Movieland Wax Museum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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

Movieland Wax Museum, with over 300 wax figures in 150 sets, was the largest wax museum in the United States. Located in Buena Park, California, it was for decades one of the most popular wax museums in the United States. Allen Parkinson founded the museum on May 4, 1962, but sold it to the Six Flags Corporation in 1970. It was located north of Knott's Berry Farm on Beach Boulevard.


In 1975, Six Flags opened a Movieland Wax Museum clone called "Stars Hall of Fame" in Orlando, Florida, located near the intersection of the State Road 528 Bee-Line Expressway 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.[1]

On April 1, 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. Twenty years later, on October 31, 2005, after forty-three years in business and 10 million visitors, Movieland went out of business.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

The museum was featured in a 1990 episode of the long-running PBS children's television series, Reading Rainbow. The program's host, LeVar Burton, had his wax likeness displayed there.[citation needed]

Many of the wax figures and sets from the Movieland Wax Museum were auctioned off in March 2006.[2]

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.[3]

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

The Starprint Gallery, with handprints and footprints of celebrities in cement, dating from the early 1980s, existed until the original building was demolished in 2016.[citation needed]

The tall tower sign was the tallest sign in Orange County, California. It was removed as of July 30, 2018.[citation needed]

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.[4]

In October 2016, the main Movieland Wax Museum building was torn down.[citation needed]

Figures displayed[edit]

The Starprint Gallery[edit]


  1. ^ Stars Hall of Fame
  2. ^ "Movieland Wax Museum Closing Down ~ Orange County Memories". 2006-02-16. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  3. ^ Aguilera Cerni, V. (1986). Tonico Ballester. Ayuntamiento de Valencia.
  4. ^ Kheel, Rebecca (August 21, 2013). "Former wax museum to house 'Bodies,' Titanic exhibits". Orange County Register.