Rocky Balboa Statue
- Tribute to down and out club fighter
named Rocky Balboa who defeats the
reigning heavy weight boxing champion of the
world in the sports film Rocky (1976)
starring Sylvester Stallone.
To prepare for this big fight, Rocky Balboa
began a training regimen of early morning runs
through the streets of South Philly that
culminated atop the steps of the Philadelphia
Museum of Art.
As Rocky finished running up the Museum's
72-step entrance, he raised his arms in triumph.
Since then, thousands of visitors to
Philadelphia have climbed the stairs and raised
their arms in triumph, as well.
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.
Unfortunately, "reel" life met "real" life
when the Museum of Art refused the Stallone's
gift statue and declared it was not "art" but
just an ugly "movie prop."
The Rocky statue was the creation of Denver
artist A. Thomas Schomberg.
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 Wachovia Spectrum, a
Philadelphia sports arena at 11th and Pattison
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.
On May 16, 2003, the International Institute for
Sport and Olympic History (IISOH), a non-profit
educational, literary and research corporation
listed the Rocky statue on eBAY for $5 million
in its first major fundraising event.
The statue for sale was one of three made for
the Rocky III film. The Rocky #1 statue
originally stood in front of the Spectrum. Rocky #2
resides at a IISOH museum in
State College, Pennsylvania, and Rocky #3 was sold at
auction to a private benefactor.
On September 7th, 2006, the Philadelphia
Art Commission placed the statue of Rocky at the
foot of Eakins Oval next to the Philadelphia
Museum of Art steps so visitors had easy
access to the famous statue.
The Rocky #1 statue has also been seen in such
films as Trading Places with Eddie
Murphy, Mannequin with Andrew McCarthy
and Philadelphia with Tom Hanks.
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