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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Follow the Leader Wax Museum: Wax is Reborn

There are few things in this world I enjoy more then an old fashion wax museum.   Way back in 2011 I took a spontaneous roadtrip to Cave City, KY.  Cave City is a tourist mecca from a past time with alot of old decaying spots to check out.  You get the feeling that in a few years there won't be anything left.  I checked off a spot that had been on my list for years:  The Mammoth Cave Wax Museum.

Even by wax museum standards the Mammoth Cave Wax Museum was outdated.  In their Oval Office the most recent president was Jimmy Carter, but for some reason they let Nixon sit at the desk.  I guess I wouldn't want to argue with him either.


And they crammed Nobel Peace prize winner Ralph Bunche in there too.   Maybe they were hoping people would think he was Obama.

Each display was behind worn plexiglass.  As you moved to the next diorama the light would slowly cut on and a narrator would chime in explaining who the people in the room were.

There were some odd mixes as they seemed to struggle to find themes for each room.


Here we have Marion Anderson, Robert Kennedy, Billy Graham and the Pope.


And of course legendary best friends Neil Armstrong and Sammy Davis Junior.  BTW, Neil is holding an actual moon Rock.

The age of the museum really shows during the Dolly Parton presentation as they talk about her as a rising star in Country Music.


The place had some definite charm, as it was one of the last pure roadside wax museums......



Here are a few more notables from the Museum.


Charlie Chaplin.....


Robert E Lee and Andrew Jackson hanging out in a barn....


Jesus.......


Daniel Boone.....


German dwarf scientist that I forgot the name of.....


Geronimo in blue jeans.........

Then the bad news struck.  Less then a year after I visited the Museum shuttered its doors and auctioned off all the figures.  My hopes of maybe snagging one was dashed when I saw what they were going for.  They started off at 1,000 dollars.   Even this guy.......


But it turned out that the news would not all be sad.   35 of the figures were purchased by a man in Warm Springs, GA who sprung to action and quickly opened up a new museum: Follow the Leaders Wax Museum.

I had a chance to visit it last weekend and see some of my old friends.


The figures looked like they had taken a shower somewhere between Cave City and Warm Springs and were now displayed in well lit displays.  Instead of a recording the tour was narratored by a wonderful docent who was not only knowledgeable about the people represented, but had a great appreciation and knowledge of the Wax Figures themselves.


It was great to see the some of the old gang.

Dolly looks great....




Here is Neil Armstrong, sadly he was missing both his moon rock and Sammy Davis Junior.

They were still working one some quirks.....Apparently Eleanor Roosevelt's head keeps falling off.



One thing that the Cave City Museum failed to mention was that some of the figures were actually cast from the people they portrayed.  For instance, the Wax Figure of Albert Einstein was actually taken directly from
Einstein's face. 



The fact that the Cave City museum did not mention this is puzzling.  Even cooler, the figure is actually autographed by Einstein.  This was previously covered by his hair, but the new museum displays him so the signature can be seen.



One of the most interesting stories the docent shared was the creation of their Lincoln assassination scene.


Apparently, the Cave City Lincoln was on their wish list.....


Unfortunately they were out-bid.  Lincoln simply was too valuable and expensive, as a president of his stature should be.

However, out of the 35 figures they did purchase they did manage to score "Frank James".  The brother of this man: Jesse James.






Apparently Frank was Jesse's older brother and partner.  I had never heard of him, but I am guessing he was the Art Garfunkel of the James Brothers.


Of course the Frank James in Cave City, wasn't exactly a spitting image of Frank James.  He was an outlaw afterall, so he had a bandanna covering his whole face as he robbed a banker.


When Frank arrived in Warm Springs a worker at the wax museum pulled off the hankerchief and were shocked at what they saw.  Frank James was actually a re-purposed spare Lincoln!


The museum had managed to score a Lincoln for a Frank James price!

It was great to see these figures being preserved.  I would definitely recommend it for anyone passing through the state of Georgia. 

The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to e-mail me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
and check out my Flickr Photostream



5 comments:

  1. i wonder if some of the figures went to personal collections! i would have loved to see the kinds of people who turned out to that auction! did you ever get to go to the music valley wax museum of the stars in nashville? I made it just a month before it flooded and it was totally bizarre. the best thing they had was the crystal gayle with the hair down to her feet! and a creepy elvis with claw marks in the wax on his face!

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    1. I really wanted my own wax figure, but they arn't cheap....I definitely wonder where the other figures landed.

      I totally MISSED the Wax Museum in Nashville. It was totally on my list, but it was destroyed a year before I went to Nashville. :(

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    2. One part of the "Herby Moore Legacy" that the one that made "Mammoth Cave Wax Museum".. that no longer exists.. is that of "Huckleberry Hill and Harmony Towers." It was located, and remains are still there, I think? near the entrance area of the cave area.. that is the entry to the national park. The tower had a lot of "Christina artwork" .. the topper was that of a wax portrait of "The Last Supper" that was the most exact replica of the one painted on "the chapel!" When it went with the park, the exhibits went as well with the "supper" figures going to the Wax Museum in Cave City. They didn't have the correct space for such a display so they put it in one of the areas that wasn't making the crowd interested.. crowding all in a display that the artist would not have excepted.. even as storage!

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    3. Here is my visit to Huckleberry Hill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97XoYoR-pzA

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