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Producers' Pick | Paul Farber explores Rocky Balboa's famous Philadelphian monument

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
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January 22, 2023 12:00 am

Producers' Pick | Paul Farber explores Rocky Balboa's famous Philadelphian monument

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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January 22, 2023 12:00 am

Director of Monument Lab and Host of The Statue Podcast Paul Farber explores the rich history of a statue to the most famous Philadelphian who never lived: Rocky Balboa.

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To learn more, visit For J.D. Power 2022 U.S. award information, visit In a while, a person comes along who defies the odds, who defies logic and fulfills an incredible dream. On behalf of all the citizens of Philadelphia and the many who have been touched by your accomplishments and your untiring participation in this city's many charity functions, it is with tremendous honor that we present this memorial, which will stand always as a celebration to the indomitable spirit of man. Philadelphia salutes its favorite son, Rocky Balboa. And the statue gets unveiled. Why would we show a random cut of Rocky III when the statue still stands in Philadelphia?

Why would we open up a segment like this? Because Paul Farber is here. He's director of Monument Lab, host of the statue, focusing on the Rocky Balboa statue at the foot of Museum of Art in Philadelphia. And even though there's so many famous works of art there, this is the one everyone flocks to that has to run up those stairs and remember where they were when they saw whatever Rocky they liked best. Paul, congratulations on the podcast that focuses on this. First off, when did you realize that the Rocky movies and the statue were a great theme for a podcast series?

Well, thank you for having me here. I'll say I grew up in Philly, you know, lifelong Eagles fan, right, grew up with the Rocky theme playing everywhere you went in the city. But I always kind of thought of it as something maybe not worth a second look like you knew that it was important but didn't really have a full grasp. It was my mother, lifelong Philadelphian, who said you should take a second look and really understand what's going on there. And when I realized from her suggestion that four million people go to the Rocky statue each year. That's Statue of Liberty numbers. That's more than double that go to the Liberty Bell. And when you go to the line, you see people from all walks of life who are inspired by this story.

And so I wanted to go out and say, what can we learn by looking at the statue, but also understanding the life of of real Philadelphians who have their own histories and stories and the people around the world who see it as a symbol. It's Rocky three that it comes into play. That's right.

People think it's Rocky one, but it's Rocky three. And there I guess. So remember, they're going to unveil a statue. And Mick looks at it and goes, there's a thing of beauty. Right. And then Rocky's in awe.

And then Clever Lang kind of ruins the moment. Cut 28. Don't get a sucker.

No statue. Give them guts. I told you I wasn't going away. You got your shot.

Now give me mine. Why did you get the hell out of there? Shut up, old man.

I ain't going nowhere. And why don't you tell all these nice folks why you've been ducking me? Politics, man. This country wants to keep me down.

Keep everybody weak. They don't want a man like me to have the title because I'm not a puppet like that fool up there. You know, you've got a big mouth, you know? Why don't you come out and close it, bad boy? Come on.

The little man don't want to come to me. Then I'll come to you people and lay out the truth. I am rank number one.

One! That means I'm the best. Put this bomb in taking the easy matches. Fight another bomb. I'm telling you and everybody here, I'll fight them anywhere, anytime, for nothing.

So that was a great exchange. And then when he challenges Adrian, he ends up getting the fight and Mick doesn't want him to take the fight. And later he would throw his helmet at the statue because he had to live up to it. So a lot of stuff happened within the movie on the statue. Yeah, and you know, in our series we talk about, in this case, life imitates art. And you have the statue that was made for the film. Sylvester Stallone not only starred in Rocky and wrote it, but for Rocky III he directed it and worked with an artist, Thomas Schomburg. They didn't make a prop with styrofoam or wood.

They made it in bronze. And then after the filming was done, they kept it there and it kind of took a life of its own. Did Stallone want to keep it there?

