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Happy Days, a journey through jukeboxes at Mercanteinfiera

Happy Days, a journey through jukeboxes at Mercanteinfiera

Fifty years after the cult American series, the jukebox has become a design object.

(Parma, February 13, 2024) – An old jukebox, flashing neon lights in vibrant colors, a 45 rpm vinyl record, a group of friends gathering at Al Delvecchio’s Arnold’s diner to dance, play music, and spend time together in the evenings or during holidays. Who isn’t already humming the tune?

Exactly fifty years ago, the first episode of Happy Days aired, the cult series by Garry Marshall that contributed to creating symbolic objects still carrying a light, sparkling, and lively imagery of America in the 1950s. Among these: jukeboxes, now objects of furniture or collectibles for lovers of the charm of past times.

From March 2nd to March 10th, at the Parma Fairgrounds, Mercanteinfiera will host the hall dedicated to memory hunters, welcoming within its 40,000 square meters the world of antiques, modernism, historical design, and vintage collecting.

On January 15, 1974, at eight o’clock in the evening, on ABC, the story of the Cunningham family, Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, Ralph Malph, Warren Weber, and generally of that 1950s America made of rock’n roll, circle skirts, good feelings stuffed with leather jackets, motorcycles, and drive-ins began. It arrived in Italy in 1977. Happy Days, a timeless series, has accompanied more than one generation: a fist bump to Fonzie, a coin, a firm tap on the jukebox glass, and the magic was done. The music could start.

From the 1930s to the 1970s, the jukebox underwent a real evolution in terms of design, functionality, and technology, becoming increasingly integrated into people’s lives and appealing to a diverse audience, ranging from teenagers who loved Elvis Presley’s rock to fans of melodic music.

What happened to jukeboxes today? We find them as decorative objects in bars, shops, as well as in private homes, all with their strong nostalgic appeal and, of course, at Mercanteinfiera.

The collateral exhibitions

At Mercanteinfiera, visitors will also have the opportunity to admire three collateral exhibitions that embrace the themes of jewelry, fashion, and motor racing. 

Masculine jewelry: from 18th-century splendor to gender-fluid glamourcurated by Mara Cappelletti, it will be the exhibition dedicated to men’s jewelry and how trends, styles, fashion, and the communicative dimension of jewelry have evolved from the eighteenth century to today. 

“Wake Up! Dreamsigners: Design Matchmaking” will feature 36 projects related to the theme of sustainability, understood as a new approach to production and design. The projects are created by students from the “Lifestyle and Fashion” course, coming from 16 different countries. The collateral event coordinated by Arturo Dell’Acqua Bellavitis and Eugenia Chiara for Polytechnic University of Milan, School of Design and Giulia Brighenti and Francesca Rossi for Wake Up!, in collaboration with Chinese universities, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and Jingyan.

“Revival: Goodwood VS Maranello”, instead, consists of a collection of shots by Uli Weber portraying the famous vintage car race Goodwood Revival, organized in West Sussex by the Duke of Richmond, evoking adrenaline-fueled emotions as well as nostalgic feelings of a bygone era of sophisticated elegance.

On Saturday, March 2nd, there will be a guided tour available for journalists with the curators from 5 to 6 PM, or alternatively on Sunday morning.

The fair remains, with its 1000 exhibitors and over 50,000 visitors per edition, a reference point for the world of antiques, modern design, and designer furniture signed by universally recognized “masters” such as Gio Ponti, Gaetano Pesce, Franco Albini, just to name a few.

To parade through the exhibition halls of the trade fair are also antique jewelry, prestigious names in collectible watchmaking (Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, Hublot), and the entire seductive arsenal of vintage fashion from Coco Chanel to Versace, from Gucci to Hermès.

12-19 October 2024 | 10.00 - 19.00
October 18th 2024 | 10:00 - 17:00 BUYERS:
10-11 October 2024 | 8.00 - 19.00

Online Ticket: €12
On site ticket: €15

Fiere di Parma
Viale delle Esposizioni, 393A
43126 Parma, Italia