Mount Rushmore in popular culture

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Mount Rushmore as depicted on the South Dakota state quarter.

Because of its fame as a monument, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota has appeared frequently in works of fiction, and has been discussed or depicted in other popular works.

As a cover for a secret location[edit]

Several films and other media depict Mount Rushmore as a secret base of operations for the government or another clandestine group, or as having some comparable significance other than as a monument. In the early 1980s television series, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, a flashback sequence in the episode, "Testimony of a Traitor", shows Rogers meeting with the President of the United States in a secret base inside Mount Rushmore. In Team America: World Police, it is the secret base of operations for the protagonists. In the film, the base, along with the sculptures on the surface, are severely damaged in a suicide bombing by Michael Moore.

In the universe of the Ben 10 franchise, Mount Rushmore is the location of the main Plumbers (a sort of intergalactic police force) complex, and plays a key role in multiple episodes of the series, including "Secrets," "Truth", the "Ben 10,000" episodes, and "Ben 10 vs. The Negative 10." The monument is inadvertently destroyed by Upchuck in the latter episode, during the final battle with the Forever King. Another group shown as having a secret base inside the mountain is the "All Purpose Enforcement Squad" of Young Justice, in the DC Universe series. The comic book superhero, Mister Majestic from Wildstorm Productions, also had a secret base of operations inside Mount Rushmore, analogous to Superman's "Fortress of Solitude". In Ultraman: The Adventure Begins, a 1981 animated movie jointly produced by Hanna-Barbera and Tsuburaya Productions, the heroic Ultra Force is headquartered within Mount Rushmore.

Mount Rushmore was a primary location of interest in the plot of the 2007 film National Treasure: Book of Secrets starring Nicolas Cage.[1] In the film, Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage) discovers in the titular Book Of Secrets that the location of the monument was chosen to erase landmarks in a map that leads to the golden city of Cíbola, hidden deep underground behind the mountain. In the film, the golden city appears to be beneath a lake to the north of the monument - this would likely be Horse Thief Lake, about 1.5 miles to the northwest of the monument, but the lake actually used in the film is the nearby Sylvan Lake, five miles southwest of the monument.

Alterations and additions to the faces[edit]

Mount Rushmore with a fifth President in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Mountain overlooking the fictional town of Konohagakure, from Naruto. For a broader view, see this image.

The large carved faces of the monument have made it a target for parodies and other symbolic alterations of its appearance in media:

Replacement or destruction of the existing faces[edit]

Alterations in media have frequently included replacement of one or more of the four presidents' faces with other people or characters, or the addition of another face. In the 1980 film Superman II, General Zod and his criminal partners (the three escaped villains from the Phantom Zone) use their superpowers to replace the faces of Washington, Jefferson and Roosevelt with their own, while destroying Lincoln's. The October 1981 issue of MAD Magazine parodies the film and depicts this scene, except that in addition to putting their own faces on the monument, the villains have replaced Lincoln with Richard Nixon.

In Buried on Sunday, a nuclear missile is accidentally launched and it breaks the nose of George Washington off before landing next to a group of bikers in Sturgis, who decide to trade it for speed.

Similarly, in Mars Attacks!, the Martians in a UFO carve their faces into Mount Rushmore, replacing the Presidents' heads. The cover of the Chipmunks' album, Chipmunk Rock, depicts Roosevelt replaced by Alvin the Chipmunk. Similarly, the Nintendo 64 video game Pilotwings 64 (which features a level based on United States geography and landmarks) shows the monument in the approximate location of South Dakota, but replaces Washington's head with that of Nintendo's mascot Mario.[3] The player can change Mario into his rival, Wario by crashing into his face or by shooting him from the Gyrocopter.

In a viral video teaser for the Watchmen film, "The Keene Act and You", a brief scene depicts Richard Nixon in place of Abraham Lincoln.[4]

In the movie 10.5 Apocalypse, an earthquake hits the site, destroying the faces of the presidents, which eventually fell.

In the film Category 7: The End of the World, global warming causes the moisture inside the mountain to expand, which causes the head of George Washington to break off.

In an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Ned Bigby and his friend, Jennifer "Moze" Moseley, collaborate on a project involving Mount Rushmore with Ned in place of Thomas Jefferson.

In Robert Ferrigno's Assassin trilogy, fundamentalist Islamic clerics dynamite Mount Rushmore in a failed attempt to destroy it.

In the Roger Rabbit short Trail Mix-Up, Roger and some other characters are sent flying by an erupting geyser, and crash into Mount Rushmore, destroying it (The faces comically screaming before the crash).

In Poul Anderson's dystopian novelette "The Pugilist", the United States is defeated and conquered by the Soviet Union. The puppet American government installed by the Soviets orders what is left of the US Army to turn its artillery at the Heads on Mount Rushmore and destroy them.

In the beginning of the "Boom Boom" trailer for Wolfenstein: The New Order, Mount Rushmore is seen being destroyed by Nazi soldiers after their victory in World War II, with a general observing the destruction of the landmark. [5]

Addition of a fifth face[edit]

In the final scene of the film Head of State, fictional president Mays Gilliam's face has been added into Mount Rushmore next to Abraham Lincoln. In a scene cut from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, a fifth face carved into the mountain is that of an unknown African-American woman. The cover of the February 1957 issue of MAD Magazine Issue #31, also depicts Mount Rushmore with a fifth face: that of Alfred E. Neuman. In the final scene of the Michael Weller play "Beast" at New York Theatre Workshop, the disfigured and burned face of George W. Bush appears beside the original four. Depictions of a fifth face usually place it to the left of George Washington or to the right of Abraham Lincoln, at about the same height as other presidents. In the Mad Magazine case, the fifth face is closer to the base of the mountain, and is below Thomas Jefferson. In an episode of Phineas and Ferb, Phineas and Ferb carve a face of their sister, Candace, but it was quickly destroyed by flowing magma. In the Judge Dredd comic The Cursed Earth two faces are added: President Jimmy Carter to the left of Washington and the leader of a group of mutants to the right of Lincoln. In the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!, Schroeder suggests that Beethoven's face be added to Mount Rushmore.

Since his election as the first black President, Barack Obama has been added as a fifth head to Mount Rushmore on internet depictions of the mountain. On July 8, 2009, climate change activists unfurled a banner with the purpose of portraying a fifth face on Mount Rushmore of Obama as a President who could make Presidential changes in leading effective climate legislation as opposed to being a politician.[6][7][8]

Imitation of the style[edit]

Deep Purple's 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock has a cover inspired by Mount Rushmore depicting the five members' faces instead of the four presidents. The title is an obvious pun, the music genre of the album being rock music, while the monument is carved from what is essentially a very large rock. In turn, the English cover of the volume 4 DVD release of the anime series Cromartie High School (entitled "Mount Rockmore") is a parody of the Deep Purple album. Here, the anime characters' faces replace those of the band members.

In the Japanese manga, Naruto, four of the main leaders (Hokage) of Konohagakure (Hidden Leaf Village) have had their faces carved into a mountain overlooking the village of Konohagakure, in a style similar to that of Mount Rushmore (with Tsunade's face added later, in Shippuuden. (Hatake Kakashi) and (Uzumaki Naruto) were the 6th and 7th face to be added to the mountain in the last chapter). The village was designed by Japanese manga artist Masashi Kishimoto. The fictional nuclear-equipped warship Outer Haven, in the video game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, features a Mount Rushmore-esque sculpture of the four "Snake" characters that have appeared thorough the Metal Gear series (Solidus Snake, Old Snake, Liquid Snake and Big Boss).

In the 1994 live action version of Richie Rich starring Macaulay Culkin, the Rich family has their own version of Mount Rushmore, named Mount Richmore in the movie, built on their property with their own faces sculpted into it. It becomes the setting for the film's finale, echoing the finale of North by Northwest.

The WWE had their own version of Mount Rushmore consisting of the best wrestlers in the company's history. The ones sculpted into the mountain are The Undertaker, Steve Austin, John Cena, and Hulk Hogan.

In North by Northwest[edit]

Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) and Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) dangle precipitously from the sculpture of George Washington in North by Northwest.
Sign near the mountain

The memorial was famously used as the location of the climactic chase scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 movie North by Northwest. The scene was developed in the course of screenwriting, as Hitchcock and scriptwriter Ernest Lehman were struggling to develop an idea. As Lehman would later recall, Hitchcock "murmured wistfully, 'I always wanted to do a chase across the faces of Mount Rushmore.'"[9] While writing the script, Lehman took a trip to Mount Rushmore to scale the faces of the famous monument; he only got halfway to the top, and bought a camera to give to the park ranger to photograph the famous monument for him. However, the scene was not actually filmed at the monument, since permission to shoot an attempted killing on the face of a national monument was refused by the National Park Service. In the movie, the villain's house is located on a fictitious forested plateau above the monument.

Other scenes, including the view of the Memorial's parking lot, the patio at the Memorial concession, the scene in the dining room of the concession and the loading of the body into the ambulance, were actually shot at Mount Rushmore. All of the other scenes involving Mount Rushmore were filmed on Hollywood soundstages. The reference in the movie to the Sheraton-Johnson Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota is accurate, the hotel still operates as the Hotel Alex Johnson.

The North by Northwest appearance has been parodied in several venues. In "North by North Quahog", a 2005 episode of the animated series Family Guy, Mount Rushmore's forested plateau was the location of the villain's home, and characters Peter and Lois are chased down the monument by Mel Gibson. In Richie Rich, the Rich family's imitation of Mount Rushmore becomes the setting for the film's finale, echoing the finale of North by Northwest.

Other appearances[edit]

Appearances set in the future[edit]

Alan Weisman, in his book The World Without Us,[10] suggests that the Mount Rushmore memorial could last up to 7.2 million years and thus be one of the longest-lasting human artifacts. Because of this enduring structure, it has appeared in some science fiction set in the distant future. In the Red Dwarf novel Better Than Life, Dave Lister finds Mount Rushmore half-buried underneath garbage, which causes him to realize he is back on Earth (a usage reminiscent of the scene from the original Planet of the Apes film). A 1980 episode of the post-apocalyptic cartoon Thundarr the Barbarian, "Attack of the Amazon Women", uses Mount Rushmore as its setting. The altered appearance in Star Trek V is, of course, also a future setting. In Nelson S. Bond's Meg the Priestess series, the short story Pilgrimage involves a journey to the "Place of the Gods": Jarg, Ibrim, Taamuz and Tedhi, revealed to be Mount Rushmore.

In theme parks[edit]

Mount Rushmore is one of the landmarks reproduced at the Window of the World theme park located in the western part of the city of Shenzhen in the People's Republic of China. A version made out of 1.5 million Lego bricks is featured at Legoland Billund in Denmark. The one at Legoland California has minifigures that move a giant cotton swab in and out of Washington's right ear.

In video games[edit]

In addition to the above-mentioned appearance in Pilotwings 64, Mount Rushmore also appears as a Wonder of the World in the PC game Civilization IV, in Capcom's Street Fighter as the background stage of Mike, in Pro Pinball: Timeshock!, where climbing on it is one of the tasks, and in Fatal Fury 2 as Terry Bogard's stage. In the 1993 computer game Sam & Max Hit the Road, one scene features a fictional Dinosaur Tar Pit at Mount Rushmore, where the character Sam can be made to sing "The Name Game" with the names of the Presidents depicted on the mountain. Characters are also seen bungee jumping from each of the Presidents' nostrils using green colored rope. In Metal Gear Solid 4, the four computer AIs: GW, AL, TJ and TR are named after the initials of the four presidents and Liquid Ocelot's warship, Outer Haven, is decorated with a "Mount Snakemore" consisting of Solidus Snake, Old Snake, Liquid Snake, and Big Boss. In the 2008 strategy game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, an allied campaign mission is staged around the site, with various weapons located inside the heads. In Crash Tag Team Racing, In the Tyrannosaurus Wrecks Hub, you can see in a mount four dinosaur skulls imitating Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. Brütal Legend has a Mt. Rockmore feature. Due to the game being centered around rock, the legendary figures of the real-life Mt. Rockmore have been replaced with figures of legendary rockers (the player also has the option of changing these heads).In the 1990 game "Fighter Bomber" from Activision you can fly by the monument. In Just Cause 2, one of the settlement features a parody of Mount Rushmore, featuring a 3 headed sculpture secret base where the head of the middle represents the current president of Panau, Pandak "Baby" Panay. That settlement takes place for the 6th mission of the game "Into the den". In the game Flip Out! the aliens visited Mount Rushmore for one of the levels where each face was sliced into four pieces that had to be flipped and put back in order.[11]

In music[edit]

American composer Michael Daugherty's 2010 piece for chorus and orchestra, "Mount Rushmore," depicts each of the four presidents in separate movements. The piece sets texts by George Washington, William Billings, Thomas Jefferson, Maria Cosway, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.[12]

Other venues[edit]

Mount Rushmore National Memorial 1927-1952 Black Hills, South Dakota

The U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative 3¢ postage stamp on August 11, 1952. The stamp commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Mount Rushmore commemorative half dollar obverse.

