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Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States. Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and later by his son Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents (in order from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The entire memorial covers 1,278.45 acres (5.17 km2) and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.

South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. Robinson's initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles site and chose the larger Mount Rushmore. Borglum also decided the sculpture should have a more national focus, and chose the four presidents whose likenesses would be carved into the mountain. After securing federal funding, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum's death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction. Although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in October 1941.

The U.S. National Park Service took control of the memorial in 1933, while it was still under construction, and manages the memorial to the present day. It attracts approximately two million people annually.


Originally known to the Lakota Sioux as Six Grandfathers, the mountain was renamed after Charles E. Rushmore, a prominent New York lawyer, during an expedition in 1885. At first, the project of carving Rushmore was undertaken to increase tourism in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. After long negotiations involving a Congressional delegation and President Calvin Coolidge, the project received Congressional approval. The carving started in 1927, and ended in 1941 with some injuries and no fatalities.

As Six Grandfathers, the mountain was part of the route that Lakota leader Black Elk took in a spiritual journey that culminated at Harney Peak. Following a series of military campaigns from 1876 to 1877, the United States asserted control over the area, a claim that is still disputed on the basis of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie (see section "Controversy" below). Among white American settlers, the peak was known variously as Cougar Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Slaughterhouse Mountain, and Keystone Cliffs. It was named Mount Rushmore during a prospecting expedition by Charles Rushmore, David Swanzey (husband of Carrie Ingalls), and Bill Challis.

Historian Doane Robinson conceived the idea for Mount Rushmore in 1923 to promote tourism in South Dakota. In 1924, Robinson persuaded sculptor Gutzon Borglum to travel to the Black Hills region to ensure that the carving could be accomplished. Borglum had been involved in sculpting the Confederate Memorial Carving, a massive bas-relief memorial to Confederate leaders on Stone Mountain in Georgia, but was in disagreement with the officials there. The original plan was to perform the carvings in granite pillars known as the Needles. However, Borglum realized that the eroded Needles were too thin to support sculpting. He chose Mount Rushmore, a grander location, partly because it faced southeast and enjoyed maximum exposure to the sun. Borglum said upon seeing Mount Rushmore, "America will march along that skyline." Congress authorized the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission on March 3, 1925. President Coolidge insisted that along with Washington, two Republicans and one Democrat be portrayed.

Between October 4, 1927, and October 31, 1941, Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted the colossal 60 foot (18 m) high carvings of U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln to represent the first 150 years of American history. These presidents were selected by Borglum because of their role in preserving the Republic and expanding its territory. The image of Thomas Jefferson was originally intended to appear in the area at Washington's right, but after the work there was begun, the rock was found to be unsuitable, so the work on the Jefferson figure was dynamited, and a new figure was sculpted to Washington's left.

In 1933, the National Park Service took Mount Rushmore under its jurisdiction. Engineer Julian Spotts helped with the project by improving its infrastructure. For example, he had the tram upgraded so that it could reach the top of Mount Rushmore for the ease of workers. By July 4, 1934, Washington's face had been completed and was dedicated. The face of Thomas Jefferson was dedicated in 1936, and the face of Abraham Lincoln was dedicated on September 17, 1937. In 1937, a bill was introduced in Congress to add the head of civil-rights leader Susan B. Anthony, but a rider was passed on an appropriations bill requiring that federal funds be used to finish only those heads that had already been started at that time. In 1939, the face of Theodore Roosevelt was dedicated.

The Sculptor's Studio - a display of unique plaster models and tools related to the sculpting - was built in 1939 under the direction of Borglum. Borglum died from an embolism in March 1941. His son, Lincoln Borglum, continued the project. Originally, it was planned that the figures would be carved from head to waist, but insufficient funding forced the carving to end. Borglum had also planned a massive panel in the shape of the Louisiana Purchase commemorating in eight-foot-tall gilded letters the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Louisiana Purchase, and seven other territorial acquisitions from Alaska to Texas to the Panama Canal Zone.

The entire project cost US$989,992.32. Notable for a project of such size, no workers died during the carving.

