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WATCH: Interview with Chris Bess, Communications Director at Madame Tussauds Hollywood

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National News / Entertainment

Saturday, 1 August, 2009 9:35 PM

Madame Tussauds opens new wax museum in Hollywood

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Madame Tussauds is located at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Calif.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

(Quicktime Video)

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- A second wax museum has just opened in Hollywood, right next door to Grauman's Chinese Theatre. This is the ninth Madame Tussauds museum to open and the first to be built from the ground up, at a cost of $55 million. Not only can the guests see the wax figures, visitors are encouraged to touch them, sit next to them and dress up as characters from their favorite films, television shows and sports competitions. The new museum includes three floors and 18 themed zones with over 100 wax figures.

Guests can see a figure of Marilyn Monroe in the courtyard of the museum as she recreates the Grauman's Chinese Theatre hand print ceremony. Visitors will also see a life-like figure of Samuel L. Jackson just outside the main entrance. Upon entering the box office area, guests will see a statue of President Barack Obama, where there was a long line for photos.

"It's going to be a brand new attraction right here in Hollywood," said Chris Bess, Communications Director at Madame Tussauds Hollywood. "Basically anyone who comes to Hollywood can come see their favorite Hollywood star come to life. There are different figures and experiences in each Madame Tussauds. Here in Hollywood, it's all about celebrity and filmmaking. We've taken away the velvet ropes -- we don't have any barriers to keep people from touching the figures."

Visitors can test their singing ability at the American Idol section of the museum. Simon Cowell will give you his thoughts on your performance with a pre-recorded video message. Guests can pose for a picture with the show's host Ryan Seacrest or with Cowell behind the judge's table.

"It feels amazing to the be next to the Grauman's Chinese Theatre," Bess said. "This is the perfect location. First of all, when visitors come to Hollywood, they expect to see stars. So many people come and look at the hand prints and foot prints in the Chinese forecourt, they also look at the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Now, these people can see their stars life-size. Fans just love being able to come up, touch the figures, get up close, take pictures with them. That is truly one of the things that makes Madame Tussauds different from any other attraction."

In the Spirit of Hollywood part of the museum, visitors will see statues of Johnny Grant, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe. Guests will also notice statues of Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Howard Hughes, Bob Hope, James Dean, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Judy Garland and George Burns.

"It's great, we're having a lot of fun," said Dana Wright, a museum visitor from East Liverpool, Ohio. "We're taking a lot of pictures. I like George Clooney. We left our cousin over at Thousand Oaks at the coffee shop. She didn't want to come in. She's going to be sorry."

Westerns are also featured at the museum. Guests can see John Wayne, Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood. A few footsteps away is the Crime section of Madame Tussauds which features wax figures of Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Hannibal Lecter, among others.

In the Modern Classics section of the museum, visitors will notice statues of Tom Hanks as he offers a box of chocolates in Forrest Gump and Eddie Murphy dressed in his Detroit Lions jacket from the Beverly Hills Cop films. Guests can step into the boxing ring with Sylvester Stallone from the Rocky films.

"I think it's fabulous," said Marla Wilson, a museum visitor from Carson, Calif. "We saw Samuel Jackson and President Obama. It's been well worth it. I've heard a lot about it. It's fascinating. We're going to come back. We want to see Michael Jackson. I kind of like them all. Beyoncé is a favorite of mine. I think if Michael Jackson was here, he'd be my favorite. I like the American Idol. I karaoked Michael Jackson 'Black and White.' Simon didn't like me."

Comedian Jim Carrey welcomes guests into the making movies section of the museum, which resembles a studio back lot. Visitors will also see Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Robin Williams, Steven Spielberg, Cameron Diaz and many others in this area.

For all the sports lovers, there's even something for you. Visitors can watch Tiger Woods before he attempts his next putt, pose for a picture with Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant and race alongside Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France. Skateboard legend Tony Hawk soars high above in the air in this section of the exhibit.

"It's really cool, the people really look life-like," said Josh Isler, a young museum visitor from Akron, Ohio. "I didn't put any hats on but we thought about it. [American Idol] was taken when we got there but it looked cool. Just really cool."

If you like action heroes, you can get your fix at Madame Tussauds. Guests will see Antonio Banderas smashing through a glass window in Zorro, Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, Bruce Willis as police officer John McClaine, Halo's Master chief and Australian Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Fantastic Four star Jessica Alba has her first wax figure in a Madame Tussaud museum.

Beyoncé Knowles narrates how the figures are made at the next section of the museum. Guests can match eye samples with celebrity photos and answer fun quizzes about the figure making process. The Awards Ceremony is the final themed zone at the museum. Visitors will see Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry here.

Madame Tussauds Hollywood is located at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The museum will have extended hours through Sept. 7 and will stay open until 10 p.m. The last ticket is sold one hour prior to closing. Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for children (4-12 years), $20 for seniors and students with a valid ID and children under age four are free.

Click here for more information on Madame Tussauds Hollywood. Click here to save 10% off tickets when purchasing online.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

People are checking out the new Madame Tussauds museum.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A woman gets a photo with a wax figure of Marilyn MOnroe as she gets her star on the Walk of Fame.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

People are in line to purchase tickets to the museum.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

People are getting a photo with a wax statue of President Obama.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Three girls pose for a picture with Joan Rivers.

 

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