Movieland Wax Museum

Coordinates: 33°51′04″N 117°59′56″W / 33.8512°N 117.9989°W / 33.8512; -117.9989

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Former tourist attraction in Buena Park, California
\"Movieland Wax Museum of the Stars\" redirects here. For the Niagara Falls museum, see Movieland Wax Museum of the Stars (Ontario).

33°51′04″N 117°59′56″W / 33.8512°N 117.9989°W / 33.8512; -117.9989

The Movieland Wax Museum was the largest wax museum in the United States with over 300 wax figures in 150 sets. Located in Buena Park, California, it was for decades one of the most popular wax museums in the United States. It was located north of Knott\'s Berry Farm on Beach Boulevard (SR 39).


Allen H. Parkinson founded the museum on May 4, 1962, after he was inspired by a visit to the Madame Tussaud\'s wax museum in London. The opening ceremony was attended by silent film actress Mary Pickford, who dedicated the museum. The project cost $1,500,000. Parkinson sold the museum to the Six Flags Corporation in 1970.

One of the earliest sculptors commissioned by Allen Parkinson to produce these real-sized hyper-realist wax figures in 1960 was the Spanish sculptor Antonio Ballester Vilaseca [es]. He was responsible for the figures of Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, David Niven, Hattie McDaniel, Olivia de Havilland, Natalie Wood, Vivien Leigh, Charlton Heston, Gene Kelly, Robert Stack, as well as the sets Don Quixote and Sancho, Miguel Angel\'s David, Leonardo da Vinci, and a full-bodied Gioconda.

In 1975, Six Flags opened a Movieland Wax Museum clone called \"Stars Hall of Fame\" in Orlando, Florida, located near the intersection of the Bee-Line Expressway (SR 528) and Interstate 4, close to SeaWorld Orlando and just north of Walt Disney World. However, in 1984 after a drop in attendance, the Florida museum was closed and sold to the publisher Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Having no interest in the museum but an interest in the land alone, Harcourt sold off the exhibits to the American Musical Academy of Arts Association and turned the property into a showroom for the company\'s educational materials.

In April 1985, the Six Flags Corporation sold the California-based Movieland Wax Museum to Fong & Paul Associates, the owners of the world famous Wax Museum at Fisherman\'s Wharf in San Francisco.

In the museum\'s heyday, several actors and actresses attended the unveilings of their wax likenesses, and even went so far as to donate costumes to be worn by their likenesses, along with sets replicated from well-known movie scenes. Movie themes and sound effects also added to the authenticity of the museum. A movie clapperboard on each set included the name of the wax figures and facts about the movie, props, costume, and the person whom the wax figure was modeled on.

The museum was featured in a 1990 episode of the PBS children\'s television series, Reading Rainbow, where the program\'s host, LeVar Burton, checked out his wax likeness displayed there.

On August 19, 2002, the museum\'s founder, Allen Parkinson, died from natural causes at 83 years old in his Rhode Island home.

On October 31, 2005, after forty-three years in business and 10 million visitors, Movieland went out of business. The reason for its closure was because of declining visitors and revenue.

Many of the wax figures and sets from the Movieland Wax Museum were auctioned off in March 2006.

The Movieland Wax Museum property was purchased by the City of Buena Park in May 2007. In 2013 the city leased the property to Premier Exhibitions for display of RMS Titanic relics and its Bodies: The Exhibition.

In March 2015, it was announced that the city of Buena Park had approved plans to convert the Movieland property into a Butterfly Palladium that would \"feature the sanctuary for butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and other wildlife, an aquarium with jellyfish, a 3D movie theater, a cafe and a retail shop.\"

In October 2016, the main Movieland Wax Museum building was torn down to make way for retail space. On July 31, 2018, the tall tower sign that was the tallest sign in Orange County, California was removed.

The former Starlite Gift Shop in front of the museum is now a Starbucks Coffee.

As of 2019, the construction on the retail space has been stalled by a legal battle in which the City of Buena Park had filed a lawsuit to it client, Butterfly Pavillion LLC.

