The Wonder Years comes to the Smithsonian
Kevin Arnold's green New York Jets jacket that he wore in "The Wonder Years" has became a piece of history, along with other items from the popular TV show. They were donated to the Smithsonian Institution.
Costumes, studio tapes, scripts and Polaroid photos from the show have been donated to the National Museum of American History by several people, including Fred Savage, who played Arnold, as well as his mother and other cast members.
"The Wonder Years" ran from 1988 to 1993 on ABC and was recently released on DVD.
Curator Dwight Blocker Bowers said the show was "meticulously designed" to recall the American experience in a turbulent time of the 1960s through the simple moments of growing up in a suburban town.
Savage said his mom, Joanne Savage, likes to keep everything and had held onto the green and white letterman style jacket since the show ended. When her children joked she was a hoarder, she would quip that the Smithsonian might want their things one day. So Fred Savage said he was surprised when the museum actually did want his old jacket.
He said "The Wonder Years' was special because it was about everyone.
"The show celebrated the achievements and the heroism of everyday life your first day of junior high, the first time you call a girl, your first kiss," Savage said. "That's where the beauty lies in the simplicity of the everyday, the seemingly mundane. That's what makes up our memories."
Savage, 38, who played the lead character Kevin Arnold, now has two young children and directs TV shows, mostly comedies, including the hit, "Modern Family." As a child actor from the age of 6, Savage said he was fascinated with the cameras and always wanted to direct TV shows.
Savage said he sees some parallels between "The Wonder Years" throwback to 1960s suburbia and "Modern Family's" take on life now since minds have opened to different ways families come together.
He said there are "still those universal experiences of parents trying to have a date when they have three young kids, or a child's first kiss, or going away to college. There's still a universality, no matter how a family is put together."
Critical thinking challenge: Is it possible that an experience from your own life could have been depicted on The Wonder Years, which was set in the 1960s? If so, describe it. If not, explain why.