On October 15, 1966, Mount Rushmore was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An essay from Nebraska student William Andrew Burkett, selected as the winner for the college-age group in 1934, was placed on the Entablature on a bronze plate in 1973. In 1991, President George H. W. Bush officially dedicated Mount Rushmore.

In a canyon behind the carved faces is a chamber, cut only 70 feet (21 m) into the rock, containing a vault with sixteen porcelain enamel panels. The panels include the text of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, biographies of the four presidents and Borglum, and the history of the U.S. The chamber was created as the entrance-way to a planned "Hall of Records"; the vault was installed in 1998.

Ten years of redevelopment work culminated with the completion of extensive visitor facilities and sidewalks in 1998, such as a Visitor Center, the Lincoln Borglum Museum, and the Presidential Trail. Maintenance of the memorial requires mountain climbers to monitor and seal cracks annually. Due to budget constraints, the memorial is not regularly cleaned to remove lichens. However, on July 8, 2005, Alfred Kärcher GmbH, a German manufacturer of pressure washing and steam cleaning machines, conducted a free cleanup operation that lasted several weeks, using pressurized water at over 200 °F (93 °C).

Construction of Mount Rushmore

The construction of Mount Rushmore National Memorial took about 14 years, from 1927 to 1941.

Designing the monument

Doane Robinson of the South Dakota Historical Society wanted a monument to be built in South Dakota in order to help the economy of the state by attracting tourism. In 1923, he proposed that this monument should be built from the granite cliffs in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Senator Peter Norbeck of South Dakota approved of the proposal, and federal funds helped the project. Robinson asked architect and sculptor Gutzon Borglum to sculpt and design the monument. Borglum decided to use Mount Rushmore for the sculpture, since it appeared the easiest of the cliffs to work on.

Gutzon Borglum, having decided on the location of the sculpture, decided to make this monument of four Presidents of the United States. He chose the two most famous Presidents in american history, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. He chose Thomas Jefferson because Jefferson nearly doubled the size of the United States in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase (which included the land that became South Dakota). The last President Borglum chose was Theodore Roosevelt, suggested by President Calvin Coolidge (who insisted there be two Republicans and only one Democrat represented.) because of Theodore Roosevelt's introduction of the National Park Service.

Borglum's original design was a sculpture of the four presidents to their waists, but time and money only provided for their heads. Ivan Houser, father of John Sherrill Houser, was assistant sculptor to Gutzon Borglum in the early years of carving; he began working with Borglum shortly after the inception of the monument and was with Borglum for a total of seven years. When Houser left Gutzon to devote his talents to his own work Gutzon's son, Lincoln, took over as Assistant- sculptor to his father.


A few hundred workers, who were usually miners, sculptors, or rock climbers, used dynamite, jackhammering, and chiseling to sculpt the model from the mountain. A stairway was constructed to the top of the mountain first and ropes fixed. Workers were supported by harnesses attached to the ropes.

The irises of the eyes were sculpted as holes. A cube of granite was left in each to represent the reflection highlight thereby making the appearance of the eyes more realistic.

Construction began on August 10, 1927.

George Washington

George Washington's head was started first. Due to the economic instability of the United States caused by the Great Depression, it was completed in seven years, and dedicated to the public on Independence Day 1934. A large American flag was placed over Washington's head before it was revealed, and this became a tradition for each of the Presidents' heads.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson's head was started next, left of Washington. Before the head was complete, Borglum ordered that it be blasted off due to poor rock quality. Jefferson's head was started again to the right of Washington. Jefferson's head was dedicated in 1936.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln's head was more of a challenge because of his beard, but his head was completed on the far right of the cliff, dedicated on September 17, 1937, the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States in 1787.

Theodore Roosevelt
While Theodore Roosevelt's head was being constructed, accommodations for tourists were being built, including plumbing, lighting, and a visitor center. Not finding suitable rock, the sculptors cut farther back into the mountain, causing concerns about how far they were cutting. On July 2, 1939, Roosevelt's head was dedicated.

