Pop Goes Milwaukee

Milwaukee may not get pop culture references like Chicago, New York City or Los Angeles constantly do. But when the city is thrown the occasional mention, it’s something Milwaukee natives and residents get excited—and critical—about.


Little is done in this 2011 film to bring out or make a connection with Milwaukee, where the story is set. The opening credits establishing aerial shots are the only ones that were actually taken in Milwaukee. It’s laughable to see the Southern California streets try to pass off as a Midwestern town.

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Laverne & Shirley

This “Happy Days” spinoff, which ran from 1976 to 1983, features the title characters who work in a fake Milwaukee brewery called Shotz. The show was filmed in California but still finds ways to incorporate Milwaukee characteristics, like the shot of Milwaukee City Hall in the opening credits. Check out the cast’s performance of “Milwaukee Moon” on YouTube if you need a soothing, old-fashioned tune.

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Wayne’s World

One of the most well-known pop culture references to Milwaukee is in this 1992 comedy film. After performing a concert in Milwaukee, singer Alice Cooper causally gives a history lesson of the city. He says Milwaukee was originally pronounced “Millioke,” which he says is Algonquin for “the good land.” He’s close—it actually means “good,”“beautiful” and “pleasant land.” This reference is clever, substantial and has remained popular over time. There’s a restaurant named Millioke on Wisconsin Avenue. Its specialties? Meet, cheese and beer.

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