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Buena Park leaders approve removal of well-known Movieland Wax Museum sign

BUENA PARK – A longtime fixture of this city’s entertainment corridor will soon disappear, with Buena Park leaders agreeing to the removal of the iconic Movieland Wax Museum sign.

The City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved plans for an 84-foot-tall monument sign for the new Butterfly Palladium, and the removal of the Movieland sign.

Buena Park leaders are considering the removal of the iconic Movieland Wax Museum Sign. (Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register/SCNG file)
Buena Park leaders are considering the removal of the iconic Movieland Wax Museum Sign. (Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register/SCNG file)

According to staff reports, the new sign – expected to feature electronic display screens and computerized lights – will be north of where the 90-foot-tall Movieland Wax Museum sign sits.

The electronic sign will only be allowed to show content directly related to the Butterfly Palladium, not “off-site advertising,” Buena Park Senior Planner Brady Woods told the council.

The 8.7-acre Beach Boulevard property, formerly occupied by Movieland, was sold to the Butterfly Palladium in March 2015. Construction of the butterfly conservatory began in May 2016.

The well-known Movieland sign was initially expected to remain.

But, according to staff reports, the sign’s “size, age and diminished structural integrity” forced the Butterfly Palladium to reconsider.

On Tuesday night, Milton Solomon, vice-president of AD/S Architectural Design and Signs, which will construct and install the new sign, told council members that Movieland’s was built so long ago that city records of it couldn’t be unearthed.

“Not only that, but a lot of the sign is rusted,” Solomon said. “If you look up close, it is beyond belief.”

Solomon suggested that his crews could try to retain the main portion of the sign as it is taken down, and possibly turn it into a sculpture or some other work of art. He noted that the new sign would be about the same size as the wax museum sign.

“We have no option but to try … to preserve at least the intent of what was there before,” Solomon told the council. “Instead of having the stars that were above it, we have two butterflies.”

The Museum of Neon Art in Glendale has also offered to preserve part of the Movieland sign.

In a letter sent to the Butterfly Palladium, the museum offered to accept a set of bulb-and-neon diamond designs from the Movieland sign, which the museum noted were based on the pole sign for the Stardust casino in Las Vegas.

No timeline was given for the removal of the Movieland sign.

For more than 40 years, Movieland was a fixture in Buena Park’s entertainment corridor, drawing about 10 million visitors between it’s opening in 1962 and 2005, when declining attendance prompted its closure.

In recent years, the former museum site has hosted the popular Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, and BODIES… The Exhibition.

The new Butterfly Palladium is predicted to draw some 600,000 visitors a year to the city’s revamped entertainment corridor.

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I run this place. =)

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