Hall of Records

Due to unforeseen vulnerabilities in the granite, Lincoln and Jefferson were moved from the locations in Borglum's original design. Lincoln was relocated to the spot that Borglum had planned to include an 80 by 100 foot inscription in the shape of the Louisiana Purchase.

To replace the inscription, Borglum conceived another grand addition to the monument of similar proportions: the Hall of Records. The Hall of Records was to include a grand entrance to an 80 by 100 foot vault carved directly into the granite face of the small canyon behind Lincoln’s head. Borglum imagined 800 granite steps leading from his studio to the entrance of the Hall.

In 1938 Borglum and his crew began to carve this grand hall, where he envisaged the original Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution should eventually be stored. But a combination of unexpectedly hard granite, looming war in Europe, and lack of funding conspired against Borglum’s last dream, though his plans became more elaborate as his team rushed to complete this work. They reached 70 feet into the granite by the time Borglum unexpectedly died in March 1941. The monument was deemed complete and all work shut down on October 31 of the same year. Though Borglum’s children tried over the years to renew interest in their father’s last dream, it was not until 1998 that the National Park System, together with the Borglum Family, put “finishing touches” on the Hall of Records. A titanium vault was installed in the granite floor of the unfinished hall, and filled with sixteen porcelain enamel panels that include the United States Constitution and other important historical documents. The Hall of Records entrance can be seen from west-facing aerial photographs of the monument from Bing Maps.

Present day

Every year more than 2 million people travel to South Dakota to marvel at Mt. Rushmore. The Lincoln Borglum Museum is located by the memorial. One of the best locations for viewing Mt. Rushmore is located above the museum at Grandview Terrace. The Presidential Trail, a walking trail and boardwalk, starts at Grandview Terrace and travels through the forests to the Sculptor's Studio, providing up-close views of the memorial. The Sculptor's studio built by Gutzon Borglum features discussion about the construction of the monument and the tools used by workers.


Mount Rushmore is controversial among Native Americans because the United States seized the area from the Lakota tribe after the Great Sioux War of 1876. The Treaty of Fort Laramie from 1868 had previously granted the Black Hills to the Lakota in perpetuity. Members of the American Indian Movement led an occupation of the monument in 1971, naming it "Mount Crazy Horse". Among the participants were young activists, grandparents, children and Lakota holy man John Fire Lame Deer, who planted a prayer staff atop the mountain. Lame Deer said the staff formed a symbolic shroud over the presidents' faces "which shall remain dirty until the treaties concerning the Black Hills are fulfilled."

In 2004, the first Native American superintendent of the park was appointed. Gerard Baker has stated that he will open up more "avenues of interpretation", and that the four presidents are "only one avenue and only one focus."

The Crazy Horse Memorial is being constructed elsewhere in the Black Hills to commemorate a famous Native American leader and as a response to Mount Rushmore. It is intended to be larger than Mount Rushmore and has the support of Lakota chiefs; the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation has rejected offers of federal funds. However, this memorial is likewise the subject of controversy, even within the Native American community.

The monument also provokes controversy, because some allege that underlying it is the theme of racial superiority legitimized by the idea of Manifest Destiny. The mountains were carved with Borglum's choice of four presidents active during the time of the acquisition of Native American land. Gutzon Borglum himself excites controversy, because he was an active member of the white supremacist organization, the Ku Klux Klan.


The flora and fauna of Mount Rushmore are similar to those of the rest of the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Birds including the turkey vulture, bald eagle, hawk, and meadowlark fly around Mount Rushmore, occasionally making nesting spots in the ledges of the mountain. Smaller birds, including songbirds, nuthatches, and woodpeckers, inhabit the surrounding pine forests. Terrestrial mammals include the mouse, chipmunk, squirrel, skunk, porcupine, raccoon, beaver, badger, coyote, bighorn sheep, and bobcat. In addition, several species of frogs and snakes inhabit the region. The two streams in the memorial, the Grizzly Bear and Starling Basin brooks, support fish such as the longnose dace and the brook trout. Mountain goats are not indigenous to the area but can also be found here. They are descended from goats which were a gift from Canada to Custer State Park in 1924 but later escaped.

