Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Movieland Wax Museum- The Awful Tooth

Our Gang is one of the most popular short film series of all time, and its characters are all just as famous. The scene here at the Movieland Wax Museum is from the 1938 film "The Awful Tooth". In this picture we see Alfalfa, Painless Parker, Darla, and Spanky. Some trouble appears to be brewing.

Another view shows Buckwheat, Pete the Dog, Alfalfa, and Painless Parker. This was a fairly large set with six figures. It had terrific lighting and great atmosphere.

This clapboard sign shows the movie as being from 1937, but all the resources I've used says that it is from 1938. I would say that they are correct and this sign is not accurate. Antique props from the set sold for $3200, and the set itself sold for $1200 at the infamous Movieland auction.

Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, his figure sold at auction as part of a lot of five for $5000.

George "Spanky" McFarland, one fifth of the $5000.

Darla Hood doing her thing.

Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas and Pete the pup.

This might be Jack Norton as Painless Parker, also credited as Dr. Schultz at IMDB.com. His figure sold individually for $700.

View more information about Hal Roaches Rascals here.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Madame Tussaud's- Agatha Christie


And then there were none. . . Agatha Christie is perhaps the most recognized mystery writer of all time. With over 80 novels to her credit, she has remained the gold standard of mystery writing. Here, she sits in the conservatory awaiting all onlookers. A very realistic figure, even her "old woman legs" seem accurate. Not many authors become household names, and far fewer can be recognized by sight, but Christie managed to achieve both honors.

A close up of Dame Agatha Christie shows her late in life.

View more information on Agatha Christie here.

Visit the Madame Tussaud's London website here.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Turn of the Century Wax Museum- The Gibson Girl

Located in the Old Towne Mall in Torrance California, the Turn of the century Wax Museum featured over 35 scenes and 70 figures. The museum opened Thanksgiving week 1973 and closed some time after. This picture shows the Gibson Girl sitting at her window. A creation of the illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, and Known for their hour glass shape and big hair, Gibson Girls idealized beauty during the turn of the century. Today, perhaps the most famous Gibson girl is the Ice Cream Parlor at Disneyland's Main Street USA (at least it is for me).

View more information on Charles Dana Gibson here.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Knott's Ghost Town- Post Office

The shot here shows the hard working Postal worker from the Knott's Berry Farm Ghost Town Post Office. He has been sorting mail for the past umpteenth years, and the poor guy has lost one of his much needed fingers. This scene is actually really neat looking, as are all of the "Peek-in" town displays.

This is the Post Office building's exterior. Sometimes you do not know if you are walking into a store, or one of the themed scenes. Although many of them do not actually have a door you can enter through.

Our Postal worker stands behind the counter waiting for someone, anyone to stop by and say hello.

Visit the Knott's Berry Farm Website here.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hawaiian Wax Museum- Duke Kahanamoku


One of the great athletes in Hawaiian history, Duke Kahanamoku greats visitors in the old Hawaiian Wax Museum. Standing in the lobby with a Koa canoe paddle, this figure is an example of Hawaiian hospitality. Behind him is a traditional surf board weighing 114 pounds, and measuring 16 feet tall! Named after the Duke of Edinburgh, who visited the island in 1869, Duke was a Gold Medalist in swimming during the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. After a brief film career, he became a sheriff, and an ambassador of good will for Hawaii.

The Hawaiian Wax Museum focused its collection on Hawaiian history from the early settlers (around 500 A.D) to annexation by the United States of America (1898).

View more information on Duke Kahanamoku here.


Monday, November 13, 2006

News- Discover Lancaster County History Museum To Close

Its always sad to hear of a wax museum's closing, and this is no exception. The Lancaster Online website is reporting that the owners of the Discover Lancaster County History Museum will close its doors on December 30th of this year to focus on their Amusement park division. This is such a sad turn of events seeing how nearly forty years of history will be soon be gone. Originally called the National Wax Museum of Lancaster County Heritage, the museum houses 34 scenes of local history from the 1600's through today.