He offered it to the city. And after several decades of it moving around, it was moved off site, it was moved back for the filming of Rocky V, it was moved back to the spectrum, and then in 2006 it came back. I think what's fascinating with the clip that you just shared, you know, Rocky III is the moment that this statue comes into the series and comes into real life Philly. Another blurring of that, though, is the original intent for Clubber Lang, who's played by Mr. T. Stallone wanted real life boxer Joe Frazier to play that role. Joe Frazier's heavyweight champ from Philadelphia, he had a cameo in Rocky I.

He's the person who ran up the steps and punched raw meat before the movie character Rocky did. And they had an audition and it went maybe, you might imagine, yeah, and it ended with Stallone in stitches and they called it off. But I always think about the way that- What do you mean in stitches?

I mean literally in stitches. He punched him. Yeah, because, well, the audition, when you're in a boxing movie, has to be in the ring. So they actually were in the ring fighting. And I think it's just this moment where art and life are always blurring and it gets us asking, the Rocky statue is the symbol that's known around the world. How does it relate to the real life stories? And for me, that's an entry point into understanding monuments that we often walk by every day.

So you would go to people and say, why are you online? That's right. Why are you here? One of them is this guy, Hasib. Hasib is an Afghan refugee who moved to Philly. What is the Rocky story? It's an underdog story of the once in a shot. What are you going to do with your shot? Why does it resonate with so many people in so many countries?

Cut 27. My name is Ahmad Hasib Payab. I live with my family. I mean, one thing that was inspiring me, I want to become like this Rocky guy. Originally we were from Afghanistan. We came to Philly one year after the Taliban took over the country. I had like watched all the Rocky movies. Philadelphia was depicted and that we were having that dream of Rocky. That motivated me. I said, well, let's go to Philadelphia. Rocky started from scratch, his exercise, his mission of becoming the champion.

Now I'm making everything from scratch from zero. So why him? You know, there were countless stories, but, you know, history stuck out to us. Here is a person who with his family was having to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban took rule and had to figure out where to go. He had a daughter who had a serious health condition.

They had to pick up everything. And they chose Philadelphia because of the Rocky story. And when they got to Philadelphia, they spent time at the statue and kind of channeled the Rocky spirit. I think what we kept finding was people who are relating to Rocky as if he's a real person. Well, what they pull out from it is it's a place to acknowledge pain, acknowledge trauma.

People from all walks of life go there. Inspiration. Inspiration. Absolutely. And I think when you talk to people, we talk later in the series to someone who does harm reduction work, who really looks for the most vulnerable people in Philadelphia.

She calls herself Rocky's little sister. And we just found all of these moments. And I think the story, you know, that that and the experience of the refugee family that you played was really powerful for us. It showed us not just the power of film, but the way that we can connect and come together to.

Paul Farber here, like me, loves the Rocky movies, thinks it's more than just a fight film. He's director of Monument Lab, host to the statue, which you can get on a podcast. It's your podcast series, right?

That's right. You can get it anywhere? You can get it anywhere you get your podcasts and PR one. And we have new episodes coming out each week.

It's a six part series. And you hear Stallone's voice in this of Stallone as it is not on board yet. I imagine he would love this. It's an open invite to him. I mean, we really try to in our latest episode, we look at Stallone, the artist who before he wrote Rocky, before he acted Rocky, he carved an image of Rocky into canvas. So we've reached out to his camp. He's been busy doing things. We understand that we do is open invite. Who knows?

Maybe we'll do a dialog. The Philadelphia Museum of Art. By the way, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, not happy that a movie prop, they call it a movie prop, is getting more attention than them. It's fascinating when you go to the steps right now, if you go and again, I'm an unabashed Eagles fan. So you go there now, the Rocky statue has a Jalen Hurts jersey and the steps are the place that we are coming together as a city. But it's also a place where we gather, we mourn. And the museum is a really important place. It was inspiring to Stallone and the steps. That's the people's pedestal.