At lower elevations, coniferous trees, mainly the Ponderosa pine, surround most of the monument, providing shade from the sun. Other trees include the bur oak, the Black Hills spruce, and the cottonwood. Nine species of shrubs live near Mount Rushmore. There is also a wide variety of wildflowers, including especially the snapdragon, sunflower, and violet. Towards higher elevations, plant life becomes sparser. However, only approximately five percent of the plant species found in the Black Hills are indigenous to the region.

The area receives about 18 inches (460 mm) of precipitation on average per year, enough to support abundant animal and plant life. Trees and other plants help to control surface runoff. Dikes, seeps, and springs help to dam up water that is flowing downhill, providing watering spots for animals. In addition, stones like sandstone and limestone help to hold groundwater, creating aquifers.

Forest fires occur in the Ponderosa forests surrounding Mount Rushmore around every 27 years. This was determined from fire scars in tree core samples. These help to clean forest debris located on the ground. Large conflagrations are rare, but have occurred in the past.


Mount Rushmore is largely composed of granite. The memorial is carved on the northwest margin of the Harney Peak granite batholith in the Black Hills of South Dakota, so the geologic formations of the heart of the Black Hills region are also evident at Mount Rushmore. The batholith magma intruded into the pre-existing mica schist rocks during the Precambrian period about 1.6 billion years ago. Very coarse grained pegmatite is associated with the granite of Harney Peak. The light-colored streaks in the presidents' foreheads are due to these dikes.

The Black Hills granites were exposed to erosion during the late Precambrian, but were buried by sandstones and other sediments during the Cambrian Period. The area remained buried throughout the Paleozoic Era, but was exposed again to erosion during the tectonic uplift about 70 million years ago. The Black Hills area was uplifted as an elongated geologic dome. The subsequent natural erosion of this mountain range allowed the carvings by stripping the granite of the overlying sediments and the softer adjacent schists. The contact between the granite and darker schist is viewable just below the sculpture of Washington.

Borglum selected Mount Rushmore as the site for several reasons. The rock of the mountain is composed of smooth, fine-grained granite. The durable granite erodes only 1 inch (25 mm) every 10,000 years, indicating that it was sturdy enough to support sculpting. In addition, it was the tallest mountain in the region, looming to a height of 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level. Because the mountain faces the southeast, the workers also had the advantage of sunlight for most of the day.


Tourism is South Dakota's second-largest industry, and Mount Rushmore is its top tourist attraction. In 2004, over two million visitors traveled to the memorial. The site is also home to the final concerts of Rushmore Music Camp and attracts many visitors over the week of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Mount Rushmore in popular culture

Because of its fame as a monument, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota has appeared frequently in works of fiction, and has been discussed or depicted in other popular works.

As a cover for a secret location

Several films and other media depict Mount Rushmore as a secret base of operations for the government or another clandestine group, or as having some comparable significance other than as a monument. In the early 1980s television series, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, a flashback sequence in the episode, "Testimony of a Traitor", shows Rogers meeting with the President of the United States in a secret base inside Mount Rushmore. In Team America: World Police, it is the secret base of operations for the protagonists. In the film, the base, along with the sculptures on the surface, are severely damaged in a suicide bombing by Michael Moore.

In the universe of the Ben 10 franchise, Mount Rushmore is the location of the main Plumbers (a sort of intergalactic police force) complex, and plays a key role in multiple episodes of the series, including "Secrets," "Truth", the "Ben 10,000" episodes, and "Ben 10 vs. The Negative 10." The monument is inadvertently destroyed by Upchuck in the latter episode, during the final battle with the Forever King. Another group shown as having a secret base inside the mountain is the "All Purpose Enforcement Squad" of Young Justice, in the DC Universe series. The comic book superhero, Mister Majestic from Wildstorm Productions, also had a secret base of operations inside Mount Rushmore, analogous to Superman's "Fortress of Solitude". In Ultraman: The Adventure Begins, a 1981 animated movie jointly produced by Hanna-Barbera and Tsuburaya Productions, the heroic Ultra Force is headquartered within Mount Rushmore.

