Gus Polinski (John Candy) of the Kenosha Kickers plays for Kate McCallister (Catherine O'Hara) in "Home Alone."

Small city, bright lights: Kenosha has been a popular reference in movies, TV

Al Delvecchio, Gus Polinski, Timmy Turner and others have ties to our city
Domenic Savaglio

By Domenic SavaglioKENOSHA.COM

Savaglio is a second-generation Kenosha native, whose grandparents immigrated from Cosenza, Italy. The Bradford High School graduate shares his cultural knowledge and human-interest stories, highlighting Kenosha’s many stops and untapped potential as a travel destination.

Kenosha has produced a number of prominent figures in recent years from actor Mark Ruffalo to former Miss America Laura Kaeppeler to fashion designer Kendra Scott to YouTuber Tristan Jass to World Series champion Gavin Lux.

For a city of 100,000 residents, Kenosha is home to a surprising number of celebrities. In addition, Kenosha has received mention in numerous TV shows and movies.

Here is a look at some interesting Kenosha references:

Timmy and Trixie from “The Fairly Odd Parents”

The Fairly Odd Parents

In the Nickelodeon cartoon “The Fairly Odd Parents” (Season 4, Episode 27), main character Timmy Turner asks for a wish from an evil genie. Since the genie has antagonistic motives, his wishes are never as they seem. 

Timmy wishes Trixie Tang, his crush, to fall in love with him. So, the genie “grants” the wish, but another character pops into the frame. The genie says, “Oh, that’s Timmy P. Turner of Kenosha, Wisconsin.”

“Danny Phantom”

Danny Phantom

“Danny Phantom,” a cartoon created by Butch Hartman (who also created “The Fairly Odd Parents”), features a Kenosha reference in the episode “Bitter Reunions.”

Jack, who is Danny’s father, defeats Danny’s arch nemesis Vlad. Danny’s Mother Maddie exclaims, “Jack! I have never seen you like this! You beat that ghost all the way to Kenosha!”

Wisconsin is often referenced in both “The Fairly Odd Parents” and “Danny Phantom” because one of the main producers, Steve Marmel, is a University of Wisconsin graduate.

That ’70s Show

Ashton Kutcher as Kelso in “That ’70s Show”

“Hello, Wisconsin!”

“That ’70s Show,” based in the fictional town of Point Place, is famous for its Wisconsin references. 

According to an article in Fond du Lac’s The Reporter, the regional location of Point Place was never specified, but some speculate it’s a Kenosha suburb. 

Throughout the series, Milwaukee and Chicago are said to be “an hour and a half drive,” which makes Kenosha a possible location. Some also point to the alliteration between Point Place and Pleasant Prairie.

One notable reference to Kenosha is when Michael Kelso, a main character played by Ashton Kutcher, refers to a photo of a male underwear model. He says the photo “sold hundreds of young men’s briefs all over the greater Kenosha area!”

Is this a reference to Jockey International? Maybe.

Carrie

Stephen King’s debut novel “Carrie” and its film adaptation feature Kenosha in letters written by one of the main characters, Ms. Margaret White. 

King writes that White wrote letters to a friend in Kenosha to begrudgingly announce that she was pregnant with her daughter, Carrie.

Fever Lake

This 1997 horror film “Fever Lake” was filmed in Kenosha. Mario Lopez, who played one of the main characters, even attended a premiere screening at Kenosha’s Orpheum Theater and signed autographs at multiple locations throughout the city.

ER

In the first few seasons of the medical television drama “ER,” Dr. Mark Greene considers moving to Milwaukee because of his wife’s job. Due to the proximity of Milwaukee and Chicago, the couple decides to relocate to Kenosha instead.

For Keeps

In the 1988 coming-of-age film “For Keeps,” Darcy (portrayed by Molly Ringwald) becomes pregnant during her senior year of high school. Not only was the movie set in Kenosha, but it was also partially filmed here.

Al Molinaro and Henry Winkler in “Happy Days.”

Happy Days

Not only was Al Molinaro (who played Al Delvecchio) from Kenosha, but “Happy Days” was set in Milwaukee and often mentioned Kenosha. “Laverne & Shirley,” a spinoff of the show, also frequently mentions Kenosha.

Supernatural

In the episode “Weekend at Bobby’s,” main characters Sam and Dean examine a body in Kenosha ravaged by a monster called “Lamia.”

The Kenosha Comets played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and were referenced in “A League of Their Own.”

A League of Their Own

The movie “A League of Their Own” is centered around the women who played baseball for the Rockford Peaches during World War II in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Many local teams of the time are also referenced, including the Kenosha Comets and the Racine Belles. 

John Candy’s character Gus Polinski was a member of the Kenosha Kickers in “Home Alone.”

Home Alone

One of the most iconic Kenosha references is in the 1990 film “Home Alone.” 

When Kevin McCallister’s mother makes her way back to Chicago from Paris, she makes it to Scranton, Pa., but can’t get a flight to Chicago. A polka band called the Kenosha Kickers offers to bus Kate McCallister to Chicago on their way to Sheboygan. The band’s lead member, Gus Polinski, is played by the legendary John Candy.

Whether Kenosha is used randomly or with a Wisconsin connection, our little city finds its way into the writer’s room of some of the most famous TV shows and movies. 

Which Kenosha references did we miss? Feel free to respond in the comments section on Facebook.

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