Saturday, March 31, 2007

American Heritage Wax Museum- American Humor

Here's a picture from the defunct American Heritage Wax Museum in Scottsdale Arizona. The scene represents American humor of the southwest. We see two great comedians, Bob Hope and Will Rogers, decked out in western garb. Behind them is a painting of a typical western scene. While Hope may be more well known for his "Road" Movies, there's no doubt that Will Rogers is considered a great western entertainer.


"Master of good-humored repartee and king of the wisecrack, Bob Hope for nearly 40 years has entertained in almost every major field of show business. Radio, musical comedy, movies, television- in each medium Bob Hope has achieved fame and the affection of millions.

"The great comedian was born Leslie Townes Hope in England, and was the son of a stonemason. He came to the United States as a child, and very soon was working to help the family income. He sold papers, delivered groceries, worked as a shoe clerk. Imitations of Charlie Chaplin attracted local notice, and before long he was booked into small theatres with a soft-shoe and comic patter routine. He worked hard and soon earned wider acceptance, until in 1933 he was a star on Broadway in "Roberta." His Tuesday night radio shows became a national institution, and before long he was a Hollywood personality. His "Road" pictures with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour brought delight to millions." -From Museum Guidebook


"No American was more loved than Will Rogers. His full name was William Penn Adair Rogers, he was part Cherokee Indian, and his speech and manner lost the touch of his native Oklahoma. A comedian he was, and without peer, but mostly he was a philosopher. He loved people, and the fun he poked at their frailties was always kind and tempered. From the stage, before the microphone or in his newspaper column he mused over the happenings of his era. Everything he said could raise a chuckle, but always it was profound and understanding.

"He was the youngest of seven children. He never went beyond the fourth grade, for he loved too much the cowboy's life to have patience with books and the indoors. He became an expert at twirling the rope, and was much in demand at rodeos. From there to show business was but a step, and soon to the Oklahoma cowboy came stardom, wealth and fame. Presidents and kings sought his company, and he traveled the world, bringing to each new scene his penetrating humor and always making friends. One day he set off with Wiley Post to see Alaska. The y found the shattered plane and the dead companions, and all America mourned." -From Museum Guidebook

View more information on Bob Hope here.

View more information on Will Rogers here.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Turn of the Century Wax Museum- Theodore Roosevelt


The Turn of the Century Wax Museum in the Old Towne Mall in Torrance, CA housed several tableaux featuring various historical figures. This image is of Theodore Roosevelt in his popular rough rider attire. I doubt that this wax figure came to life when the museum closed for the night like in Night at the Museum, but this figure does show our 26th president fairly accurate. Presidents are favorite fodder for wax museums, and he was the most popular president during the years around the turn of the century. Like many scenes at wax museums, this one is made interesting by the large mural which creates some action and movement.

View more information on Theodore Roosevelt here.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Madame Tussaud's- Execution of Mary Queen of Scots


Madame Tussaud's is not all about celebrities, as much as their recent flurry of celebrity unveilings shows otherwise. Here is a picture of an historic tableau featuring the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Convicted of treason, she was sentenced to death by beheading in 1587. It took three swings of the ax to properly remove her head.

The scene is very representative of the historic sets in the museum. Like the Palace of Living Art, the figures look very artistic. Almost as if they were a three dimensional portrait. This may not be the most interesting set ever designed, but the artistry is incredible.

Visit the Madame Tussaud's London website here.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Knott's Ghost Town- Sad Eye Joe

No trip to Knott's Berry Farm would be complete without a visit to the town jail. Here you can see the infamous Sad Eye Joe. He's been locked up for years and years. Fortunately, he's kept a pretty good attitude about his situation. The neatest part of a visit to the jail is hearing Sad Eye Joe speak to unsuspecting guests. He looks fairly static, but he's all spunk. Inside a building next to the jail is a real live person who voices him. Little kids are always surprised to hear Joe call them by name, and they usually have no idea how he knows them. It tricked me when I was a kid too. I later learned that my father gave them man my name.

A close up of Joe. He's no wax figure, and appears to be made of wood. Not the most detailed figure ever made, but the experience more than makes up for the simple detail.

The show building with a man peeking in. The jail is out of the way, but is still very popular.

On a wall next to the jail are letters to Sad Eye Joe.

One of the letters close up. They have water damage, but most are readable.

Another letter. Small details like this is what makes the Ghost Town such a fun place to explore.

Visit the Knott's Berry Farm website here.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mammoth Cave Wax Museum- Moses

"see an interpretation of Moses as he is depicted in the Old Testament."

