Rocky's Rocky Road to Immortality
The Controversial Statue
On Jerome Holst's, "TV Acres" Web site (www.tvacres.com) is the sad history of the Rocky statue.
"In 1982, Sylvester Stallone returned to Philadelphia in the sequel 'Rocky III.' Part of the film included a scene where Rocky Balboa dedicates a 9-foot-tall, 1,500-pound bronze statue of himself that was to remain in front of the Art Museum. But, "reel" life met "real" life, when the Museum of Art refused Stallone's gift statue and declared it was not "art" but just an ugly "movie prop." The huge public debate that ensued over where to put the statue elicited such suggestions as "Put it near the Liberty Bell" and "Dump it in the Schuylkill" (a local river). Eventually, the statue was placed at the entrance of the First Union Spectrum, a Philadelphia sports arena at 11th and Pattison Streets. In 1991, the statue was temporarily placed atop the Museum steps once again for the film sequel "Rocky V," but it was soon returned to its place of honor at the Spectrum."
When the statue was at the top of the museum steps, it was a big deal to run up the stairs, do a jig and be photographed beside the statue.
Last week, the powers that be determined that A. Thomas Schomberg's bronze creation should be returned to the museum area—not at the top of the steps, but rather in a nearby locale where photos can be taken while dogs lift their legs on it. In the words of the Inquirer editorial:
Putting the statue at the top of museum's lovely steps, as Stallone wanted, never was a good fit. It remained there for nine weeks in 1982 before being moved to the Spectrum arena. The museum is an elegant building housing the finest and most delicate of fine arts. The Rocky statue is bee-you-tiful, but in the gritty, Philadelphia way.