Mount Rushmore was a primary location of interest in the plot of the 2007 film National Treasure: Book of Secrets starring Nicolas Cage. In the film, Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage) discovers in the titular Book Of Secrets that the location of the monument was chosen to erase landmarks in a map that leads to the golden city of Cíbola, hidden deep underground behind the mountain. In the film, the golden city appears to be beneath a lake to the north of the monument - this would likely be Horse Thief Lake, about 1.5 miles to the northwest of the monument, but the lake actually used in the film is the nearby Sylvan Lake, five miles southwest of the monument.

Alterations and additions to the faces
The large carved faces of the monument have made it a target for parodies and other symbolic alterations of its appearance in media:
  • “     Cartoonists have added more famous faces, real and imaginary, to Mount Rushmore, or show the four presidents talking. Toothpaste companies have made commercials showing how Roosevelt's teeth could be brushed if he'd only smile again!    ”

Replacement or destruction of the existing faces

Alterations in media have frequently included replacement of one or more of the four presidents' faces with other people or characters, or the addition of another face. In Superman II, General Zod and his criminal partners (the three escaped villains from the Phantom Zone) use their superpowers to replace the faces of Washington, Jefferson and Roosevelt with their own, while destroying Lincoln's.

Similarly, in Mars Attacks!, the Martians in a UFO carve their faces into Mount Rushmore, replacing the Presidents' heads. The cover of the Chipmunks' album, Chipmunk Rock, depicts Roosevelt replaced by Alvin the Chipmunk. Similarly, the Nintendo 64 video game Pilotwings 64 (which features a level based on United States geography and landmarks) shows the monument in the approximate location of South Dakota, but replaces Washington's head with that of Nintendo's mascot Mario. The player can change Mario into his rival, Wario by crashing into his face or by shooting him from the Gyrocopter.

In a viral video teaser for the Watchmen film, "The Keene Act and You", a brief scene depicts Richard Nixon in place of Abraham Lincoln.

In the movie 10.5 Apocalypse, an earthquake hits the site, destroying the faces of the presidents, which eventually fell.

In the film Category 7: The End of the World, global warming causes the moisture inside the mountain to expand, which causes the head of George Washington to break off.

In Robert Ferrigno's Assassin trilogy, fundamentalist Islamic clerics dynamite Mount Rushmore in a failed attempt to destroy it.

In the Roger Rabbit short Trail Mix-Up, Roger and some other characters are sent flying by an erupting geyser, and crash into Mount Rushmore, destroying it (The faces comically screaming before the crash).

Addition of a fifth face

In the final scene of the film Head of State, fictional president Mays Gilliam's face has been added into Mount Rushmore next to Abraham Lincoln. In a scene cut from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, a fifth face carved into the mountain is that of an unknown African-American woman. The cover of the February 1957 issue of MAD Magazine Issue #31, also depicts Mount Rushmore with a fifth face: that of Alfred E. Neuman. In the final scene of the Michael Weller play "Beast" at New York Theatre Workshop, the disfigured and burned face of George W. Bush appears beside the original four. Depictions of a fifth face usually place it to the left of George Washington or to the right of Abraham Lincoln, at about the same height as other presidents. In the Mad Magazine case, the fifth face is closer to the base of the mountain, and is below Thomas Jefferson. In an episode of Phineas and Ferb, Phineas and Ferb carve a face of their sister, Candace, but it was quickly destroyed by flowing magma. In the Judge Dredd comic The Cursed Earth two faces are added: President Jimmy Carter to the left of Washington and the leader of a group of mutants to the right of Lincoln. In the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!, Schroeder suggests that Beethoven's face be added to Mount Rushmore.

Since his election as the first black President, Barack Obama has been added as a fifth head to Mount Rushmore on internet depictions of the mountain. On July 8, 2009, climate change activists unfurled a banner with the purpose of portraying a fifth face on Mount Rushmore of Obama as a President who could make Presidential changes in leading effective climate legislation as opposed to being a politician.

