Friday, October 21, 2016

Movieland Wax Museum - Chamber of Horrors

Since Halloween is less than two weeks away, let's do another SCARY Movieland Wax Museum post!

The museum's Chamber of Horrors used to feature Elvira greeting guests at it's entrance.

Elvira even appeared in person at the unveiling of her wax likeness.

Her hand and footprints still exist in the cement out in front of the old museum building.....or what's left of the building. (As of today, the facade is still standing, but a large portion of the building behind the facade is currently being demolished. I'm not sure if any part of it will be kept, or if it is all going to be coming down. Hopefully, the celebrity hand and footprints out front will be preserved!)

I took that first Elvira photo during a visit to the museum back in 1991. I took the following two pics during my next visit which was in October of 2005, just a few days before the museum closed forever. At some point during those 14 years between my visits, Elvira was removed from the museum altogether (why?) and replaced with Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman.

During a visit back in 1976, I had my picture taken with the Wolfman in the museum's "Monster Photo Gallery".

I found a similar shot for sale on eBay.

During that same visit back in 1976, my brother had his picture taken with the Frankenstein figure. Unfortunately, he can't find it, but a friend of mine gave me permission to post his souvenir photo of him with his brothers. I actually posted this one previously in my Movieland Wax Museum's Haunted House & Frankenstein post from last October.

Dracula "meets" the Mummy (Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, respectively). These next two photos were taken in the Chamber of Horrors in 2005.

Dracula and his victim had originally appeared in a different setting as seen in this vintage postcard.

This photo of the Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney Sr.) and actress Mary Philbin as "Christine," was also taken in 2005.

Here's the official postcard shot of the same scene.

Vincent Price from House of Wax, taken in 2005:

Notice how the set had changed from when this professional shot was taken.

Norman Bates isn't quite himself today! This is how the Anthony Perkins figure appeared in 2005.

The scene was quite different back when this postcard shot was taken. Note the Psycho House up on the hill outside the window, and also the stuffed bird under glass on the table.

Michael Myers from the movie, Halloween:

And last but not least, we have Linda Blair (not credited on the clap board) from The Exorcist. The head on this figure rotated 360 degrees. Too bad it didn't also spew pea soup out of it's mouth!

Movieland has now been closed 11 years this month. The old sign is still standing (for now) out front. As you can see, a Starbuck's sign has been added to it. Starbuck's moved into the former Movieland gift shop (Starlite Gifts) long before the museum closed and it is still open for business today.

A theater complex and a butterfly pavilion are supposedly going to replace the former museum building. As mentioned earlier, this facade is also still standing at the moment. However, the letters on top of the building were recently removed. Last weekend, I shot some photos and video footage of certain parts of the museum being demolished. I will try to get those posted in the near future, if anyone is interested.

If you are an Elvira fan and want to watch a pretty funny clip of her interacting with her wax figure live at Movieland Wax Museum, you can click on the link below. It is from her official "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark" Facebook page, so you will probably need to be a member of Facebook in order to view it: Elvira on TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Kraft Salutes Walt Disney World's 10th Anniversary

Today is Walt Disney World's 45th anniversary! To celebrate, we will be going back 35 years to when the Magic Kingdom was only 10 years old. Even though the park already had it's anniversary in October of 1981, CBS aired the television special, "Kraft Salutes Walt Disney World's 10th Anniversary" three months later, in January of 1982.

Let's take a look at the TV Guide listing for that anniversary special. Here's the cover of the January 16, 1982 issue of TV Guide.

Actually, before we look at that listing, here is what was playing that week on the Walt Disney television series (formerly Disneyland, Walt Disney Presents, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, The Wonderful World of Disney, and Disney's Wonderful World).

Tales of the Apple Dumpling Gang was a made for TV movie and a follow-up to the theatrical releases, The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975) and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979).

The TV movie led to a TV series about a year later, starring Barry Van Dyke (Dick's son) in the title role of Russell Donovan (played in the original film by Bill Bixby and in this TV movie by John Bennett Perry). For some reason, the series was titled Gun Shy. It only lasted for six episodes before being canceled. I vaguely remember watching that series....or at least some of it.

Now let's look at that 10th anniversary special. Dean Jones and Michelle Lee (from Knots Landing) were reunited for this special. They had previously starred together in the 1968 Disney film, The Love Bug. Dana Plato (from Different Strokes) and Ricky Schroder (from Silver Spoons) play their children, while Eileen Brennan (from Private Benjamin) plays an aunt.

Michael Keaton plays a cast member with multiple jobs in this special, including a bellboy, a waiter, a valet, and a clerk in a souvenir shop at the Contemporary Hotel. He even sings (sort of) with Michelle Lee and Dana Plato.

At the very end of the special, the announcer reminds viewers that "All of tonight's recipes (which were shown during the commercials) can be found in tonight's listing section of TV Guide Magazine, and at many stores." Matterhorn Chicken? But Walt Disney World doesn't have a Matterhorn!

Also on TV that week: People of the Year: The 25 Most Intriguing People of 1981. That would be a hoot to watch today!

Bert Convy was back with an all new version of Tattletales. Incidentally, the original Tattletales from the 1970's currently plays on the "Buzzr" channel. I'm addicted to that channel and Match Game '78!

And Meryl Streep was appearing in a new musical special, Alice at the Palace.

If you want to watch the Walt Disney World special (minus the Kraft commercials), I've included a link to it below.

The show is just as corny as most of the Disney TV specials were back in the day. From the Tour Guides and Small World Hostesses drooling over John Schneider while he serenades them, to Dean Jones singing (sort of) to Ricky Schroeder about "Fathers and Sons", it's definitely a cheesefest....and even a bit uncomfortable at times. But if you're a fan of vintage Walt Disney World, or a fan of any of these celebrities, it's definitely worth watching.

Oh, and José the parrot, makes a cameo appearance in a souvenir shop at the Contemporary Hotel at the 24:00 minute mark. I wonder if that was a real souvenir that used to be sold, or if it was one of the actual animatronics from the Tropical Serenade/Tiki Room attraction?

A similar special sponsored by Kraft, had aired in 1980 for Disneyland's 25th anniversary. I have that issue of TV Guide as well (with more themed recipes!), so I will try to get that one posted soon. (Post Update: That issue of TV Guide can now be seen here, Disneyland's 25th Anniversary.

Happy 45th anniversary, to Walt Disney World!

**Post Update (10-12-16):

I'm adding these pages from the same issue of TV Guide, because of the Mr. Merlin comment (below) by Major Pepperidge. I'm sure it was a wonderful show! With Elaine Joyce in it, it couldn't have been all that bad, could it? Barnard Hughes was also starring in the original version of Disney's Tron, which had a theatrical release in July of that same year.

Also....after writing this post, I came across this promotional pic of Ricky Schroder in the 1981 Walt Disney Productions Annual Report: