Column: New Mount Rushmores

We’re Going To Need More Granite


Eighty years ago the sculpture on steroids known as Mount Rushmore had the face of its first rock star dedicated in ceremony. Three years later in 1936 Thomas Jefferson joined George Washington followed by Abraham Lincoln’s face in 1937. Lastly, in 1939, Theodore Roosevelt’s spectacled countenance completed the famous presidential quartet.


RushmoreIn honor of the 75th anniversary, I thought it would be fun to consider some other Mount Rushmores. Certainly you will not agree with all – or perhaps even many – of my suggestions, but that’s part of the fun.


Likely, one’s own age and biases will blur their vision.


And, hopefully, good-natured arguments will ensue which is fine because these are not written in stone – oh, wait, yes they are!


Let’s put the boxing gloves on and begin.


The Mount Rushmore of Boxing – Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Rocky Balboa.


The Mount Rushmore of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models – Surely dating myself, I’ll go with chiseling in granite these – um – busts: Cheryl Tiegs, Kathy Ireland, Elle Macpherson and Christie Brinkley.


The Mount Rushmore of American Writers (Male) – Hemingway, Twain, Steinbeck and, since this is my list, Jim Murray.


The Mount Rushmore of Writers (Female) – Emily Dickinson, Harper Lee (I know, I know, she only wrote one book but “To Kill A Mockingbird” is THAT great!), J.K. Rowling (conversely for her series of books and their impact on young readers), and Maya Angelou (for her voice aloud as well as on the written page).


The Mount Rushmore of Athletic Shoes – PF Flyers, Chuck Taylor Converse High-Tops, Adidas Superstars and Nike Air Jordans.


The Mount Rushmore of Stadiums – Since there are far more great stadiums than great presidents, I’m breaking this into categories:


Baseball – Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium and (sorry Wrigley Field) the tiny Field of Dreams.


Football/Track – The Colosseum (in Rome),The Coliseum (Los Angeles Memorial, host of two Olympics and two Super Bowls including the first), The Rose Bowl (framed by the San Gabriel Mountains) and (sorry Lambeau Stadium, Notre Dame Stadium, Ohio Stadium, Soldier Field and others) The Astrodome (for good reason called in 1965 “The Eighth Wonder of the World”).


            Arenas – The original Madison Square Garden, the original Boston Garden, The “Fabulous” Forum and Pauley Pavilion because championship banners matter.


The Mount Rushmore of Cold Cereals – Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran and Wheaties.


My Personal Boyhood Mount Rushmore of Sugar For Breakfast – Froot Loops, Super Sugar Crisp, Alpha-Bits and Tony The Tiger’s “They’re Grrreat!” Frosted Flakes.


The Mount Rushmore of Candy Bars – Hershey, Milky Way, Snickers and 3 Musketeers.


The Mount Rushmore of Basketball – James Naismith (The Inventor), John Wooden (The Wizard), Phil Jackson (The Zen Master) and Jerry West (The NBA’s Logo and thus represents all the hardwood greats).


The Mount Rushmore of Quarterbacks – Johnny Unitas, Otto Graham (seven pro championships in 10 title games in his 10-year-career), Joe Montana and I’ll have to get back to you on the fourth.


The Mount Rushmore of Tennis (Men) – Remember this is my monument: Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, and Mike and Bob Bryan (unlike the greatest singles player in history, there is no debate over the greatest doubles tandem ever).


The Mount Rushmore of Tennis (Women) – Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.


The Mount Rushmore of Superheroes (Comics) – Batman, Superman, (Comics), Spider-Man and (my monument) Mighty Mouse.


The Mount Rushmore of Superheroes (Film) – John Wayne (almost every role), James Bond, Atticus Finch and James Bailey.


The Mount Rushmore of Female Vocalists – Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin and Whitney Houston.


The Mount Rushmore of Male Vocalists – I’m not even going to try.


The Mount Rushmore of Movies – Impossible, but here goes: The Jazz Singer (first talkie), Casablanca (first on many people’s list), Star Wars (hey, its my list) and just to make my Pops happy, his boyhood version of Star Wars and all-time favorite movie to this day, The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.


The Mount Rushmore of Rock ’n’ Roll – In another impossible category, I choose to have George, Thomas, Abe and Teddy joined by John, Paul, George and Ringo.




Woody Woodburn writes a weekly column for The Ventura County Star and can be contacted at


Check out my new memoir WOODEN & ME: Life Lessons from My Two-Decade Friendship with the Legendary Coach and Humanitarian to Help “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece”