Bette Midler as Adrian??
In a 1980 interview, superstar Bette Midler revealed that she’d been considered for the role of Adrian.
She explained: “One supporting role I should have taken, if my then-manager hadn’t turned it down, was the Talia Shire role in Rocky. I’d still like to work with Sylvester Stallone. There’s something about those beefy Italians that turns me on. But when he sent over the Rocky screenplay, my manager told me it was a nice role, a nice movie, but not for me. When I saw Rocky, I was really sad that I’d lost the chance to play that girl.”
Stand in Rocky’s footsteps
At the top of the “Rocky Steps” of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you can find the bronzed soles of Sylvester Stallone’s Converse sneakers set in the cement, along with an imprint reading “ROCKY”.
Sly himself has stood in this imprint on numerous visits to Philly.
Saturday Night Fever
On the set of John Travolta’s bedroom in Saturday Night Fever (1977) hangs an original one-sheet Rocky poster – displayed next to his famous gettin’ ready mirror.
The pet shop is real
The pet shop where Adrian works was a real store in Philly. The scenes shot there were among the few interiors actually filmed in Philadelphia – the rest were shot in Los Angeles.
Joseph Marks, J & M’s former co-owner recalls: “Used to be these Rocky tours and limos would stop in front. People still come here, from France, the Netherlands, California, Utah, they still want to see the pet shop where Rocky was filmed.”
See Rocky’s boxing gloves in Hollywood
If you’re in the Hollywood area, be sure to check out the Hollywood History Museum located on legendary Hollywood Blvd. This amazing art-deco building was once the studio of make-up icon Max Factor and has now been beautifully restored to its original glory. Upstairs in its little-known but incredible movie museum is a display dedicated to Rocky.
The area includes an original one-sheet US release poster for the film, a continuously running video of Rocky, two 8×10 stills signed by Sylvester Stallone – and best of all, the actual boxing gloves used by Stallone in the original Rocky.
Fans will remember these as the battered black gloves seen in use at Mickey’s Gym during Rocky’s training. Sly has signed and donated these to the museum.
Keep it steady
Ever wonder how the camera crew shot around the fight sequences and Rocky’s training in Philly? It’s called the Steadicam. We’re all familiar with it today, but this incredible invention got its start with Rocky.
Adrian’s Maiden Name?
Although she was credited simply as “Adrian” in every Rocky film, Talia Shire’s character did indeed have a surname before she became Mrs. Balboa.
Her full name? Adrianna Pennino. Her maiden name was mentioned for the first and only time in Rocky II. The name has a special significance to Miss Shire – Pennino is Talia’s mother’s maiden name.
In July, 1998, during a Democratic fund-raiser held on Sylvester Stallone’s Miami estate, Sly presented President Bill Clinton with a pair of the boxing gloves used in Rocky.
Clinton gratefully accepted the gloves and added a pugilistic flourish: “I think I have established that I can take a punch; now the time is come for me to deliver a few.”
Chip off the block
Did you know that Talia Shire’s youngest son, handsome twenty-something actor Robert Schwartzman, is a dead ringer for his mother in her Rocky days?
You might recognize Robert as the leading man in Anne Hathaway’s, “The Princess Diaries”.
Rocky 7: Adrian’s Revenge
In a 1995 episode of The Simpsons, Bart Simpson, trapped in a room with seven exits all marked in roman numerals, uses his only knowledge of the subject to do some quick addition.
“Where have I seen roman numerals before? Rocky V! That was the fifth one! So, Rocky V plus Rocky II equals Rocky VII: Adrian’s Revenge!”
Mrs. Apollo Creed
Coincidence or design? Carl Weathers’ former wife and Apollo Creed’s wife both share the same name – Mary Ann.
Paulie and Adrian: A Couple?
Years ago, Burt Young admitted, he dated Talia Shire, “for a blink of an eye . . . I adored her,” he said, adding that for the sake of his career she wanted him to distance himself from the neighborhood toughs he grew up with.
“I told her I want to stay like I am. I might walk slower. I like my width. Rather than flying high, I’m wide. I still have ambition, but I’m slow. I’ll never be Tom Cruise. Many people have bypassed me. I’m like a fire hydrant. Maybe even a dog has come by and bothered me.”
Winner’s Share Don’t Add Up
In the original “Rocky”, Rocky’s winner share in his match against Spider Rico is incorrect.
Rocky’s share vs. Spider’s should have been $40.45, not $40.55. Rocky is paid $65, less $15 for use locker and corner man, $5 for use of shower and towel, and 7% tax. In the end, he gets a total of $40.55. Do the math: $65 x .07 tax= $4.55 + $15 + $5= $24.55. Thus, $65.00 – $24.55= $40.45.
(Thanks to Mike Smith for this calculation.)
Art Imitates Life
World renowned artist LeRoy Neiman not only painted the portrait of Sylvester Stallone featured in Rocky III (and “Rocky vs Apollo” at the end of Rocky III) but also had an on-screen role in three of the films.
Chaplin’s final flick
Producer Jerry Epstein, who worked with Charlie Chaplin extensively in his later years, had a chance meeting with young Sylvester Stallone in Hollywood in 1976, immediately after the completion of Rocky. Stallone asked Epstein if he could arrange a meeting with Chaplin, saying he’d be willing to fly overseas to Charlie’s Swiss home in an instant. In the meantime, Sly rushed a 16mm print of Rocky to the Chaplins.
The meeting was postponed, due to Charlie’s rapidly deteriorating health, and a still excited Stallone wrote to Epstein reminding him how much he would love ‘an audience with the great maestro himself’.
Unfortunately, the meeting never did take place. Epstein recalls that “the print of Rocky arrived. Charlie, Oona [Chaplin’s wife] and the children saw it . . . Charlie loved the film. He had always been a fight fan. As he watched he kept murmuring, ‘Excellent . . . excellent.’ Since Sylvester was such a fan of Charlie’s, I only wish he could have been there to witness his reaction.”
Rocky was to be the last film that the Little Tramp ever saw. He died only months later. “When I first saw Rocky,” Epstein said, “I felt, along with some critics, that Sylvester captured a Chaplin quality. Today (Rambo notwithstanding), the thing I like most about Sylvester was not only his enthusiasm, but his genuine admiration for Charlie.”
“When my kids went to see Rocky, they had a new respect for me,” actress Talia Shire says.
“Maybe they’ll listen to me when I say, ‘Make your bed!'”
Sly Collects Rocky, Too
Throughout the years, Sylvester Stallone’s home has been ornamented with a huge assortment of Rocky memorabilia, including some of his own paintings.
Also on prominent display is a photo, taken the day Baghdad fell, of a young Iraqi hoisting a U.S. flag with Rocky emblazoned on it.
The image pleases Sly: “You know the movie wasn’t playing in Iraq. Why would someone smuggle into the country a character that represents the American Dream? Did he have it under his bed thinking, I can’t wait to be liberated! It’s the first thing I’m pulling out!?