Ocean City Oddities: Boardwalk Memories in Wax

Ocean City Oddities: Boardwalk Memories in Wax

Original 1992 brochure for the Ocean City Wax Museum
Original 1992 brochure for the Ocean City Wax Museum

Happy New Year! My name is Brandon and I am a longtime enthusiast, chronicler, and author of Ocean City’s amusement and boardwalk history. I have been collecting and archiving Ocean City memorabilia for over 20 years and am excited to share some of my unique findings and knowledge in the form of a collection called “Ocean City Oddities” with those who value Ocean City and its history as much as I do. Not all pieces shared will be particularly weird or unusual, but I consider them odd in that they will depict information that may not be common knowledge. What will be common, though, are the memories we all share about OC’s rich history, and I look forward to reliving the memories of yesteryear with you all!

In September of 1995, it was officially announced that the Ocean City Wax Museum, which opened its doors in 1991 in the Pier Building on the boardwalk, would close its doors forever after just four years in operation. When the museum first opened, it claimed to be the largest wax museum on the East Coast.

The museum was developed and operated by C.M. Uberman Enterprises out of Gettysburg, PA and included over 150 lifelike figures displayed in “Seven Wondrous Worlds in Wax.” Such iconic figures as Elvis, Willie Nelson, Marilyn Monroe, Superman, Groucho Marx, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Jackson were all featured within the museum’s dark, winding hallways. Many of the wax figures in the museum were manufactured by Henry Alvarez of Alvarez Wax Models in Long Beach, California, and were sculpted with secret sculpting and painting methods passed down through the years by his mentors.

The themed areas of the museum included The World of Stars, The World of Music, The World of Movieland, The World of Discovery, The World of Make Believe, The World of Courage, and The World of the Horrible. Each display was often accompanied by rich sound effects and lighting.

After the Ocean City Wax Museum closed, the wax figures were sold and auctioned off one-by-one to both commercial operations and private collectors all over the country. Although the museum left indelible memories on so many, most notably the large painted mural on the outside wall that featured Frankenstein, information about the attraction remains rather illusive given its short tenure on the boardwalk.

Iconic wax figures as they looked upon entering the first corridor of the Ocean City Wax Museum
“All Shook Up” – Elvis presides among other iconic figures in the attraction’s first corridor.

It is interesting to note that the American Civil War Wax Museum in Gettysburg, which was also founded by C.M. Uberman Enterprises in 1962, closed on December 31, 2013.

Feature photo by Debra O.

2 Comments on this Post

  1. I remember this well. So it’s opened in 1991? I really seem to remember seeing a wax museum there in the 80’s as a kid. Was there another one there as well? What else has occupied that building? I know there was a laser tag place at one time.

    Reply
    • I too remember one from an earlier time, I’m thinking 1970’s. There was an old fashioned main street with a little cafe in the center of the second floor of the pier building and the Wax Museum was beyond that.

      Reply

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