Absolutely. John Roberts on Fox and Friends ran up Mr. Professional, Mr. I'm going to replace Dan Rather, ran up those steps.

Everyone seems to do that. Here is so Stallone. We pulled the cut from him.

Surprising students from the New Jersey East Side High School culinary arts and hospitality. Listen to this cut 30. I didn't know how to react. I just ran. I was like, oh, my God. But on Monday, these students had a chance encounter with Sylvester Stallone. My first reaction was like, that cannot be him.

And it didn't happen in Patterson, New Jersey, where these students attend East Side High School. But in Philadelphia, near the steps of the art museum made famous in Rocky. And when he spoke, that's when I immediately knew I was like, OK, yeah, it's definitely him.

He was like, put your hands up, put your hands up, put your arms up, your fists up. And for a few moments, the star posed with the students in front of the Rocky statue. Oh, it's great to be home here. So that's cool. You knew about that, right? Yeah, I mean, we we tracked that and it was just so interesting to find these moments around history. We have a statue to someone in one way who's living.

It uses Sylvester Stallone's life mask, but it's it's now a statue in the city. So you have these moments where people really interact and find meaning. It's a pilgrimage place. And we wanted to understand not just what happens there, but the story of the places that it touches as well. You know, what's so interesting, Paul, is that. The Rocky movie Getting Done is a Rocky story.

That's right. Because he was not successful. He was on his last hour. He's marketing the movie. He gets interest.

They say, well, take it. We just don't want you to be Rocky. When you go back and read Stallone's writing, he's a prolific writer and visual artist. He described himself before that film as a movable statue.

That was his way of saying that he didn't have a purpose, that he was just going through life. And I think that the Rocky story really inspired him. It's fascinating to see there's nods to real life boxers, people like Rocky Marciano, Chuck Wepner, Joe Frazier and Stallone's own life.

And again, this is where this is a fascinating story because there's all these layers of life and art blurring. So it reminds me of I've never talked to him about this. He was just in a couple of months ago for Tulsa King. And when he rolled out the latest Rocky, the one that HBO covered when he fought Antonio Tarver. Was that considered Rocky six? Rocky Balboa. Rocky Balboa. Unofficially Rocky six. So I never asked him about this, but it seems like Floyd Patterson, managed by Cus D'Amato, did not want to give Liston a shot.

Why? Because Liston was a killer, would knock out Patterson. He outweighed him by about 30 pounds. And nobody wanted to see Liston become heavyweight champion with his criminal record and his ties to organized crime. And Patterson, no, I'll fight anybody. And he got crushed twice.

And Cus D'Amato said no. It reminded me of Mick saying, no, you're not going to fight him. And that great moment when he said, well, of course I'll fight him.

Let's just fight one more fight. And he goes, no, I bought five guys. He goes, they were hand picked.

And he goes, what do you mean? They were good fighters, but they weren't killers. You lost your edge when you became when you became champion.

Look at all this around you. And so much of that, when you look at losing your edge, that's a little like Tyson. When Tyson was ferocious, it was unbeatable.

But when he got rich and got distracted, they realized he wasn't the same fighter. Yeah. I mean, again, stories of art and life blurring. I think about the Creed series. There's a new spin off Creed three coming. It's the first film that Stallone didn't write and officially participate in.

But of course, he's present. I'm curious how they'll play that out in Creed one. Well, he got the award for best supporting actor for Creed one.

Right. And I think in that moment, he steps back as to become a mentor in that film. One of the first moments when the character played by Michael B. Jordan comes to Philadelphia, they go to the Rocky statue on film.

It's art and life blurring. I think appreciating something that that I found very inspiring about that story was both how Rocky as a character evolved, but also to see how the series made room for new narratives. And so I'm curious, do you like you think it's sticking with the right narrative? Do you buy the Creed series? Absolutely.

