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Celebrities are Getting Statuesque -- Literally


If ever there were evidence that America is celebrity-crazy, it's the latest news from Salem, Massachusetts.

The people at TV Land -- a network that puts old, hit series on American cable television -- intend to build a 3-meter-high, bronze statue of Elizabeth Montgomery in Salem. She was the star of the show "Bewitched," about a housewife who is a friendly witch.

In the 17th century, suspected real witches were hanged in those parts, and today there's a witch museum in town. So, many town leaders think another witchy reminder in Salem is one too many.

Perhaps they don't realize that outdoor sculptures of TV characters are the rage. And monuments to presidents and generals are passé. Right near the North Carolina state capitol in Raleigh, for instance, you'll find the statue of a television sheriff and his son. And in midtown Manhattan, there's a statue of a fat bus driver, the character once played on TV by comedian Jackie Gleason.

The show-biz possibilities for statuary are endless. We can envision supermodels in bronze and movie stars in marble. That TV game show contestant who won 74 straight matches -- and $2.5 million -- could be immortalized in granite. If Rodin were to create his "Thinker" sculpture today, no doubt it would be thoroughly modern and hi-tech. "The Thinker" would move and talk and be sponsored by a beer or athletic shoe company.

And for the ultimate show-biz statue, we'd suggest Metuchen, New Jersey, the hometown of David Copperfield -- that spectacular illusionist famed for making very big things disappear. All you'd see in Metuchen's town square would be an empty pedestal, framed in searchlights.

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