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Monuments in Popular Culture

Updated: Sep 15, 2023



From City Lights to Impractical Jokers | From The Italian Factor, these are some of the stories that will not make it into the final cut of the film.


From City Lights to Impractical Jokers


Public monuments are often sites of cultural and political contestation, as they embody the values and narratives of society. In this, I share two scenes from popular culture that humorously engage with the meaning and function of public monuments. The first scene is from the 1931 film City Lights, in which Charlie Chaplin's character, the Tramp, tries to evade the police by hiding among the statues of a monument called Peace and Prosperity. The second scene is from a TV comedy show called Impractical Jokers, in which one of the comedians attempts to "steal the nose" of Daniel Chester French's America at the US Customs House in Manhattan.


Charles Chaplin: “Peace and Prosperity”.


“Peace and Prosperity,” the monument shown at the beginning of City Lights, was created as a prop for the film. The group has four figures: a woman holding a wreath, a man holding a sword, a child holding a book, and another child holding a cornucopia. Chaplin’s character, the Tramp, sleeps in the arms of the man with the sword, and he gets into trouble when he tries to get down. The statue was designed by Charles D. Hall, the art director for many of Chaplin’s films. It was made of plaster and wood, and it was destroyed after the filming was completed.


Some trivia about the statue scene in City Lights:




Impractical Jokers: Daniel Chester French's America


In a classic episode of Impractical Jokers, the prankster quartet took their mischievous antics to a new level by targeting a monument crafted by renowned sculptor Daniel Chester French. The monument in question featured a prominent nose that became the focus of their hilarious caper.


Sal, Joe, Murr, and Q showcased their signature wit and daring pranks as they pretended to "steal" the nose from the monument. The episode was filled with their usual blend of spontaneous humor, unexpected twists, and interactions with unsuspecting bystanders. Their mission to detach the nose without alerting any onlookers led to countless comical moments and reactions from passersby.


As the group engaged in their audacious endeavor, the priceless reactions from people witnessing the bizarre spectacle were both sidesplitting and heartwarming. The Impractical Jokers' commitment to their outrageous characters, combined with their ability to improvise at the moment, resulted in a hilarious episode that left audiences in stitches.


This particular episode of Impractical Jokers showcased the group's comedic prowess and their knack for turning ordinary situations into unforgettable moments of laughter. Their daring escapades and amusing interactions with the public highlight why the show continues to be a beloved source of entertainment for audiences of all ages.

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