I could also title this posting, “Remembering the body of one’s work.”
The results of my blog search for the Lloyd Thaxton Hot Rod were dismal at best. Not one of my fans seemed to remember the George Barris hot rod give-a-way event, much less have any idea who might have won it.
No problem. As I have done for years (a lot of years), I move on.
New question: Does anyone remember the fact that my persona was once preserved in wax and displayed amidst the figures of Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles at The Hollywood Wax Museum? I say, "once displayed," because it hasn't been there for years.
If you are not interested in what happens to celebrity car designer Hot Rods, you might at least be interested in what happens to celebrity wax figures when said celebrity is no longer in the limelight. My first thought was that perhaps when they sculpt the figure they insert a wick in the head just under the hair line. When the celebrity’s star fades, they simply uncover the wick and light it. There might even be a wax specialist who oversees this operation. Perhaps a person who does bikini waxes, for example, That way the melted wax is saved for future use. Recyclable celebrities, as it were.
Let me tell you what I REALLY believe.
But first: After the Lloyd Thaxton Show went off TV, I experimented in a lot of program areas and ended up producing and directing the syndicated program and NBC Today show regular “Fight Back! With David Horowitz” for 18 years. One of the most popular features of the show was our “Commercial Challenge.” They were done with tongues kept mostly in cheek and were tremendously fun to direct and shoot.
One such challenge was a writing pen commercial that made the claim their pen would write continuously for one mile without clogging or running out of ink. This was a great challenge. Better, actually, than most TV reality challenge shows of today (we were years ahead of our time).
To authenticate the challenge, we measured and determined that it was exactly one mile from Hollywood’s Pantages Theater to Mann’s Chinese Theatre at the western end of Hollywood Blvd.
Perfect! Not only a true challenge but with a lot of possible celebrity sightings along the way.
We arrived early morning with our TV production crew, several huge rolls of paper, one pen, and started rolling the paper down the sidewalk while Hollywood pedestrian volunteers and a few celebrities along the way kept a steady hand while writing on the paper. The challenge took from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., segueing easily into the Hollywood Blvd nightlife scene and we had it all on tape.
Result: The pen passed the challenge with flying colors (black being all colors).
What has this to do with the Hollywood Wax Museum and the missing Lloyd Thaxton wax figure? Stay with me. About half way down the Boulevard, we came to the entrance of the museum and stopped to take a break. You can imagine how tiresome it was to keep laying down rolls of paper for one mile and then rolling them back up again afterwards (the ball of rolled up paper ended up being about five feet in diameter).
While we rested in the museums vestibule, show producer Gil CoFrancesco, decided to go in and try to find out what happened to my wax dummy (I never referred to it as a wax “dummy”). Had it been melted down? Was it now just a wax figurine? If not, where was it? These were questions that had to be answered before anyone would continue with the pen commercial challenge.
The curator of the museum, after checking his records, went to a set of drawers in the back and looked for my remains (remains? Not a good omen). All he could find was my head (what was my head doing in the curator’s drawers?).
Gil brought the head out to the street and I posed with it as everyone on the crew, and a few on the street, took pictures (one of which is shown above). They were all somewhat akin to the fisherman posing with his prize catch-of-the-day).
But the one question remained, “What happened to my body?” I’m glad to report that I now have the answer.
It’s obvious in this review of The Hollywood Wax Museum on the web-site
“For all the shrieks you hear coming from the Hollywood Wax Museums Chamber of Horrors, it turns out to be a relatively tame hallway of wax movie monsters, enlivened only by an occasional unexpected gust of air and a single disembodied head that pops up howling (when you break an invisible beam of light). So don't be afraid to go inside. But be warned that some of the torture scenes and dismembered bodies depicted here get pretty gory, and might be considered unsuitable for young children.”
It is obvious that old wax dummies never die. They just cross-fade away into another scene, I’m glad to finally report that my brief venture into celebrity waxdom did amount to something worthwhile after all.
Lloyd Thaxton’s head is now popping up scaring teen-agers instead of entertaining them. And his “dismembered body might be considered unsuitable for young children.”
All things considered, I think I would rather be part of LA’s “melting pot.”