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The Story Behind Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Universal Studios

Madame Tussaud’s Sculpter Creating the Wax Frankenstein

Universal Studios, an industry leader in creating horror films, celebrated the anniversary of several Universal classics horror classics in 2001. In a landmark relationship, Universal Studios Home Video (USHV) joined Tussaud’s Group of London and Madame Tussaud’s worldwide attractions to pay tribute to Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Development of the Dracula, Frankenstein and Mummy characters for Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museums coincides with USHV’s 2001 national campaign for a new Golden Era of Horror, celebrating several “monstrumental” anniversaries that have defined Halloween entertainment for generations. And, this is the first time Madame Tussaud’s has created wax figures of celebrities in costume and character makeup.

Madame Tussaud’s artisans created lifelike wax figures of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula persona to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Dracula (1931). The film combined gothic and supernatural elements to create an eerie, unforgettable story of the undead. Dracula established horror as a viable genre in the emerging era of talking pictures and was one of the most influential films of its day.

Larry King
Larry King checks out eyeballs for his wax figure.

Boris Karloff’s portrayals of Frankenstein and The Mummy are immortalized in wax alongside Dracula. Also celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2001, Frankenstein is considered by many critics to be the greatest horror film of all time. Based on Mary Shelley’s gothic novel, the film, directed by James Whale, was a milestone in the genre. This film expanded the use of special effects, while Karloff’s nuanced performance made the creature both oddly affecting and deeply terrifying. The Mummy (1932) remains a monster movie classic. A high priest, the Mummy, was embalmed alive for trying to revive a vestal virgin after being sacrificed. The Mummy is accidentally revived after 3,700 years by a team of British archaeologists and he sets out to find his lost love. Seventy years after initial release this brooding, dream-like film remains a masterpiece.

The three classic monster wax figures are featured in Madame Tussaud’s New York. “For more than 200 years, Madame Tussaud’s has created incredibly lifelike figures of the world’s most recognizable individuals,” said Robert Roger, acting CEO for The Tussaud’s Group. “With enthusiastic support of Universal and the Karloff and Lugosi families, we have the unique opportunity to pay tribute to two renowned actors and their contributions to the early success of the horror genre on film.”

Madame Tussaud’s New York displays nearly 200 celebrities along with Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy. The New York facility opened on November 15, 2000. It is a prestigious, $50 million, 85,000 square foot, five-story interactive attraction located at 234 West 42nd Street in New York, The museum is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For information online visit their website at www.madame-tussauds.com or contact them by phone at 800.246.8872.


About Chris Molnar

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One comment

  1. MADAM TUSSAUD IS AMAZING

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