Recently SZoner, Mike Kunda co-hosted a celebration of the 35th Anniversary of Rocky in Philly. Here’s his report and and photos!
This past weekend, I co-sponsored the 35th anniversary celebration of Rocky in Philadelphia. We had an amazing weekend, complete with the first ever – ROCKY bus tour. We promoted this event for six months, and in the end, forty five of this planets most hardcore ROCKY fans proved their weight in gold. They arrived from the United Kingdom, California, Kentucky, Florida, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and of course, Pennsylvania.
The event started in South Philly, at the Skyview Plaza, where the staff was sincere and blown away at all the ROCKY fans. The giant yellow school bus headed for our first destination, 12th and Cantrel street; the “screw you creppo” corner from ROCKY. Imagine forty five people piling out of a school bus as locals looked on in wonder, as a 1976 Rocky Balboa led the charge, repeating the lines from the movies with the group. (And they knew their Rocky trivia)
If smiles, laughter and friendship were the keystone to money, we were millionaires. We had an Adrian trivia contest on the bus for the ladies only, with awesome, but humble prizes.
Next, the church where Rocky and Adrian got Married. (the exterior, the interior was shot inside a second church down the road.) Guiding the tour around back to the famous “Yo, Father Carmine window” the group gave their best lines from Rocky 2. As we took pictures, a familiar face joined the group – Rocky’s lawyer from Rocky 5, Mr. Jimmy Binns, also known for his dual role in Rocky Balboa as the council member who discourages Rocky by asking him, “What rights do you think you have?”.
The next stop on the tour, The Italian Market, where Rocky was thrown an impromptu orange. Also, I’d like to thank Debbie and Frank. They were the bus drivers that kept us safe on those narrow Philly side streets. They also happen to be close friends with Frank Stallone. Frank was also standing on the corner with Frank Stallone as Rocky came by for a swig of wine. Fantastic back stories to be sure.
Heading over to The Museum of Art, or as the world refers to them as the Rocky Steps, The tour stopped by the Rocky Statue for a group picture as we were welcomed by a very graceful Cynthia Schomberg, the wife of Thomas Schomberg, the creator of The Rocky Statue. We interviewed her at length for our documentary and she was thrilled to join us later that night for dinner at The Victors Cafe, home of Adrian’s in Rocky Balboa.
As the documentary crew set up shop at the Victors, Jimmy Binns joined us for dinner, but not before explaining his role in the Rocky series and discussing his beloved charity; putting children of fallen police and firefighters through college. The host of the Victors, Greg and Alexa DiStefano were thrilled to have us. Though they were busy, they did take time to talk to the many fans at dinner. The oprea themed resturant is like no other as the waiters and waitress break out into classic opera singing that melts the heart. Here, amoungst the fans that traveled to be on the tour new and everlasting friendships with others were forged, like Rambo’s knife, sharing laughs and Rocky related stories. I stood back in my maroon-Rocky Balboa sports coat and just watched. Amazed.
After dinner, several parties were continuing in the hotel rooms as others went out to see the Philly nightlife
9:00 A.M. came early with the second part of the Rocky Bus tour as we headed to Kensington: the Graceland of Rocky sites.
First up – Gurney street, or as Rocky fans call it. the “Gazzo Street”. The brick cobblestone road is still there, though much has changed. We all recited “I should’a broke your thumbs” a thousand times. we then headed over to 1818 Tusculmn street; Rocky first apartment, the “Take You Back” corner where Frank Stallone sang, then down to the gym and pet shop. We interviewed several locals as they recalled filming and Stallone.
As time grew short, we headed back to the stairs for our Rocky look-alike contest that took place along side the Rocky Statue with another visit from Jimmy Binns. Then, the crowd was treated to Miss Angie Boyd, who played bar trash/Angie in Balboa, as she and I brought to life the scene where she yells at Rocky, “YOU AIN’T NO BETTER THAN ME! YOU’RE THE FOOL!” The contest judges- Robin Schomberg, myself and Joy Cooper asked the contestents triva questions such as – In Rocky 3, what did Apollo help Rocky get back? Name an opponent Rocky faced. Where did Paulie work and how much did Rocky get paid for fighting Spider Rico?
Ending the event was a “Going the Distance Run” up the steps for an amazing prize donated by the Schombergs – a 20 inch signed Rocky statue!
All in all, an amazing weekend.
Zoners! Unite, next year it’s gonna be bigger and better!
Best, Mike “Adnuk” Kunda
Thanks to Mike for the co-hosting the event, plus the report and photos! – Craig