Sun, Sep 10, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Rocky statue comes home to Philadelphia museum

AP , PHILADELPHIA

Flattened by critics and art aficionados, Rocky has rallied again to complete a long road back to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Only this time, Rocky Balboa landed triumphantly at the bottom of the museum's steps.

After nearly a quarter-century of squabbling and storage, the Rocky Balboa statue returned on Friday to the base of the museum, not far from the steps where the fictitious hard-luck fighter made movie history.

"Yo, Philly! How you doin'?" actor Sylvester Stallone said to a raucous crowd.

Thousands of fans erupted in chants of "Rocky! Rocky!" when Stallone took the stage for the statue's dedication.

It hardly seemed like 30 years since Stallone and Rocky debuted.

Stallone commissioned the statue for a scene in 1982's Rocky III and donated it to the city afterward. The statue was first placed at the top of the museum steps, but was quickly moved to the city's sports stadium complex in South Philadelphia after art devotees panned the statue as a movie prop not suited for the renowned institution.

But the city Art Commission voted 6-2 on Wednesday to move the statue out of storage and put it on a street-level pedestal near the museum steps.

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