Hollywood Wax Museum on track for summer debut in Myrtle Beach

dbryant@thesunnews.comJanuary 13, 2014 

A rendering of the Hollywood Wax Museum planned for the former NASCAR Cafe building.

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The Hollywood Wax Museum is on track for its debut in Myrtle Beach this summer, with crews busy renovating the building and a new general manager for the attraction on board.

Tim Ruedy, who has about 30 years of experience in attractions and whose resume includes a stint with Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc., joined the wax museum in December and will hire staff and oversee development of the attraction, which plans to open this summer in the former NASCAR Cafe building at the corner of 21st Avenue North and U.S. 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach.

Crews are busy transforming the roughly 26,000-square-foot building into a wax museum that will feature between 80 and 100 figures of movie stars, athletes and other celebrities, though officials are being tight-lipped on which stars will be included in the Myrtle Beach venue. Only one celebrity figure has been confirmed: the classic John Wayne.

In addition to the wax museum, the building will house two smaller attractions and have interactive features that aren’t available at the other three Hollywood Wax Museums, though Ruedy and other officials are staying mum on those details as well.

“Wax figures will include a mix of classic and current film, TV and music stars,” said Aileen Stein, a spokeswoman for Hollywood Wax Museum. “We are working on brand new interactive opportunities that will be exclusive to the Myrtle Beach facility.”

This is the same Hollywood Wax Museum as the original one on Hollywood Boulevard that debuted in February 1965 with life-size wax figures of celebrities and has been owned by the same family since then. In addition to the one in Hollywood, there are museums in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Branson, Mo.

“It’s a classic attraction,” Ruedy said. “It’s got long-term appeal. It’s something that is still very popular.”

The popularity of smartphones -- which has put a camera in nearly everyone’s hands -- has lent itself to an attraction like Hollywood Wax Museum, where guests are urged to snap photos posing next to figures of their favorite stars, Ruedy said. No more running out of film or worrying about having to get the shots developed, he said.

“Certainly, strike a pose,” Ruedy said. “This is the one where people can get close to them.”

But guests will be encouraged not to get too close -- no touching, Ruedy said.

With Ruedy on board, the next hire will be a curator to keep the figures in good shape. The curator will be in charge of repairs that will include sculpting and painting, costume upkeep and overall maintenance.

Hiring for the other jobs -- between about 15 and 20 full-time and seasonal employees for administrative, box office, gift shop and maintenance work -- is expected to start in April. Jobseekers can apply by emailing jobs@hollywoodwax.com.

The Hollywood Wax Museum will operate year-round in Myrtle Beach.

Ruedy moved to Myrtle Beach in February 2006 to become B&C’s vice president of operations for the sports, entertainment and recreation division, then joined Parc Management in Myrtle Beach when B&C sold some of its amusement venues to that company. He’s also had stints at venues including Six Flags, Knott’s Camp Snoopy at Mall of America and Mid America Festivals, and most recently was with Frontier Communications in Myrtle Beach. B&C owns the spot where Hollywood Wax Museum will operate.

“Tim is an excellent addition to our team,” said Tej Sundher, whose grandfather founded the original Hollywood Wax Museum. “He brings strong operational knowledge and shares our core values, especially when it comes to working with others in the community and industry and focusing on excellent customer experience.”

The attraction brings life to a high-profile building that has sat empty for more than five years, though renovations started a few years ago on a Pat Boone theater that never materialized.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at dbryant@thesunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.

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