Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mae West: Movieland Wax Museum

Logan Fleming, who calls himself "the best wax figure maker in the world," visited MAE WEST at home after she agreed to be sculpted and rendered in wax for Buena Park's celebrity memorial destination — — Movieland Wax Museum.
• • The California tourist attraction first opened in 1962. A commercial artist who was often commissioned to do billboards, Fleming was disappointed by the figures on display; he felt he could do a much better job and was, eventually, hired.
• • According to Peter Larsen, who did a fascinating article for the Orange County Register: Around 1970, the museum started sending Logan Fleming out to do sittings at the homes of celebrities who agreed to be memorialized in wax. He'd photograph them from every angle, measure their heads and facial features with calipers, and usually come back with a good story about what the stars were really like.
• • Peter Larsen writes: The cast of "Star Trek" were among the first stars he met. He also met comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin from "Laugh-In." And, in a particularly memorable encounter, he worked with Mae West, then in her 80s.
• • "She was a real tough baby," Fleming says of Mae West, whose full story takes up a large part of the book he wrote with co-author Suzanne Sumner Ferry.
• • "She was 83 and she was still wearing a little negligee."
• • Peter Larsen adds: Throughout the '70s, Fleming created wax figures, from start to finish. Allen Parkinson sold the museum in 1970, and Fleming survived several changes in ownership, serving as the museum's art director and sculptor for nearly 30 years. He also worked a few freelance jobs with other wax museums on the side. In all, Fleming figures he's worked on more than 1,000 sculptures, from the early ones he painted to the later ones he made from scratch.
• • Peter Larsen concludes: Movieland Wax Museum closed on Halloween, 2005, and it was a tough day for Fleming. "I think it broke his heart to see that and not know where (the wax sculptures) ended up," Suzanne Sumner Ferry says. As for the book they've written — — The Day the Stars Stood Still — — even though it's still being shopped to publishers, Fleming is happy that it simply exists. . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: "His Movieland memories are stronger than wax"
• • By PETER LARSEN
• • Published by: THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER — — www.ocregister.com
• • Published on: 17 December 2010
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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