Mount Rushmore has been depicted on several United States coins. One of the most recent was the South Dakota State Quarter (seen at the very top of this article) issued in 2006. In 1991 the United States Mint issued several commemorative coins, specifically a 50¢,[13] $1,[14] and $5 coin [15] for the anniversary of Mount Rushmore.

A 2012 Geico TV commercial showed the Gecko walking towards the opening of a long tunnel, which turned out to be inside the right eye of George Washington at Mount Rushmore.[16]

In the Justice League Adventures comics, Superman is shown as going to Mount Rushmore to seek solitude on at least one occasion.

The Washington Nationals baseball club uses large foam rubber depictions of the "Rushmore Four" in both their marketing campaigns and in a series of in-stadium promotions, which include the "Racing Presidents".[17] "George", "Abe", "TJ" and "Teddy" appeared in the fourth inning of home games at RFK Stadium; the tradition continued at the new Nationals Park. For almost six seasons, the Teddy character never won a Racing Presidents event, causing Nationals fans to chant his name in the hope that the race they viewed would be his first win. Teddy finally won his first race on the last day of the 2012 season, the first time the Nationals made it to the playoffs.[18] (Teddy then went on to win the race during all three 2012 postseason games played in Nationals Park.)

A 1960s rock band also bears the same name as the monument.

A Don Martin cartoon in MAD magazine once featured a presidential barber being urgently dispatched by helicopter and later dangling from a rope ladder as he prunes a small tree growing from the nose of one of the presidents.

Mount Rushmore has been featured prominently on South Dakota's automobile license plates since 1952. The flag of South Dakota features the phrase "THE MOUNT RUSHMORE STATE", which was added in 1992, although the image on the flag does not include the monument.

In the 2013 film, Nebraska Woody (Bruce Dern) and David Grant (Will Forte) stop by Mount Rushmore on their road trip to Nebraska. Woody remarks that he thinks the faces of Mount Rushmore look incomplete.

In Professional Wrestling, a stable in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla called Mount Rushmore was established by wrestlers Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, and Kevin Steen.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Real Movie News, National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (2007) Movie Information.
  2. ^ Thomas S. Owens, Mount Rushmore (1997), p. 21.
  3. ^ "'Mario Series'". NinDB. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  4. ^ YouTube video, "The Keene Act and You" (at 0:26).
  5. ^ Youtube Video, "Wolfenstein - 'BOOM BOOM' Gameplay Trailer"
  6. ^ Greenpeace Gets Badass, Drapes Pic Of Obama Over Mt. Rushmore Calling For Climate Action
  7. ^ Obama Makes Early, Unflattering Appearance on Mount Rushmore
  8. ^ Greenpeace members charged in Mount Rushmore G-8 protest - CNN.com
  9. ^ Barbara Straumann, "Rewriting American Foundational Myths in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest", in Martin Heusser and Gudrun Grabher, American Foundational Myths (2002), p. 201.
  10. ^ Alan Weisman, The World Without Us (St. Martin's Press, 2007) ISBN 0-312-34729-4
  11. ^ Answers.com, Flip Out!.
  12. ^ "Michael Daugherty’s Mount Rushmore Premieres with the Pacific Symphony and Chorale" Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Mount Rushmore Golden Anniversary Half Dollar". United States Mint. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  14. ^ "Mount Rushmore Golden Anniversary Dollar". United States Mint. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  15. ^ "Mount Rushmore Golden Anniversary Gold $5". United States Mint. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  16. ^ GEICO Gecko's Journey to Mount Rushmore, ispot.tv (July 18, 2012).
  17. ^ Racing Presidents homepage.
  18. ^ "'Teddy' wins for 1st time in 534 races". ESPN. 
  19. ^ Pro Wrestling Guerrilla: The Battle of Los Angeles 2013 Night 2