Sylvester Stallone and Talia Shire in a scene at the "pet shop" in "Rocky."
Tommy Rowan / The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia storefront recognizable to fans of the “Rocky” movie franchise as Adrian's fictional pet store was unceremoniously demolished Thursday, according to a city tour guide.
Ben Caplan, who routinely leads tourists to the movie's filming locations throughout the city, said that when he took sightseers to 2146 N. Front St. in the Kensington section of the city, he found construction workers dismantling the three-story building.
"I was getting ready to tell these people, 'Well, hey, across the street is the --,' and then I looked over and saw a big bulldozer," said Caplan, who has been giving Rocky tours for just over a year.
Four of the seven Rocky movies — including “Rocky,” “Rocky II,” “Rocky V,” and “Rocky Balboa” — shot scenes in the building's first-floor commercial space. In the film, the store was home to the pet shop where Adrian worked and where the title character bought two turtles, Cuff and Link, as well as a 140-pound bull mastiff, Butkus.
According to city property records, the building was owned by Joseph Marks from 1981 until 2011, when he signed the deed over to an Anthony R. Lighty for $1. Neither Marks nor Lighty could be reached to comment.
The storefront, which at one point was occupied by J&M Tropical Fish, was one of several filming locations in the Kensington area, which included the setting for Rocky's apartment, gym, and favorite bar. The building has been empty the last few years.
Screen grab of the storefront, center, as it stood before demolition. (Google Maps)
Before leaving North Front Street, Caplan said he and a couple of tourists grabbed some souvenirs.
"They were scooping bricks into a dumpster," Caplan said. "So me and the two people who were on the tour went over and asked if we could take some bricks. So we'll always have those keepsakes."
But despite the store's demise, there are still plenty of Rocky-themed sights to take in around Philadelphia. Here are some options:
▪ The Philadelphia Museum of Art: This is the classic, must-see “Rocky” location. Rocky's run up the steps in front of the Art Museum is perhaps the franchise's most famous scene. The steps are blocked off right now due to the stage being constructed for next week's NFL draft, but you can still get an up-close view of the Rocky statue at the base of the museum steps.
▪ Rocky 50K route: This is one way to cover many of the fighter's training sites. The route was inspired by a Philadelphia Magazine article mapping out just how far Rocky would have run if he did the route in the Rocky II training montage. It's about 31 miles, or 50 kilometers, and the ultra-run has become an annual event for Philadelphia runners. The route starts at Wolf and Lambert Streets in South Philadelphia, near Rocky's house in the second movie.
▪ Visit Philadelphia's "quintessential Rocky tour": The tourism agency maps out numerous sites that Rocky aficionados should make sure to see. Visit Philly's suggestions for a self-guided tour of Rocky landmarks include the Italian Market, Esposito Meats, Pat's King of Steaks, Isgro Pastries, Victor Cafe, Green Eggs Cafe, and Independence Hall.
▪ Creed locations: Creed, the newest Rocky film, added a whole new set of landmarks for themed tours. Curbed Philadelphia maps out sites geared toward the most recent movie, including Laurel Hill Cemetery, Max's Steaks, Front Street Gym, Johnny Brenda's, and the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk.
Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer Jonathan Tamari contributed to this article.
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