Imitation of the style

Deep Purple's album In Rock has a cover inspired by Mount Rushmore depicting the five members' faces instead of the four presidents. The title is an obvious pun, the music genre of the album being rock and roll, while the monument is carved from what is essentially a very large rock. In turn, the English cover of the volume 4 DVD release of the anime series Cromartie High School (entitled "Mount Rockmore") is a parody of the Deep Purple album. Here, the anime characters' faces replace those of the band members.

In the Japanese manga, Naruto, four of the main leaders (Kage) of Konohagakure (Hidden Leaf Village) have had their faces carved into a mountain overlooking the village of Konohagakure, in a style similar to that of Mount Rushmore (with Tsunade's face added later, in Shippuuden). The village was designed by Japanese manga artist Masashi Kishimoto. The fictional nuclear-equipped warship Outer Haven, in the video game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, features a Mount Rushmore-esque sculpture of the four "Snake" characters that have appeared thorough the Metal Gear series (Solidus Snake, Old Snake, Liquid Snake and Big Boss).

In the 1994 live action version of Richie Rich starring Macaulay Culkin, the Rich family has their own version of Mount Rushmore built on their property with their own faces sculpted into it. It becomes the setting for the film's finale, echoing the finale of North by Northwest.

In North by Northwest

The memorial was famously used as the location of the climactic chase scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 movie North by Northwest - the scene was developed in the course of screenwriting, as Hitchcock and scriptwriter Ernest Lehman were struggling to develop an idea. As Lehman would later recall, Hitchcock "murmured wistfully, 'I always wanted to do a chase across the faces of Mount Rushmore. While writing the script, Lehman took a trip to Mount Rushmore to scale the faces of the famous monument; he only got halfway to the top, and bought a camera to give to the park ranger to photograph the famous monument for him. However, the scene was not actually filmed at the monument, since permission to shoot an attempted killing on the face of a national monument was refused by the National Park Service. The film incorrectly depicts a forested plateau and the house of the villain atop the monument.

Other scenes, including the view of the Memorial's parking lot, the patio at the Memorial concession, the scene in the dining room of the concession and the loading of the body into the ambulance, were actually shot at Mount Rushmore. All of the other scenes involving Mount Rushmore were filmed on Hollywood soundstages. The reference in the movie to the Alex Johnson Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota is accurate, and the hotel still exists.

The North by Northwest appearance has been parodied in several venues. In "North by North Quahog", a 2005 episode of the animated series Family Guy, Mount Rushmore's forested plateau was the location of the villain's home, and characters Peter and Lois are chased down the monument by Mel Gibson. In Richie Rich, the Rich family's imitation of Mount Rushmore becomes the setting for the film's finale, echoing the finale of North by Northwest.

Other appearances

Appearances set in the future

Alan Weisman, in his book The World Without Us, suggests that the Mount Rushmore memorial could last up to 7.2 million years and thus be one of the longest-lasting human artifacts. Because of this enduring structure, it has appeared in some science fiction set in the distant future. In the Red Dwarf novel Better Than Life, Dave Lister finds Mount Rushmore half-buried underneath garbage, which causes him to realize he is back on Earth (a usage reminiscent of Astronaut Taylor's discovery of the Statue of Liberty in the original Planet of the Apes film). A 1980 episode of the post-apocalyptic cartoon Thundarr the Barbarian, "Attack of the Amazon Women", uses Mount Rushmore as its setting. The altered appearance in Star Trek V is, of course, also a future setting.

Other appearances in television and film

In the film, Powwow Highway, the protagonists Buddy Red Bow (an American Indian Movement activist) and Philbert Bono (his childhood friend from the Cheyanne Reservation) drive past it along the Needles highway. Significantly, only an oblique side view is barely visible, with prominence given to The Needles, a rock formation to one side of the monument with Indian spiritual significance. This is one of many American Indian inside jokes portrayed in the film.

In the film, The Truman Show, the protagonist pages through a scrapbook of his childhood memories, which his mother quickly slams shut when he sees a picture of a visit to an obviously fake Mount Rushmore.

In the episode of Speed Racer entitled "Girl Daredevil," Mount Rushmore is revealed as the secret hideout for the criminal Cornpone Brouch.