This vintage shot of Moses from the Mammoth Cave Wax Museum reconstructs the biblical account of the Ten Commandments. Moses, after returning with God's law, observes his people worshiping idols, and partaking in sinful activities. Extremely angered, Moses throws the tablets down, breaking them.

The picture shows Moses in his most recognizable pose. Perhaps if the museum had a larger budget, they could have done a parting of the Red Sea tableau. With that stated, the figure does look pretty good with its vintage coolness.

The Mammoth Cave Wax Museum website has been down for some time. The status of the museum is unknown.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Palace of Living Art- Laughing Cavalier

The Palace of Living Art at the old Movieland Wax Museum housed many recreations of famous pieces of art. This tableau shows the 1624 painting by Frans Hals; Laughing Cavalier. Like many of the pieces in the Palace, it shows a wax figure next to its respective painting. The museum always attempts to sculpt the figure as close to the painting as possible. This, in essence, makes it a three dimensional portrait.

This is the figure, not the painting. It may just be me, but he doesn't seem to be laughing? Seeing the amount of detail that goes into the statue, these sets are probably more difficult to pull off the than the movie sets.

After the removal of the Palace, the collection moved North to the San Fransisco Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf. Laughing Cavalier, unfortunately, cannot be found there, although other works can be seen at this smaller Palace of Living Art.

View more information on Laughing Cavalier here.

Visit the Palace of Living Art in San Fransisco here.


Monday, March 12, 2007

News- Petty and Earnhardt Figures Race Into Madame Tussaud's

On March 9th, new wax figures of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Richard Petty were unveiled at the new Neon Garage at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Madame Tussaud's figures were on display for the weekend's races. After which, they were moved to the SPEED display at the Las Vegas Tussaud's in the Venetian Hotel. The sculpts will join the Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jeff Gordon figures already on display. Both Earnhard Jr. and Petty were in attendance for the big reveal.

A look at the Earnhardt figure. I don't think this is the best likeness Tussaud's has ever done, but it's not too bad.

Richard Petty's figure looks amazingly realistic. For a moment I could not tell which was which.

Visit the official NASCAR website here.

Visit the Madame Tussaud's Las Vegas website here.


Friday, March 09, 2007

National Historical Wax Museum- Mark Twain

With all of the hoopla over the recent announcement by Madame Tussaud's that they will open a new wax museum in Washington D.C., I thought that I would do another post on the defucnt National Historical Wax Museum. The museum opened in 1958 and housed many wax figures of important Americans in historically significant sets. Tussaud's tries to focus their displays based on the museum's location, but the National Historical Wax Museum had already done that fifty years earlier. D.C. is the perfect location for a historical based wax museum.

This Mark Twain (1835-1910) display is a combination of fantasy and reality, as we see Twain sitting next to one of his own creations, Huckleberry Finn. A very similar scene at the American Historical Wax Museum also had Tom Sawyer in the tableau. He may be just out of shot here as well.

A close up of the two figures. Mark Twain is another very popular figure for wax museums. I suppose it's because of his unique look.

Another shot of Twain from the museum. It looks like a different figure altogether. This picture is from at least as early as 1959, and shows some distinct differences. He's wearing a black bow tie here, and his hair is different. Although he does look to be sitting in the same set (In a different chair).

View more information about Mark Twain here.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hollywood Wax Museum- Miami Vice

In front of the entrance to the Hollywood Wax Museum is a platform that usually displays figures from a recent movie or television show. This is from the 2006 motion picture Miami Vice staring Colin Farrell (b. 1976) and Jamie Foxx (b. 1967). The figures are pretty impressive, and the lighting gives them a greater sense "coolness".

A flash picture reveals the wardrobe to actually be a different color. Lighting is everything. I'm surprised Tubbs chose not to go for the T-shirt and sports coat look.

Visit the Filmography of Colin Farrell here.

Visit the Filmography of Jamie Foxx here.

Visit the Hollywood Wax Museum's website here.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Movieland Wax Museum- Modern Love

Here we see silent film star turned talkie star Charley Chase waving to all the excited guests of Movieland Wax Museum. He's seen here in the 1929 motion picture Modern Love. Chase shares the set with the far more famous Buster Keaton, but the little amount of detail and time given to Charley doesn't seem to bother him much. He just keeps on waving and smiling.

A flash shot of Mr. Chase shows a little more detail than the precious picture (with all of its mood lighting) does.

He doesn't look like it in real life, but his figure sure looks like a rodent.

Yes, Charley did star in many Hal Roach pictures. The Charley Chase figure sold at the Movieland auction for $650, more than $3000 less than the Buster Keaton figure did.

Find more information on Charley Chase here.

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