Tulsa’s Golden Driller is not alone. Sculpted tributes of fictional characters are often beloved community icons and tourist stops in cities across the United States.
Let’s celebrate some of those, beginning with Tulsa’s biggest fan of the oil industry.
The Golden Driller
Standing 76 feet tall, the driller statue towers over Expo Square, 4145 E. 21st St., and serves as a tribute to Tulsa’s one-time “oil capital of the world” status. This version came in 1966, after the first of a couple of temporary statues was constructed in 1953 for the International Petroleum Exposition.
In Metropolis, Illinois, the self-proclaimed home to the Man of Steel, you will find a 15-foot statue of the DC Comics hero. But wait, that’s not all: There’s also the Super Museum with another Superman figure taking flight outside, and the town has a bronze statue of love interest and “girl reporter” Lois Lane (9 feet tall), with notepad and pencil in hand.
The boxing champion made famous in eight movies by actor Sylvester Stallone was immortalized in bronze outside the Philadelphia Art Museum, where Rocky ran up the steps during his training and celebrated at the top, arms raised. That run has been duplicated ever since by fans.
Commuters getting off a train walk by the statue of the funny little bear, wearing his old hat and duffel coat, on the platform at — where else? — the Paddington railway station in London, where the Brown family first found him in the beloved series of books and films.
There are statues dedicated to author A. Conan Doyle’s famous detective, from England to Japan, but one of the most recent is the one that was finally unveiled near 221B Baker St., the fictional home of Holmes.
Andy and Opie
Outside of the Andy Griffith Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina, you will find statues of the actor as Sheriff Andy Taylor, along with Oklahoma’s Ron Howard, who as a child actor played his son, Opie, in TV’s “The Andy Griffith Show,” walking hand-in-hand and smiling as they head off for a day of fishing.
The Statue of Liberty
More than 130 years after the 305-foot structure was dedicated in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty remains a popular attraction, holding the torch in the air that historically lighted the way for immigrants first arriving to the U.S.
The Fearless Girl
This recent addition to the world’s most famous statues finds the “Fearless Girl” facing off with the Wall Street bull in New York. The work of art was placed there to recognize International Women’s Day.
Sure, he’s trashed Tokyo (where you’ll find this statue) and other cities on multiple occasions during destructive cinematic battles, but people still love Godzilla, a landmark of Japanese moviemaking.
The giant lumberjack and folk hero is such a beloved figure of American and Canadian lore that statues of him can be found in at least a half-dozen places. Some of them are tall, while others are very tall, and sometimes he’s accompanied by Babe the Blue Ox in statue form.
Dr. Seuss characters
Children’s author Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) created so many characters, and you can find about 30 of them in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. The Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, Horton the Elephant — find their sculptures there, all created by the author’s stepdaughter.
Heeeeey! Whether you know him as Fonzie or as Arthur Fonzarelli, if you’re a fan, you know you want to see the bronze Fonz. The statue of the “Happy Days” favorite was unveiled in 2008 in Milwaukee, where the show was based.
OK, he has a steel skeletal structure with other steel pieces to form his body, and the 55-foot cowboy only stands for about three weeks a year. But for any guest to the annual Texas State Fair or to each year’s OU-Texas football game, he’s a welcome sight that brings a smile to all faces.