During one episode of M*A*S*H, Radar O'Reilly mentions that he was once part of a unit that cleaned out Lincoln's ears.

Beginning in 1975, Mount Rushmore was referenced, featured and spoofed by the Muppets on over half a dozen separate occasions, including through the use of a puppet version of the monument in which the heads speak with one another.

The mid 1980's saw children's cable network Nickelodeon use a variant of it by including Ben Franklin in a barbershop quartet-type ensemble. This commercial served as station identification.

In the '80s The Transformers (TV series), Blitzwing changed the faces to Decepticons in Triple Takeover.

In 1987, a color still-photo of Rushmore has four superimposed mouths lip-synching Play Me Some Mountain Music by Alabama on television. This advertisement was for Tulsa, Oklahoma Country radio station 98.5 FM KVOO. This same year, a comic book issue was published of the T.V. series "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future" in which a flyby is made here at mach speed, by one of the title character's aircrafts. Also that year, Mount Rushmore is depicted as a hole in the Wonders of the World miniature golf course created by Dean Proffit (Kurt Russell) in the film "Overboard".

In episode 2 of Phineas and Ferb called, "Candace Loses Her Head" it's Candace's birthday, and they go to Mt. Rushmore, to celebrate. While they are there, Phineas and Ferb carve Candace's head into the side of the mountain. An incident causes the face to collapse into rubble before it is noticed by anyone else.

For an early 1990's commercial for U.S. ice cream brand Wells' Blue Bunny, the familiar site has the four cartoon heads describing the flavor amongst each other. All on a first name basis, they are delighted when "Teddy" speaks up about his amusement of the ice cream name.

Mount Rushmore appears in a number of episodes of The Simpsons. A singing version appears in the episode, "I Love Lisa". In "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington", a congressman representing Springfield wants to drill for oil on Teddy Roosevelt's head. In "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can", Lisa Simpson's face is carved into a mountain in a manner that resembles the carvings of Mount Rushmore.

The Histeria! episode "The Teddy Roosevelt Show" featured a sketch about the construction of the monument, with Gutzon Borglum portrayed by a mustached Elmer Fudd. Throughout the segment, he suffers numerous amounts of Looney Tunes-style damage as a result of the "help" from his son, Lincoln (played by Loud Kiddington).

In an episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter and his arch-enemy Mandark cause two of the figures to emerge from the monument and fight each other. Dexter summons Lincoln while Mandark summons Washington; the two stone Presidential monoliths end the argument when they find that they have similar views, much to the chagrin of the boy geniuses.

In an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, Courage, Muriel and Eustace help a confused burglar who tries to pick Lincoln's nose on Mount Rushmore.

The ending scene in later seasons of Pee-wee's Playhouse showed the title character flying past Mount Rushmore after leaving the house and before hitting the road.

In the Friends episode 'The One With The Princess Leia Fantasy,' Joey is watching an episode of Wheel Of Fortune where the puzzle appears as _OUNT RUSH_ORE. Chandler then enters the room and Joey remarks, "This guy is so stupid. It's Count Rushmore!" Later in the conversation Chandler exclaims, "Oh, and by the way--there is no Count Rushmore!" Joey replies, "Yeah? Then...then who's the guy that painted the faces on the mountain?"

A children's show on public television called Postcards From Buster has shown Buster going to South Dakota and learning the history of the mountain.

In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jackie Chan is lured into a trap by the villain character Valmont to Mount Rushmore with the hopes of finding one of the 12 Talisman. The fake talisman found by Jackie in the episode was in imbedded in the eye of one of the presidents.

The opening credits of the Disney Channel show Cory In The House feature the Presidential heads singing part of the show's theme song.

A 2007 episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! titled "Mount Rushmore" investigates the origins of the monument and attempts to highlight the positive and negative aspects of patriotism. Chuck Norris made an appearance on The Best Damn Sports Show, Period to comment on the fictional and comically absurd Chuck Norris Facts, declaring his favorite to be: "They once tried to carve Chuck Norris's face into Mount Rushmore, but the granite wasn't hard enough for his beard".

