Rocky’s Improbable Run: Nostalgic Look At a Bygone Era or Sad Commentary On Where We Are Now?
My brother brought to my attention – via a link shared on Facebook – to a blog posted by Dan McQuaid today on phillymag.com that documented the probable path that The Italian Stallion ran during the training montage of Rocky II. You know the one, where he ends up at the top of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, children surrounding him with fists in the air jumping for joy. Finding it an amusing piece of Philadelphia history, and being a sucker for nerdy stuff like that, I of course shared the piece on my page. The full blog can be found here.
Let’s for a moment, forget about the fact that 30+ miles is a ridiculous amount of running for Stallone to do all in one go. What caught my attention, and became a subject of conversation on my personal Facebook timeline were the kids. Placing this portion of the film in today’s context, there is not a single person that I know that would allow their child to just take off running after a strange man through the streets of Philadelphia, let alone on such a varied an winding path up busy city thoroughfares. But can you say the same of 1976?
I was a bit too young to be running around anywhere back then, and Rocky didn’t bring his pied piper routine up to Bensalem where we lived at the time. However, I do have vivid memories of just…”going out to play.” My friends and I would gather in our shared backyards and disperse from there, either down to the park or to someone else’s home. So long as we were home at a reasonable time, it didn’t really seem to matter. Frankly, how far could we really have gone? We were only limited by how far our bikes could take us, and we weren’t really interested in venturing too far from home base. I don’t want to imply that our parents didn’t care, things were just different then. As long as we were getting fresh air, life was good.
It kind of makes me a bit sad for where we have since ended up in the 27 years since. Kids don’t enjoy the freedom we may have had back then, because times have changed. The environment of safety has been altered. The threat of terrorism on domestic soil has made the Independence Hall portion of that run impossible. Access to the building is limited daily, and many areas are no longer accessible to the general public, both inside the building and the surrounding mall. A shame, because that spot was and always will be one of my favorite in the world. When asked if his parents would have allowed him to go running after Rocky from Kensington to the Italian Market up to the Art Musuem, his response was simple: “No effin’ way.”
Mine might have just been happy I got the exercise.
Posted on September 18, 2013, in Assorted Musings & Observations and tagged Dan McQuaid, Italian Market Philadelphia, Kensington, Montage (filmmaking), Philadelphia, Philadelphia Art Museum, Philadelphia Magazine, Rocky, Sylvester Stallone. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.