Not Past It - Wax Heads Will Roll



Quintanilla is necklace.

Was broken.

Audrey, Hepburn’s dress with shredded somehow.

I don’t know how it looks like an animal got to her, but we can, they’re often not animals.

So I don’t know how that happened.

We’re trying to figure it out.


I’m at Madame Tussauds wax, museum with producer Olivia Briley.

We’re getting a behind the scenes tour from Matt Hills Horst.

It’s his job to take care of the wax figures, but when it comes to Avid fan, Fans there’s only so much he can do.

Somebody just took Justin Timberlake’s head.


Oh wow.

Right off the body and walked out the door and it was never been found.

JT headless or not is one of the many celebrities you’ll find in wax at the Museum’s multiple locations.

We’re here at the New York one, bright and early before the doors open to the public.


We quietly step through a dark maze of hallways and past rooms.

Full of a-listers.

Look, there’s Jennifer Hudson.

She’s got sparkly, pointy nails, on the nails.

She wore to the Met Gala.

She loved them so much.


She asked for her wax figure to model them forever.

I had to take her hands off and send them to her nail artist in Chicago and then work with her to put the exact jewels that she gave her.

The Met Gala onto her fingers fingers.


So, okay, sending your hands out of state for a manicure.

I didn’t know the icon M, even went that high.

We passed through the morning show section.

Wendy Williams beams from her signature.

Purple chair Oprah mic in hand.


Don’s the same glasses.

She wore in that famous.

Megan Markle interview, everyone.

You’d expect is here until we turn the corner.

And find ourselves face to face with a tiny old woman.

The Marie to so room in a dim room lit by a spotlight as Madame Tussaud In the Flesh, or I guess in the wax.


She looks like a dress down version of Marie Antoinette.

A big skirt over a petticoat her hair tall, white and powdered The Madam behind the museum, the woman who gave us this wax world.

All these years later, later was a real person and she went on to change the nature of celebrity forever.


From gimlet media.

This is not past it a show about the stories.

We can’t quite leave behind every episode.

We take a moment from that very same week in history and tell you the story of how it shaped our world.

I’m Simone palana in on December 1st. 1761 261 years ago this week Marie to.


So was born the real woman behind the wax today.

We’re telling the story of how she I helped create the celebrity machine that still Powers our culture all these years later.

So make sure to exfoliate because we’re about to get waxed after the break.


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with celebrities when I was a kid.

I lived in Amsterdam for a few years and of all the world-renowned museums across the city.

The Rembrandt Museum, the van Gogh Museum, the one I cared about the most was Madame Tussauds.


My parents were hesitant to encourage celebrity Worship in their little one, but finally at the ripe old age of 11, they decided It was time I’d get my celebrity fix.

It was everything I dreamed of.


I bet there’s an old digital camera somewhere with pictures of me.

Posing Charlie’s Angels Style with Lucy Liu, my girl, Drew and Cameron D.

All these years later I’ve returned to the promised land turns out.

It’s in Times Square.


I just assumed all this time that Madame Tussaud was like, Betty Crocker.

A Woman made up to Such a brand, but this waxy institution was actually built by an actual Madame Tussaud.

Before the giant museums Madame Tussaud was Marie, gross Holtz.


She was born and Strasbourg France in 1761 to a single mother.

Her father, a public executioner died.

Just before she was born.

Marie claimed in her memoirs that her family, was upper-crust basically the 1% though.


Let’s just say her memoirs.

Don’t seem to be fact-checked, but come on, you don’t become Madame Tussaud.

Out a little embellishment in reality after Marie’s father died.

Her mom went to work for someone who did have fancy credentials.


Here’s Pamela pilbeam historian and author of the book Madame Tussaud and the history of waxworks.

Her mother was the housekeeper for a walk, showman called, Philip coaches Philippe.

Courteous was a doctor turned wax sculptor back in the late 1700s.


Wow, ax was used to replicate cadavers for medical studies.

So it wasn’t an unusual career change to make back then and courteous was good at it.

He started making molds of living people which he showcased into popular exhibits in Paris exhibits.


Like these were favorites at Fairgrounds but courteous was putting on a more elevated version and after years of watching him work Marie now a team started training in the art of whack.

Work and she met a lot of the famous people who he modeled and worked with.



Philosophers and members of the royal family were courteous is clients and friends.

Is exhibits were popular places for the elites to hang out and talk philosophy while admiring the wax Murray had connections and a ton of natural Talent.


So when she turned 18, she finagled a job as an art tutor to none.

Other than Louis, the sixteenth sister.

She claims she even moved into the palace at Versailles though.