The only bright side of this story is that the owners are seriously considering donating the scenes and wax figures to a nonprofit group, so we may soon see the museum reopened in a new location. Hopefully this is not the end the National Wax Museum of Lancaster County Heritage forever. I'll post some more vintage pictures of the museum soon.

View their official website while you still can here.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Guinness World Records Museum- Michael Jackson

Quite an unusual place, the Guinness World Records Museum in Hollywood houses several wax figures, and Michael Jackson just happens to be the very first one presented. Jackson holds quite a few world records in the music category. The museum shows many of his achievements; records sold, etc. Apparently, Michael Jackson was once very popular. Notice his strange outfit and its "Bad" belt buckle.

Another view shows Michael up close. This figure is not exactly the most recent "version" of Jackson, but represents perhaps the MJ that most people remember. He looks so confident and cool, not freaky and eccentric.

The Guinness World Records Museum is located at 6764 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA.

Visit the Michael Jackson website here.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Disneyland- The Matterhorn's Abominable Snowman

This vintage ad from 1978 previews the addition of the now famous Abominable Snowman who resides inside Disneyland's Matterhorn Mountain. Although not made of wax, Harold, as he is often referred as, is a beautifully designed figure. For nearly three decades He has been scaring unsuspecting guests who pass by in their bobsleds.

Here is the Yeti himself. Not the most animated animatronic ever built, but the addition of a strobe light helps create perceived motion. Basically, the effect tricks you into thinking more is going on than really is. Actually there are several Abominable Snowmen in the attraction, each with its own degree of fluidity.

Though he rarely leaves the mountain, here is a cast of a footprint "found" at the base of the south slope of the mountain.

And yet another footprint, this time from the North slope.

View more information on the Matterhorn Bobsleds here.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Movieland Wax Museum- The Merry Widow

Considered one of the most popular movie musicals of all time, the scene shown here at the Movieland Wax Museum is from The Merry Widow(1934), which stars Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972) and Jeanette MacDonald (1903-65). A film version of the famous operetta, the Merry Widow was so popular that Movieland created a set to honor the film in 1966. Chevalier was on hand to dedicate it, but Macdonald had recently died in January of 1965. The lighting on this tableau was pretty amazing., making it a very memorable scene.

Without the lighting, the scene does not have as much strength, and the paint job makes the figures look like burn victims. Lighting can turn an average set into a great one.

Of course all Movieland sets had these clapboard signs giving a description of the scene. Sometimes, as with this scene, an extra bit of information was provided. At the Movieland auction Chevalier's and MacDonald's figures sold for $600 each. The set pieces sold for $800, the set itself sold for $250, while the chandelier (bottom most part can be seen in picture number two) which hung above the scene sold for $950.

View Maurice Chevalier's filmography here.

View Jeanette MacDonald's filmography here.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Palace of Living Art- American Gothic

(Grant Wood 1930)

The Palace of Living Art was a section of the Movieland Wax Museum that focused on recreations of famous Artistic masterpieces. Paintings, sculptures, and Artists were all represented in the museum. I am not sure if the Palace of Living Art had a separate admission, or if it was part of the Movieland tour. The Palace closed shortly before the opening of the Black Box Chamber of horrors interactive experience, which opened around 1982. Rumor has it that some of the sculptures were so heavy that they could not be moved, so right behind some of the horror sets were large marble statues. Sometime later, the Black Box was removed and a different, more static Chamber of Horrors was introduced. One of the most interesting pieces of art from the palace was a large recreation of the statue of David. The statue remained until Movieland's closing in 2005, and sold for an incredible $120,000.

After the removal of the Palace, the collection moved North to the San Fransisco Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf. American Gothic can still be seen there, as can other scenes from this smaller Palace of Living Art.

View more information on the Grant Wood Painting; American Gothic here.

Visit the Palace of Living Art in San Fransisco here.


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