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.



Purplepeanut said...

Hi! Where did you get these "Merry Widow" Movieland photos? Can I get a high-quality copy of the one with the atmospheric lighting, so I can make it a 1024x768 bitmap on my desktop? I'm a wax museum nut myself -- but I never did get to see the Movieland museum before it closed, and my heart STILL hurts when I think about it. If you want to contact me, please do so at Thanks!

Bob said...

I'd love to get you a copy of the photo. I'm out of town right now, but I will remember to email you when I get home. I took the photos myself shortly before Movieland closed. The atmospheric photo is a little blurry at full size, but I'll still send it to you. Thanks for posting.

Purplepeanut said...

Thanks a million, Bob! Over my thirty-odd years, I've been photographing and/or filming wax museums off-and-on as a project, and am about to kick it into high gear -- but missed Movieland, unfortunately.

Many of the photos I have are from museums in the Southeast -- for example, I've got some pictures I took as a teenager of some defunct wax museums in Gatlinburg, TN ("Stars Over Gatlinburg" and the American History museum). Let me know if you're interested in seeing them. (Fair warning, though -- I've VASTLY improved as a picture-taker since then).

Do you happen to have anything about the old Myrtle Beach National Wax Museum that used to be on the Strand in Myrtle Beach, SC (went belly-up in the '90s)? Photos, etc.? If so, please let me know -- I've got fairly fond memories of that one.

Thanks again!


Purplepeanut said...

Hi again! Do you have any high-quality photos of the
Movieland Wax Museum's Jean Harlow "Dinner at Eight" and Greta Garbo "Queen Christina" displays? Those are two of my favorites as well, even though I didn't make it to the museum.

Do you have any idea what happened to the Greta Garbo figure? The set's being sold on Ebay now, and the Harlow figure was bought by George Krikorian for his theater chain, but I haven't found anything on Garbo yet.

Please let me know what info and photos you have at I'd still like to get you some photos of the wax museums that used to be in Gatlinburg, but my own computer's STILL junk so my scanner's not working ... hope to have them for you soon (knock on wood).

All the best,

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