The Pet Shop in “Rocky” Just Got Demolished

rocky pet shop

In Philly, we tend to destroy the buildings we treasure – such was the case with the historic Boyd Theater in Center City and such will likely be the case with Jewelers Row (assuming Toll goes ahead with the project).

And now, a lesser-known but just as lovable site has seen its last day: the Kensington storefront that doubled as Adrian’s pet shop in “Rocky” has been demolished. It’s a sad day for Rocky fans, who were apparently dumpster diving in their desperation to hold on to a piece of the movie setting forever.

Rocky tour guide Ben Caplan realized the store was being demolished mid-tour yesterday.

“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,” Caplan told Philly.com.

You’ll remember the pet shop as the place where Rocky met his wife, Adrian, and bought his dog, Butkus. It’s been vacant for some time, but for many years, the store was a real Kensington pet shop called J&M Tropical Fish, owned and named after Joe Marks and his father, Morris Marks, who opened the shop in 1963.

Marks still owns the two turtles that Rocky bought in the movie – Cuff and Link – but he closed the shop in 2003, a few years after his father died, and sold the building in 2011.

“I think it’s sad to see it go and sad that it was in the state it was in,” Marks, 71, said. “I think sometimes the best aspirations in life don’t come true sometimes. I had visions and thoughts of a Rocky museum type of idea for this to work, but that’s just things in my mind. I have a lot of memories of it.”

Philadelphia magazine’s Victor Fiorillo first talked to Marks last year for the magazine’s oral history of the Rocky movies. Marks spoke about how the film crew first reached out to him in 1975, and how he got to “meet Hollywood,” as he said, including Sylvester Stallone, Carl Weathers, Burt Young, Tommy Morrison and more.

“The first time they filmed, I didn’t know Sylvester Stallone from the man on the moon,” Marks said by phone today. “He was young, and kind of stoic, to a point. We didn’t talk much. The next time they came to look at the store [to film the second movie] it wasn’t in a regular car –they came in a limousine.”

Marks, who’s lived in Kensington for the majority of his life, said he wished the site would’ve been preserved.

“I feel that the effect the movie had on Philadelphia … I think that maybe there should’ve been more city interest in actually helping preserve sites,” Marks said. “I’m not talking about street-corner sites, but I know that the movie is an inspiration to a lot of generations that have come into being.

“It showed that anything is possible in America,” he added. “It was a great storyline, a fantastic storyline. It put Philadelphia on the map. Even though we’re not in the greatest part of the city, they could’ve looked at that to a point.”

Kensington is home to several other film locations, like the Lucky 7 Tavern and Mighty Micks Gym (which Marks’s uncle owned at the time of filming). All three locations are detailed in the filming location guide on TotalRocky.com (though the pet shop info has yet to be updated).

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Here Are the New SEPTA Regional Rail Schedules

septa-regional-rail-940x540

SEPTA Regional Rail lines have adjusted to new schedules.

Most lines have altered weekday and Saturday and Sunday train times – meaning trains will likely leave a few minutes earlier or later than you’re used to. It’s part of the final implementation phase of Positive Train Control, a safety system meant to prevent tragedies like the 2015 Amtrak crash.

In particular, the Chestnut Hill East, Media/Elwyn, Lansdale/Doylestown, Paoli/Thorndale and West Trenton lines are seeing significant changes in the Saturday and Sunday schedules.  Read more »

Mary J. Blige Will Headline Philly’s 4th of July

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

After a few years of 4th of July concerts and fireworks that ranged from unforgivable (hello, Nicki Minaj) to just plain chaotic (hello, last year), Philly is ready to give it a go again, this time with R&B superstar Mary J. Blige at the helm. Read more »

Swooning Crowd Gets “Promposals” Banned at Bucks High School

Pennsbury – a Bucks County high school known for its elaborate proms – has reportedly banned “promposals.”

As the name cleverly implies, “promposals” are what you might call the displays that students tend to enact when asking other students to prom (presenting baked goods, making colorful signs, bringing a boombox to the student’s window at night, recreating a movie scene, etc.)  Read more »

This Philly Woman Is Making Documentary About India’s “Marriage Cops”

A woman and her husband talk to the marriage cops.

A woman and her husband talk to the marriage cops.

When you and your spouse have a big problem that you can’t resolve, you might go to a marriage counselor or just get divorced. But that’s not so simple in a place like India. So one town came up with a novel idea: Marriage cops. South Philadelphia filmmaker Cheryl Hess stumbled upon these female police officers who resolve marital problems, and now she’s making a documentary about it. Her team currently has a Kickstarter campaign going to finish the editing, and we called Hess and asked her to tell us all about it. Read more »

Thousands Expected to “March for Science” on Saturday

Courtesy March For Science PHL

Courtesy March For Science Philadelphia

Between 5,000 and 15,000 people are expected to “March for Science” in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The Earth Day march – which is connected to a larger demonstration planned for Washington, D.C.  – will begin at 10 a.m. at City Hall and end at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, where a rally (including a band and speakers) will run between noon and 2 p.m.  Read more »

Alex Capasso to Plead Guilty in Child Pornography Case

Philly chef Alex Capasso in the kitchen prior to his arrest on child pornography and exploitation charges.

Philly chef Alex Capasso in the kitchen prior to his arrest on child pornography and exploitation charges.

Nearly two years after he was arrested by the FBI on child pornography and exploitation charges, former Philadelphia chef Alex Capasso is expected to take a plea deal. Read more »

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