in advance, and in auditions rendered "the essence of the script," which never stopped him from getting a role. I haven't read the series yet but plan on exploring it soon, as my guess is the books are just as entertaining for adults as well as kids. In the meantime, how great is it that The Fonz lives on ...YO!