Absolutely. I'm excited to see I see firsthand with this podcast, the statue, how profound and widespread the Rocky phenomenon is. And the films are not even the only place where people kind of push the edges. There's like there is not just one Rocky statue. There's many of them. There's Rocky artworks. There's Rocky. There's a Rocky musical that we feature. So I'm excited for new narratives. And I think what what Rocky stepped into was a boxing history that already existed. So I like the expansion and I'm curious to see maybe there'll be some reconciliation in the future. But I like that there's more stories to come. What could you tell us about the problem with the producers right now?

The new the new generation that took over for the producers that had the rights. Him and Rocky and Sylvester Stallone are at odds. Yeah. You know, it's tough. This is a story.

Owen Winkler. Yeah. When you gesture to that, when Stallone was writing the character, he really identified because he was down and out. He was struggling. And he one of the things he fought for. Those were his real turtles and his real dog, wasn't it?

That's correct. Who he almost tried to carry up the steps. The fact that he didn't is one of the reasons we know that so well. But one of the things he fought for at that time was to be in the starring role. They wanted to take that away from him. But early on in his career and I think it's a great model that he fought for authorship.

But he wasn't. It's a business as well. And so I think part of what the struggle is right now is that he he has many other ideas for Rocky, for Rocky prequels, for Rocky sequels. But he wants to have a piece of it, which is understandable. I thought he did. How did he sell the rights? I did not know that. That confused me. This is something that all artists really go through is the struggle to how to get your story told. So, you know, that there is.

But there's he's synonymous with Rocky. And I think that will continue as well. So, Paul, can you say got a couple of minutes after the break? Yeah, I know podcast.

You're not used to taking a break. I apologize. We're doing old fashioned radio. Paul Farber sticks around Monument Lab. He's the host of the statue.

You got to download it and check it out. But Paul, a few more minutes. We come back educating, entertaining, enlightening. You're with Brian Kilmeade. From the Fox News podcast network, I'm Ben Domenech, Fox News contributor and editor of the transom dot com daily newsletter. And I'm inviting you to join a conversation every week. It's the Ben Domenech podcast. Subscribe and listen now by going to Fox News podcast dot com. The more you listen, the more you'll know.

It's Brian Kilmeade. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place. And I don't care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.

How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how it is done. And that is from from Rocky Balboa, which is technically Rocky six. Paul Farber, right. Director of Monument Lab and host of the statue, which you can.

It's a great podcast series, which you can get everywhere you go. The significance of that speech. He sounds a little sophisticated. It's a little more Stallone in that. I'm gonna tell you this.

There's something really powerful. Sylvester Stallone is a really well well researched, well thought through artist. In episode two, we take a look at like the fact that he is a painter over decades. He gives studio tours. He gives impromptu art history lessons on his Instagram. He's sophisticated in it.

And I think one of the most interesting kind of moves in the whole series. This is a great scene in Rocky five at the end. The statue has been put back up. He's there with his son. And the figure, Rocky, says, what's this building back there for an art museum? What's the art there?

When you know, when you look at Stallone, he purposely said, I want to go to the steps. I want to I want to see this museum from an open it up and make it available. And there's something very inspiring about that.

Last minute, 45 seconds. Tell me about the making of the statue itself. You spent time with the sculptor, a Thomas Schomburg, who has a background in making bronze sculpture.

They made a real one for this. And the statue is utilizes Stallone's face as a life mask. And then it was hand shaped and hand into a mold. I talked to the sculptor. He said, look, I know that Stallone is the model for this, but this is not a statue of a celebrity.

This is of the character Rocky. That's very inspiring because there's a difference. Yeah. And the people ask a lot of questions about that. I just think it's great to ask questions about our statues and learn more. Absolutely.

And learn more by downloading. This is I feel like you help me when people say, why do you care so much about the Rocky shows? Your series helps me explain.

I'm going to tell everyone, go to the statue. All right. Oh, thank you. Thank you, sir.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-22 08:35:42 / 2023-01-22 08:44:02 / 8

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