As promised in my story about pop culture seeping into real life, here are a few more examples.
Honoring a fictional hero
If you know only one thing about the “Rocky” movie franchise, that one things is likely Rocky running up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the tune of “Gonna Fly Now.” Well, Philly was so enamored with the image that a real-life statue of Rocky posing with his hands raised in victory was erected in the city.
The statue was originally put atop the stairs to be featured in a scene from “Rocky III.” It was moved around in the city for several years, calling the front of the Spectrum sports arena home for a while. Since 2006, the statue has been at home in a grassy area adjacent to the museum, drawing numerous tourists wanting a photo (the steps are also a big draw in Brotherly Love Town).
Fake beings are also honored with statues in Minnesota, California, Michigan, New York and Wisconsin, where several statues have been built of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.
Touring your favorite movie scene
Philly isn’t the only real-life place that’s drawn visitors for what happened there in the realm of fiction.
The Dyersville, Iowa, corn fields featured in “Field of Dreams” have brought tourists in, as have the New Zealand landscapes that housed “The Lord of the Rings,” the Wyoming mountains upon which “Brokeback Mountain” was filmed, Forks, Wash. (home of the “Twilight” series) and Tom’s Restaurant in New York, aka Monk’s from “Seinfeld.”
Meanwhile, quite by accident, Vulcan, Alberta, became a draw after the “Star Trek” series created alien race by that name. And, of course, major film studios in Hollywood, Florida and New York bring in tourists wanting to see the fictional settings for their fictional favorites.