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Metropolis / Passing Through

The House of Wax Gets the Ax

November 20, 2005|DAVID WOLLOCK

L.A. has MOCA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Museum, but who wants to pore over antiquities and medieval manuscripts when you can stargaze at waxen effigies of James Dean, the Olsen twins, Ronald Reagan (as a sheriff), Sharon Stone (in "Basic Instinct" white, but with legs crossed), Jennifer Lopez and George W. Bush? For 43 years, Movieland Wax Museum gave us a kitschy alternative to high art, but last month the country's premier house of wax closed its doors forever. We made a last-minute visit to wax nostalgic.


Steve, Madison and Rayanne Lamb

La Verne

What brought you here today?

Rayanne: We were in San Francisco and Madison wanted to go to the wax museum there. I said, no, when we get home we'll take you. And so now that it's closing, we're like, well, we've got to take you now.

If you could take home one statue, which would it be?

Madison: Probably Dorothy

from "The Wizard of Oz."

If you were wax figures, how

would you be posed?

Steve: The three of us. The

family circle.

Rayanne: At Disneyland, at Pirates

of the Caribbean. That's our

favorite ride.

What celebrity looks most like a wax figure in real life?

Rayanne: George Bush.

Steve: Both senior and kid.

Which star's plastic surgery looks most like a wax figure?

Rayanne: The [Joan] Rivers lady.

Is she in here?


Quinn Shurian


What brings you here today?

Gotta see a little piece of history

before it goes away.

What exhibit is the best resemblance?

Humphrey Bogart from "The African Queen." It's those crow's

feet by his eyes. He doesn't look too much like a candle.

Do stars deserve this kind of worship?

No. I don't think stars are heroes. They're great for entertainment.

If you could take home any statue here, which would it be?

Sophia Loren.

Are any celebrities missing that you think deserve to be here?

Martha Stewart, because she's made this amazing comeback. She'd be in the kitchen.

Which celebrity most looks like a wax museum figure?

Joan Rivers, because she's had too much plastic surgery. And Angelina Jolie. She looks almost too perfect all the time.


Steve and Carol Lidell

Hermosa Beach

What brings you here today?

Steve: We heard the museum was closing. I was here in '62, when it

first opened.

How has it changed since then?

Steve: I don't think there was a

Starbucks out front at that time.

What exhibit has the best resemblance?

Steve: Perry Mason, because

that's the way he looked with

the grayish beard.

Would you rather be at the Getty looking at Greek antiquities or here looking at wax antiquities?

Steve: Here. We don't relate to the Getty. We relate to stars of the past and present.

Do stars deserve this kind of worship?

Steve: Yes. They put themselves

out for the public. They deserve

our respect.

Whose plastic surgery looks most like a wax figure?

Carol: Oh, Dick Clark! And probably Debbie Reynolds, too.


Peter Gardner

Rancho Cucamonga

Renee Kaplan


What's the allure of the wax


Renee: You can take pictures of

stars and not get beat up.

Peter: I think the kitsch factor.

It's fun.

What's your favorite exhibit?

Peter: Clint Eastwood. The

steely glare.

What's the worst resemblance?

Peter: Kate Winslet on the Titanic. The teeth were just plain scary.

Who else should be a wax figure?

Renee: Old-school gangsters like

Al Capone and Bonnie and Clyde. I should open one of these places just for criminals.

Which celebrity looks most like a wax statue?

Peter: Michael Jackson. Tammy

Faye Bakker maybe. It's the makeup.

Renee: Lucille Ball from the "I

Love Lucy" days. The makeup

made her look fake.

Whose plastic surgery looks most like a wax figure?

Renee: Michael Jackson. Janet

Jackson. LaToya Jackson.

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