In the 2007 final episode of the British science fiction series Doctor Who: Last of the Time Lords, The Doctor's arch nemesis The Master is mentioned to have "...even carved himself into Mount Rushmore" during 'The year that never was'.

In the animated film Asterix Conquers America, in the sequence of scenes where Asterix and Obelix are seen crossing over the famous landmarks of America, a mountainside carving resembling Mt. Rushmore is shown with the faces of the presidents replaced by those of native American chiefs.

In the April 15th, 2008 episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart referenced Mt. Rushmore when commenting on accusations that Barack Obama was an "elitist":

    You know what, candidates? I know elite is a bad word in politics. You want to go bowling and throw back a few beers. But the job you're applying for, if you get it and it goes well, they might carve your head into a mountain! If you don't actually think you're better than us, then what the fuck are you doing?

A "no cellphones on in the theater comercial" had a director who was trying to get permission to blow up Mount Rushmore for a movie.

In the Mad episode "Cliffordfield, Big Time Rushmore," Gustavo Rocque recruits George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln as singers for his new boy band to take on King George and the Red Coats Band.

In theme parks

Mount Rushmore is one of the landmarks reproduced at the Window of the World theme park located in the western part of the city of Shenzhen in the People's Republic of China. A version made out of Lego bricks is featured at Legoland Billund in Denmark. The one at Legoland California has minifigures that move a giant cotton swab in and out of Washington's right ear.

In video games

In addition to the above-mentioned appearance in Pilotwings 64, Mount Rushmore also appears as a Wonder of the World in the PC game Civilization IV, in Capcom's Street Fighter as the background stage of Mike, in Pro Pinball: Timeshock!, where climbing on it is one of the tasks, and in Fatal Fury 2 as Terry Bogard's stage. In the 1993 computer game Sam & Max Hit the Road, one scene features a fictional Dinosaur Tar Pit at Mount Rushmore, where the character Sam can be made to sing "The Name Game" with the names of the Presidents depicted on the mountain. Characters are also seen bungee jumping from each of the Presidents' nostrils using green colored rope. In Metal Gear Solid 4, the four computer AIs: GW, AL, TJ and TR are named after the initials of the four presidents and the antagonist's warship, Outer Haven, is decorated with a "Mount Rushmore" consisting of the characters Solidus Snake, Old Snake, Liquid Snake, and Big Boss. In the 2008 strategy game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, an allied campaign mission is staged around the site, with various weapons located inside the heads. In Crash Tag Team Racing, In the Tyrannosaurus Wrecks Hub, you can see in a mount four dinosaur skulls imitating Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. Brütal Legend has a Mt. Rockmore feature. Due to the game being centered around rock, the legendary figures of the real-life Mt. Rockmore have been replaced with figures of legendary rockers (the player also has the option of changing these heads).In the 1990 game "Fighter Bomber" from Activision you can fly by the monument.

Other venues

In the Justice League Adventures comics, Superman is shown as going to Mount Rushmore to seek solitude on at least one occasion.

Mount Rushmore has been depicted on several United States coins. One of the most recent was the South Dakota State Quarter (seen at the very top of this article) issued in 2006. In 1991 the United States Mint issued several commemorative coins, specifically a 50¢, 1$, and 5$ coin for the anniversary of Mount Rushmore.

The Washington Nationals baseball club uses large foam rubber depictions of the "Rushmore Four" in both their marketing campaigns and in a series of in-stadium promotions, which include the "Racing Presidents". "George", "Abe", "TJ" and "Teddy" appeared in the fourth inning of home games at RFK Stadium; the tradition continued at the new Nationals Park. To date, the Teddy character has never won a Racing Presidents event, causing Nationals fans to chant his name in the hope that the race they view will be Teddy's first win.

A 1960s rock band also bears the same name as the monument.

Mount Rushmore has been featured prominently on South Dakota's automobile license plates since 1952. The flag of South Dakota features the phrase "THE MOUNT RUSHMORE STATE", which was added in 1992, although the image on the flag does not include the monument.

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