Rambo in Lake Whetstone???

When MoCoShow reader Igor Gindin was perusing old articles from The Washington Post, he came across a story highlighting Rambo’s trip to Montgomery Village. The story may not be as farfetched as it seems, due to Rambo star Sylvester Stallone growing up in Montgomery County, but it’s not exactly what you’d think…

It was July of 1985, and Rambo: First Blood Part II had been released just two months earlier. The movie was now playing at Roth’s Quince Orchard Theater in Gaithersburg. Roth’s was a small theater- the box office was on the outside and there were two theaters when you walked in (one on the left and one on the right). It ended up closing in 1990 when the theaters opened at nearby Rio Washingtonian.

On Thursday, July 18th, between 1 and 2:30 am, two burglars stole a reel containing a portion of the movie from the Gaithersburg theater.  The burglars, which included a former assistant manager at the theater, also cut out a four foot section from the center of the screen, stole $20 worth of candy, and took the marquee letters and a poster for “Back to the Future.”

According to the article, the two suspects were arrested shortly after the burglary and led police to the spot where they discarded the reel…Lake Whetstone in Montgomery Village. “Fire department officials were then called in to rescue the film from eight feet of water — but it was too late to save Rambo.” “Rambo is all wet,” Montgomery County police spokesman Phil Caswell joked.

The screen was repaired the next day, and a new copy of Rambo came in, allowing business to resume as usual. The movie stars Sylvester Stallone, perhaps Montgomery County’s most famous past resident. Stallone and his family lived in a home on Seminary Road from 1952-1962. While living there, Sylvester spent some of his attended Woodlin Elementary School, Montgomery Hills Junior High, and was enrolled at Blair High School.


Montgomery Planning staff recommends approval of new two-story building for Woodlin Elementary School in Silver Spring.

Fun Fact: Sylvester Stallone and Dave Chappelle both attended Woodlin Elementary School in Silver Spring.

Actor Sylvester Stallone grew up in Silver Spring, attending Woodlin Elementary School and Montgomery Hills Junior High. He was enrolled as a student at Blair High School for a brief period of time before leaving for Philadelphia after getting into a little bit of trouble in the area.

Comedian Dave Chappelle was born in D.C. and raised in Silver Spring. He attended Woodlin Elementary School and has often mentioned riding the Red Line while growing up in the area.

Per Montgomery Planning:

• The Proposal will replace the existing one-story elementary school and childcare facility with a two-story elementary school fronting on Brookville Road to accommodate up to 740 students and approximately 65 faculty and staff, as well as a new childcare facility that will accommodate up to 127 children and 20 faculty/staff. The reduced building footprint and reconfiguration of parking and circulation provides additional open space for the students.

• The proposal provides a bus loop on Brookville Road for morning and afternoon bus activity, and a second vehicular access from Luzerne Avenue for student and childcare drop-off and faculty parking.

• The proposal requires a Forest Conservation Plan and Variance for the removal of 10 specimen trees, which is evaluated under a separate staff report.

• The site design of the proposed school on this relatively small site presents a two-story massing on Brookville Road with an attached one-story childcare facility on Luzerne Avenue. The parking has been reconfigured but retained on the “service” side of the site west of the school while the eastern portion of the site has been given over to expanded open and play areas for the children. Bus circulation, as recommended in the Master Plan, has been relocated to Brookville Road, while parent and faculty circulation has been minimized and located next to the main entrances for the school and childcare facility.

• Planning and MCDOT staff have discussed with MCPS necessary improvements along Brookville Road to include a turn lane for buses, a Master-Planned buffered sidepath, and a pedestrian crossing. MCPS has identified that their approved budget cannot accommodate these improvements. Staff for both Departments have therefore conditioned the approval of the Mandatory Referral on their implementation/facilitation so that supplemental budget discussions may take place in the future.


Per the recommendation, MCPS should comply with the following recommendations:

1. Pedestrian Safety
The Applicant should install the following pedestrian safety facilities to improve student and community access to the Site:

a. The Applicant should provide improved sidewalks that are a minimum of five feet in width with a grass buffer that is a minimum of six feet in width.

b. The Applicant should provide ADA accessible sidewalks on-site that are a minimum of five feet wide.

c. The Applicant should provide high-visibility crosswalks on the eastern crossing of Brookville Road and Montgomery Street.

d. The sidewalks along the Site frontage should continue in material and grade across the driveway to remind motorists to watch for potential conflicts with pedestrians and students entering the school site.

2. Bicycle Facilities

a. In conformance with the 2018 Bicycle Master Plan the Applicant should install the recommended
sidepath along the Brookville Road frontage consisting of a 10-foot asphalt path and a minimum three-foot buffer. In lieu of constructing the facility, the Applicant should leave a minimum of 13 feet behind the curb, devoid of permanent structure such that Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) can install the master-planned sidepath in the future.

b. Bicycle Parking: The Applicant should provide 38 short-term bicycle spaces near the main entrances to the building in accordance with the 2020 Bicycle Parking Guidelines.

3. Site Circulation and Access

Per the approval letter from the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (see Condition 4), prior to release of the right-of-way permit the Applicant shall construct a left-turn lane on southwest- bound Brookville Road for buses entering the proposed on-site bus loop. Prior to the permit stage, the applicant shall submit for DPS and MCDOT-Division of Traffic Engineering & Operations review and approval plans that detail the necessary roadway improvements for the left turn lane.

More information on the project can be found here.

Featured photo shows Woodlin Elementary School and school photos of Sylvester Stallone and Dave Chappelle from their elementary school years.


Sylvester Stallone is one of the first people mentioned when talking celebrities with MoCo ties. The actor/screenwriter/producer/director turned 75 earlier this month! Though he was born in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, his parents (Frank and Jackie Stallone) moved to the area in early 50s to open a beauty school. The family lived in a home on Seminary Road from 1952-1962. While living there, Sylvester spent some of his attended Woodlin Elementary School, Montgomery Hills Junior High, and was enrolled at Blair High School.

Some have disputed that Stallone ever attended Blair High School while others believe he even graduated from the school. We have been able to confirm that he was briefly a enrolled at Blair, but moved to Philadelphia to attend high school. His family remained in and out of the area, with his dad owning salons in Silver Spring and Darnestown and his uncle running a beauty school in Potomac. His brother Frank Stallone, a singer/actor with a few songs that have charted, still frequents the area.

Whether you know how him as Rocky Balboa, John Rambo, Barney Ross from The Expendables movies, or from any of his other roles in blockbuster movies, Stallone is one of the biggest celebrities in the world. The first photo below comes from one of his childhood yearbooks while he was here in MoCo and the second photo is from his birthday post on Instagram earlier this month.

Happy Birthday, Sly!


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