You're designing Mount Rushmore II, a monument to US artists

Hitchcock and Chaplin are both really, really tempting, and if either of them had ever become an American citizen I might put one on the mountain. That said, US citizenship itself isn’t a requirement, just being “intimately bound up with American artistic movements.”

Goddamn, Hitchcock is tempting. Or Orson Welles or Buster Keaton.

My mountain, as of right now: Twain, Ellington, and Warhol with either Houdini or Hitchcock in there as #4.

D’oh! Okay, Groucho Marx then. Imagine the 60 foot cigar. :stuck_out_tongue:

A couple of other recommendations for the musical choice; Woody Guthrie and Dizzy Gillespie. The image of Dizzy with horn to lips and cheeks blown out would be quite visually striking, but if we’re going for full figures rather than just heads, I’d say Woody with his guitar, complete with “This machine kills fascists” inscription.

Walt Disney: because Disney’s just such a Gestalt thing, you know? Not just the toon characters, but the breakthroughs in animation, the Disney style of animation, the marketing-genius theme parks, the TV productions, the much-imitated merchandising, etc. And I say this as a life-long fan of all things Warner Bros. (Alternate picks: muppet-master Jim Henson; Warner animators Freling, Jones).

Other possibilities:

George Gershwin: composer, pianist.

Louis Armstrong/Charlie Parker/Miles Davis will have their advocates.

Irving Berlin: extremely prolific songwriter (“White Christmas”) from the Tin Pan Alley era.

Nathaniel Hawthorne: supposedly the first American fiction writer who made his living from his writing. Yeah, I prefer Poe (who doesn’t?), but N.H. was historically and literarily significant and groundbreaking in his own right – who with his penchant for Gothic horror, often comes across as an Ur-Poe.

Ben Hecht: very important and prolific screenwriter (also directed, produced, and tried his hand at novel-writing). One of the great relatively-unknown workhorses of Hollywood history.

Clint Eastwood: actor, director, jazz pianist/composer/festival promoter. Has even been known to sing on occasion. He would look good in granite, too.

Frank Sinatra: singer, actor. Was always as tough as granite.

Chuck Berry: may be disliked for his sexual peccadillos and run-ins with the law, but if any one individual can be said to have invented rock-'n-roll, he did. Besides, it’s not as if Sinatra was an angel or anything…

Woody Allen: again, it’s a Gestalt… from doing stand-up and comedic writing (all those “New Yorker” pieces, later collated in books), to acting, screenwriting, directing (usually all at once), and his famous Tuesday nights at Joe’s Pub. Granted, Woody was borrowing from S.J. Perelman, Groucho & Harpo Marx, and Jack Benny, but he did forge his own brand, as it were.


I forgot Bob Hope. He was the one who had had a heavy influence on Woody Allen (and not Jack Benny, although one could probably see some influence there, as well). Hope, who did everything from Vaudeville to the movies and TV – very well, and for a very long time.

Well, if we’re going behind the scenes in Hollywood – how about Billy Wilder? European born, yes, but I’m pretty sure he was naturalized – and check out that list: Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., and Some Like It Hot. I’d pick him months before that freaky deaky Woody Allen, who ceased being worthwhile right around the time he started taking himself serioously – i.e., about 30 years ago.

How about Charles Shultz?

Comic strips are an American art form and few people are as well known in the field as Shultz. Peanuts are known practically everywhere.

I’m shocked that Orson Welles has yet been mentioned only in passing. He’s the greatest genius America has produced in its most characteristic medium. And he was famous in radio & the theatre earlier in his career. He was an energetic “architect” of his field and one who approached European culture with respect rather than simplifying and debasing it like Walt Disney.

Mark Twain; Orson Welles… the other two are up for grabs.

The Scrivener, Eastwood, Chuck Berry and Woody Allen are all still alive, and therefore ineligible. Does that make it easier to settle on 4?

JohnM, the monument is profiles only, just like the presidential Mt. Rushmore.

I’ve settled (for now) on my 4 heads (which ends up being 1 away from photopat’s): Twain, Ellington, Hitchcock and Warhol. Yes, Hitchcock was British, but in some ways it’s a perfect symbol for the American tendency to attract talent from foreign shores and weave their work into our national artistic fabric. Plus, Hitchcock worked within an institution (the Hollywood studio system) while putting a distinct personal stamp on everything he did.

Of course, Ellis Aponte Jr makes an excellent case for Welles. Welles or Hitchcock? Native rogue genius or imported subversive populist? My head hurts.

Now, if only I were good enough at Photoshop to mock up a fake photo of these faces in granite…

And I’m really curious to see what final 4 artists people who’ve come up with (excellent) lists of suggestions would choose.

Contender IMHO not yet mentioned: John James Audubon

Interrobang?!, consider that Houdini might represent the American immigrant tradition better than Hitchcock, and was more of a singular figure in his day that Hitchcock ever was.

However, if I got free rein on the project, I might add a statue of Hitchcock climbing down Houdini’s nose :).