In Search of T-shirt Worthy Stars

Monday, Tuesday, Happy Days … Thursday, Friday, Happy Days …

When I was a kid, all it took was the start of the Happy Days theme song to drive me into a frenzy. The show would begin and I'd have just seconds to adjust the TV antenna, shake up a Yoo-hoo, and pull on my beloved Henry Winkler T-shirt.

Pardon me for the nostalgia trip back to my house back in the mid-1970s, but I have reason for getting a little nostalgic. The Fonz actually paid us a visit the other day at ABC Radio.

These days, Winkler is on the Emmy-winning series Arrested Development, and he's a spokesman for "Heart to Heart," the American Heart Association's cholesterol-screening campaign. So he's got plenty to talk about.

Although he was sporting a blazer instead of a brown leather jacket, just one look at him took me back to my all-time favorite show, to my frosty chocolate drink and my prized possession — the T-shirt.

Mind you, it wasn't just the coolness of the Fonz. It was Winkler with his feathered hair, leaning against a tree. Back then, he was the ultimate hottie, although he would be trumped a few years later by Leif Garrett on Family and, of course, Rick Springfield on General Hospital.

Seeing Winkler made me realize that his was the last face I actually wore on a T-shirt. Unfortunately, my grandmother ironed over the appliqué and turned his perfect hair into a scorched, pointy bald spot.

The thing is, even if I were even considering another run at wearing clothes featuring a TV character, there's not one I can think of that warrants a prized spot on my chest, or elsewhere for that matter.

Am I going to wear Bachelor paraphernalia? The guys change more frequently than fashion warrants, and they never stay with the girl. Not admirable!

Shall I don duds with a picture of Tony Soprano? He's hardly one to look up to, and quite frankly, James Gandolfini only fits on a shirt if the person wearing it matches his girth. But don't tell him I said that.

Plus, Gandolfini doesn't have enough hair to feather.

Do I sport a photo of the ladies of Desperate Housewives? Is it PC to carry the images of TV characters who knock boots with a gardener when their husbands aren't home? Even though the actresses are pretty, wouldn't it seem like I was giving the wrong message if I dressed in Housewives threads?

How about the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond? They're funny, but they're funny-looking. Peter Boyle looks like Peter Boyle on and off screen. And although Ray Romano is OK-looking, him leaning against a tree doesn't make you stick your thumbs up and say "Aaaaayyyy."

The fact is, the only good guy characters on television who may be deserving of a clothing line displaying their images don't really have faces that you'd want anywhere near your clothes.

Just try to imagine sporting a photo of anyone from these shows: Joan of Arcadia, Judging Amy, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (and its Miami and New York spinoffs), Law & Order (and all its spinoffs), Third Watch, and Boston Legal. They're all good shows with good values, but there's nobody cool enough for your T. (Maybe William Shatner … 30 years ago.)

Luckily, I've got good cause to celebrate, as Happy Days is doing a reunion show that airs next February. I'll be pulling out that scorched T-shirt just in time to sit down for the opening theme song.

Only now, I don't have to worry about the reception with my satellite dish, the shirt doesn't fit so I'll use it as a placemat, and I won't be drinking my sugary beverage because as Fonzie reminded me, we're all older now and we have to watch our cholesterol. Cool!

Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.