Art Director Deborah Dimond with
‘James Dean’ // © 2009 Rachelle Lagnado
My only introduction to wax figures came by way of an old Vincent Price flick from the fifties. So my expectations of such a place focused mainly on the idea of dusty statues of Jack the Ripper and Marie Antoinette poised far out of reach. However this is far from the case. The trend, today, in this type of attraction is all about being able to interact with the figures. With the opening of Madame Tussauds Hollywood, gone are the days of the velvet rope. Now you can walk up to these amazingly lifelike figures and put your arm around the likes of ‘Brad Pitt’ or ‘Johnny Depp’ and get the perfect keepsake photo for your album or Facebook page.
Tourists flock to Hollywood to get a glimpse of their favorite star and barring a premier or a freak encounter, a trip to this attraction will give them an opportunity to get next to a slew of celebrities.
Robin Williams is one of the many celebrities captured in wax at the
new Madame Tussauds
Hollywood // © 2009 Madame Tussauds Hollywood
The newly opened Madame Tussauds is situated in the heart of Hollywood just west of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre and across the street from the Roosevelt Hotel. Visitors are first lead up to the third floor, themed as a hottest party in town. As you leave the elevator ‘Brad’ and ‘Angelina’ are there to greet you. Grab a quick pic with the power couple and give Brad’s bum a good squeeze. Believe it or not, but the museum has gone to great lengths to make it pinchable. Then wander around the floor and take a good look at ‘Johnny Depp’ and ‘George Clooney.’ The teen set will be ecstatic to see figures of ‘Zach Efron,’ ‘Britney Spears’ and ‘Justin Timberlake.’ If there is a celeb that has been voted “Most Sexy” or who's earned more than $10 mil per film, you’ll probably find their likeness there.
As a native Angelino, I consider myself cool and collected when it comes to celebrity. So when I bump into actors on the street or at Starbucks, I smile and go about my way. Honestly, I would be way too shy to approach a star and ask for a photograph even if I really wanted one. So walking around the floors of Madame Tussauds quickly became a guilty pleasure.
As guests head downstairs there is more to see, with a total of 18 themed areas ranging from sports stars to super heros. For guests who prefer Old Hollywood, they will be glad to see the likes of ‘Vivien Leigh’ and ‘Clark Gable’ dressed as if they were on the set of Gone with the Wind or ‘Ginger Rogers’ and ‘Fred Astaire’ cutting a rug.
Gerald Chaves, LA Tours and Dee Rojas
of LA INC. pose with a wax rendering of
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the opening of the new Madame Tussauds Hollywood
Believe me when I say your clients will marvel over how lifelike these figures look. Even to a point where it’s a little unsettling. My friend was truly creeped out when we crossed paths with a hungry ‘Hannibal Lector.’ Madame Tussauds sets the standards, as the company has been producing the wax doppelgangers for the last 200 years. There is a special Behind the Scenes exhibit near the end of the tour that lets guest see how the process is done. Tussauds Studio Sculptures travel the globe to meet the celebrities that they've been chosen to recreate. They then take extensive measurements, photographs, hand and even teeth casts to produce these pricy figures, each averaging a cool $300,000.
A trip here is a no brainer for movie buffs like me. Having spent countless hours in dark rooms gazing at the silver screen, to now look into the eyes of long-dead stars like ‘James Dean’ or climbing into a claw-foot shower behind 'Alfred Hitchcock,' makes the abstract movies I watched as a child a little more tangible. For clients visiting the museum, you can suggest they grab a bite to eat at the coffee shop at the historic Roosevelt Hotel across the street, find their favorite celebrities star on the Walk of Fame, then step in the shoe prints of stars like Marilyn Monroe in front on the Grauman's Chinese and see a movie inside the iconic theatre, to get the full Hollywood experience.