Monumental Mysteries: Real Rocky Photos

Don Wildman examines the stories behind an iconic public display of affection and the athlete who inspired a classic film.
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Photo By: Eric Lowenbach

The Unconditional Surrender statue commemorates perhaps the most famous public display of affection in history -- the unforgettable moment in 1945, captured in an iconic photograph, when a US Navy sailor kissed a nurse in Times Square to mark the end of World War II in the Pacific.

The statue is located next to the retired USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum in San Diego, CA.

At the base of the staircase leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a statue of the fictional movie icon – Rocky Balboa – to commemorate the film Rocky III. The writer, director and star of the movie, Sylvester Stallone, is said to have been inspired by the career of a real life boxer from New Jersey. So who was the real Rocky?

Outside of Los Angeles is a pristine expanse of mountains, lakes and woodlands known as the Angeles National Forest. This beautiful natural monument is said to be home to a terrifying mythical beast known as the “Devil’s Lake Thunderbird.” Despite attempts by locals to capture and kill the creature, the legend of the Thunderbird continues to haunt the region to this day.

In Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, 2 tombstones mark the graves of Dr. Harvey Burdell and his wife Emma Cunningham. Shortly after Dr. Burdell’s brutal murder in 1857, police arrest his widow, Emma, and charge her with his murder. But could this seemingly devoted wife have murdered her husband?

In the coastal town of Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island stands a public clock forever frozen in time, marking the moment at 1:04 a.m. on May 22, 1960, when a massive tsunami hit the island, destroying everything in its path.

Sadly, the story of this disaster reveals a tragedy that could have been avoided.

At the base of the iconic St. Louis Gateway Arch stands “The Captains’ Return” statue, dedicated to the historic voyage of discovery lead by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. But few people realize that their voyage owes part of its success to a rather unknown woman. She is said to have saved their lives in a Nez Perce encampment in September 1905, but who was this mysterious woman?