Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hollywood Meltdown part 1

"We are not a wax museum. We are an attraction. I don't want us to be mentioned in the same breath as a wax museum."
-Adrian Jones, General Manager of Madame Tussaud's Hollywood

Adrian Jones must be the most frequently disappointed person in the world. Madame Tussuad's may call itself an attraction, but that does not change the fact that it is just a wax museum; a great wax museum, but a wax museum non the less. You buy you ticket, walk around, and take pictures of yourself with wax figures of famous men and women. Sounds like a wax museum to me.

Jones may actually be commenting on the apparent higher quality of Madame Tussaud's wax figures compared to other, less monetarily fortunate wax museums; or maybe the slight difference of how the figures are out in the open, instead of displayed in intricate tableaux, but a house is still a house no matter how the furniture inside it is arranged. It bothers me that the company that put wax museums on the map is so quick to distance itself from that very industry. There could be several reasons for this attitude;

1. Madame Tussaud's wants to portray itself as a world class entertainment venue that is far above the competition.

2. Wax museums are in decline, and this rebranding separates it from the unfortunate reputation wax museums have on the western conscious.

Whatever the reason, it is unfortunate that they need to put down the very industry they helped create. An even bigger concern is the affect it will have on the Hollywood Wax Museum that is just down the street. Spoony Singh's original wax museum doesn't have the name recognition that Madame Tussaud's does, and the neighborhood may not be able to handle two wax museums that are so closely related in theme, but that's a story for another day.

Next time: Will the Hollywood Wax Museum survive?

1 comment:

Purplepeanut said...

Well-said (or rather, well-written), Bob! As much as I respect the Tussaud's organization and their top-notch artistic work, Mr. Jones' comments are, unfortunately, par-for-the-course for the corporate, Microsoft-like direction the company is taking. It's unbecoming, to say the least, for them to disown the legacy and art of Marie Tussaud and the tradition she started.

With respect to intricate tableaux, Madame Tussaud's had quite a few of those (death of Admiral Nelson, execution of Mary Queen of Scots, etc.) until fairly recently, so saying that Madame Tussaud's is not and has never been a "wax museum" is, with all due respect, ludicrous. 'Nuff said.


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