Figures displayed

Gene Kelly from Singin\' in the Rain
Elizabeth Taylor from Cleopatra
Christopher Reeve as Superman
Elvis Presley
Harrison Ford from Indiana Jones
Rudolph Valentino
Charlie Chaplin
Cantinflas from If I Were a Congressman
Shirley Temple from Bright Eyes
Jean Harlow from Dinner at Eight
Jonathan Winters
George C. Scott as George S. Patton
Abbott and Costello
Laurel and Hardy
Buster Keaton
John Gilbert and Greta Garbo from Queen Christina
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks from The Taming of the Shrew
James Stewart from Rear Window
Lucille Ball
James Dean
George Burns
Charles Laughton as Henry VIII
Johnny Carson
Dick Clark
Dudley Moore from Arthur
Ed Asner as Lou Grant
Dan Rowan and Dick Martin
Carol Burnett
Marlon Brando from The Godfather
Brigitte Bardot
Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Stella Stevens, Carol Lynley and Red Buttons from The Poseidon Adventure
Mae West
Sammy Davis Jr.
Roger Moore as James Bond
Jack Nicholson
Nancy Sinatra from The Wild Angels
Vincent Price
Tom Selleck
W. C. Fields
Gary Cooper
Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd from Ben-Hur
Edward G. Robinson from Little Caesar
Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr from The King and I
John Wayne
Whoopi Goldberg from Sister Act
the cast of Star Trek
the cast of The Andy Griffith Show
the cast of The Beverly Hillbillies
Redd Foxx and LaWanda Page from Sanford and Son
Michael Landon, Lorne Greene and Dan Blocker from Bonanza
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers from Top Hat
Debbie Reynolds
Raymond Burr
Cliff Robertson from PT 109
Chuck Connors
Alan Ladd from Shane
Bruce Lee
Tom Cruise
Kevin Costner from Dances with Wolves
Mel Gibson from Mad Max
George W. Bush
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Michael Jackson
Liza Minnelli
John Lennon
Jennifer Lopez from Maid in Manhattan
Robin Williams
Keanu Reeves from The Matrix
Julia Roberts
Britney Spears
Jim Carrey
Ricky Martin
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet from Titanic
Donny and Marie Osmond
Barbra Streisand
John Travolta
Gloria Estefan
Bruce Willis
Jackie Chan
Chuck Norris
Geena Davis
Billy Ray Cyrus
Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa
Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator
Jerry Lewis and Eddie Murphy from The Nutty Professor
Bette Midler
LeVar Burton
Mr. T
Hulk Hogan
Roseanne Barr
Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert from Green Acres
Roy Clark
Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, and Jack Haley from The Wizard of Oz
Linda Blair from The Exorcist
Lon Chaney as The Phantom of the Opera
Bela Lugosi as Dracula
Boris Karloff from Frankenstein
Lon Chaney Jr. as The Wolf Man
Ricou Browning as Gill-man from Creature from the Black Lagoon
Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The Marx Brothers
The Little Rascals
The Three Stooges
Marilyn Monroe
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh from Gone with the Wind
Bette Davis
Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn from The African Queen
James Cagney
Anthony Perkins from Psycho
Omar Sharif, Julie Christie and Rod Steiger from Doctor Zhivago
Kirk Douglas as Spartacus
Robert Taylor and Hedy Lamarr from Lady of the Tropics
Julie Andrews from Mary Poppins
Sophia Loren from Two Women
Robert Redford and Paul Newman from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone
Tom Mix from Rustlers\' Roundup
Ronald Reagan from Tennessee\'s Partner

The Starprint Gallery

The Starprint Gallery was located at the outside of the Movieland Wax Museum, and it featured handprints and footprints of celebrities in cement, dating from the early 1980s. It had a similar concept to the cement handprints at the front of Grauman\'s Chinese Theater in nearby Hollywood. When the museum closed, the prints still existed until the museum\'s demolition in 2016.
The celebrities featured on the gallery include:

Lou Ferrigno
Billy Barty
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Roger Williams
Loni Anderson
Carol Burnett
Bob Newhart
Vincent Price
Gene Autry
Dudley Moore
Dorothy Lamour
June Allyson
Frankie Avalon
Ed Asner
Beverly Garland
Mike Farrell
James Doohan
DeForest Kelley
Eddie Albert
Tom Selleck
Jack Klugman
Dennis Weaver
Adam West
Burt Ward
Johnny Mathis
Ray Charles
Mac Davis
Phyllis Diller
George Gobel
LeVar Burton
Gloria Estefan
Billy Ray Cyrus
Eva Gabor
Marcel Marceau
Herve Villechaize
Peter Fonda
Dorian Harewood
Brock Peters
Ja\'net Dubois
Alex Haley
Louis Gossett Jr.
Al Lohman
Roger Barkley
Gary Owens
Georg Stanford Brown
Beverly Todd
Persis Khambatta


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