There are plenty of bad wax museum horror stories flying around of a buddy going to a dinky county fair and being traumatized by the sight of a waxen Mickey Mantle looking like the Make-A-Wish kids he used to visit. But if there was one waxatorium that you'd expect to really nail it when it comes to mimicking America's biggest stars, it'd be the Hollywood Wax Museum Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.
And you'd be wrong.
The Hollywood Wax Museum is one of the oldest and longest-running people-candle museums on the West Coast. It's been around so long it had to update its stock of the who's who of Tinseltown several times over. In 2009, this led to the largest one-time auction of wax people in American history with 169 lots. The auction lots are still available for viewing on the LiveAuctioneers website (and many have recently been lovingly cataloged by Wyatt Duncan on Twitter), where you can gaze in amazement at both wax figures and how much people were willing to spend on a statue of what no one will believe is supposed to be Julia Roberts.
But who can really blame people for going a little spend-crazy on these amazing replicas? For anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousands of dollars, you could own celebrities as diverse as (counter-clockwise) post-cancer Patrick Swayze, BDSM Tituss Burgess, Adrien Brody spotted at a Ren Faire, and, of course, the real-life Rudy Giuliani.
Splurge some more, and you could even get iconic screen couples, like the power duo of Nicole Kidman and her husband, New Mexico public defender Tom Cruise.
Or the eternal Titanic lovers of an Arizona matinee lounge singer and my grandma.
Or if sci-fi was more your speed, you could instead have opted for the Back To The Future package and have joined in on the adventures of nursing home gigolo Doc Brown and Marty McFly prematurely aged after seeing his parents bang it out in the back of a '52 Buick.
You could even get a deal on the full cast of Home Alone, who somehow manage to all look like different phases of Ellen Degeneres.
You might be wondering: who actually bought these unholy waxen homunculi? Turns out, Christians and perverts. The highest bid of $13.000 was spent on the acquisition of a wax Last Supper, featuring Jesus Christ hanging out with twelve Salvation Army store mannequins.
I'm not actually sure what movie that scene is from -- I'm guessing The Breakfast Club? Is it the deleted breakfast scene from The Breakfast Club? What cannot be mistaken is from which movie the highest-grossing single wax figure came from. That honor went to a $6.500 replica of a Michelle Pfeffer. Dressed as Catwoman. Lounging with her cat-ass up on the floor like a discarded Real Doll. For that kind of money, they could've gotten all four Beatles! Okay, one John and three Ringos in different states of decomposition.
But you don't pay for the craftsmanship; you pay for the story you get to tell. Like with this wax figure of Forrest Gump which, according to the auction blurb, was once replaced with the actual Tom Hanks so he could play a prank on a distracted Geena Davis -- probably because she was wondering where that wax figure of Tom Arnold from some obscure Tennessee Williams play had gone off to.
With that kind of pedigree, it's no wonder that the auction was a rousing success, netting the Hollywood Wax Museum almost half a million dollars in profits. Sadly, not all wax figures found a new home to haunt. Some, like cursed puppet Jerry Lewis and Men's Rights Activist Bruce Willis, were left unsold and likely discarded after the sale, never again able to fulfill their destiny: To scare children who got dragged to a wax museum by their depressed, divorced dad during his court-appointed weekend.
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Top Image: Hollywood Wax Museum via Twitter