That part might be some classic Murray enhancement.


She may have occasionally visited the Royal Court, but she certainly wasn’t a royal employee.

This is one of those High claims that look good in her mind.


No matter the strength of her connection to the monarchy.


This was 1780s.

France being Royal adjacent, wasn’t a good thing ever.

Heard of this little thing called the French.

Evolution Marie you in danger girl, the revolution kicked off in 1789 and it took its bloodiest turn.


When a guy named Maximilien Robespierre, a radical Statesman came into Power.

He hated the monarchy and he wanted them and all their supporters to be punished for living the High Life while the common folk suffered He got his way and the form of 17,000 executions, and roughly a year, when anyone was being executed, that would be crowds killing out to watch the execution.


People love seeing other people’s heads being taken off.

Executions typically went like this.

The trader in question, would be escorted from a prison cell to the Town Square.

A wooden stage would be waiting there, empty, except for a guillotine beside it, a basket to catch the head once it went flying, the drop of the blade itself, was short and sweet and then the crowd would disperse.


So where was Marie during all this as a royal associate she could have lost her head but Marie was spared because she was useful to the revolutions leaders after an execution Marie.

Would swoop in she’d scoop up the head Trot over to the steps of the courteous wax exhibition and get out her mold making tools.


She talks about sitting up the foot of the goat about your Tumblr, making a wax head from the severed head of of the enemy of the Revolution, who’d been guilty of this young woman would sit there with I presumed a very bloody apron making the wax mold from the actual severed head.


Wow Murray.

Clearly had a strong stomach especially because some of the heads were up the very Elites she used to rub shoulders with like Marie Antoinette and Louis the 16th But this kind of aggressive, gross, sness was necessary.


Because the whole point of the wax exhibition was accuracy, as, in not, from memory, and not from pictures either, because photography hadn’t been invented yet.

So Murray would make molds of the recently executed, better known as death masks.


The waxworks became a bit like the 10:00 news.

Murray’s work.

Would keep the public informed about who was in and who was out and buy out.

I mean, like, you know, dead if she wants to know what happened recently in the revolution, you would go to the waxworks to have a look.


And they models of the people.

Who’d recently been involved, would be there in the exhibition in 1794 power shifted again.

Then when Robespierre was arrested by Frances new leaders and when he was executed Murray got right to work on his, head’s replica that same year.


Murray’s Mentor, Philippe, courteous, died.

And he left her a special inheritance, his entire wax exhibition.

This meant she now owned hundreds of wax figures and more importantly, the molds from which she could make more Murray.


Added to take her show out of the country and she had a very good reason to leave.


Her husband he’d given her two sons the to so name, and not much else when it came to Marie’s income, the civil code in France favored, the man of the house while she was with her husband in France.


All of the money that she earned was his Yeah, F.

That the only way Marie would get to keep her earnings was to leave France.

So at the turn of the century, she packed her bags, a few personal items, her oldest son, and the entirety of the wax exhibition, she’d inherited an expanded.


She crossed the English Channel and started touring the waxworks for a whole new audience.

Turns out Frenchie’s weren’t the only ones going crazy for wax You cannot she see the sense of wanting to go to Locks exhibition, free photography because people otherwise would have no idea what Napoleon or luisi 16 or Marie.


Antoinette look like Murray’s.

Traveling exhibition, hit all the touristy towns of the British Isles.

And she featured big British events like recreating, the crowning of Queen Victoria, most people didn’t see the coronation.

You haven’t got the stuff like we have now.


As you know, television, Etc.

So walks exhibition, was a way of doing that Murray’s waxwork stood out from her contemporaries for Figures were known for their impeccable detail.

She even got her subjects real clothes, upset, she had to buy them.


But then people started to give their clothes because her exhibition became well-known, she negotiated with the queen for a copy of the Gown that she wore for.

For both her coronation and for her marriage.


Murray was a shark when it came to business.

She brought in her exhibition to more than just Royals.

And Nobles started including real 15 minutes of fame types and whenever she toured, she made sure everybody knew about it with newspaper ads, posters.


And even some of the first mass transit ads.

Madame, Tussauds exhibition.

One of the most interesting sights in London is now open in the low third rooms.

Murray’s exhibition, toured around the UK for three decades.


Finally, an 1835 at the age of 74, she decided it was time to set down roots and give the exhibition a permanent home, right in the heart of London, instead of slowing down, maybe thinking about retirement Murray was just ramping up after the break.


Take two so’s becomes a global phenomenon plus we’ll talk to a real-life celebrity who’s had the honor of getting waxed.

There’s people every day that come up and say I saw you and madam truffaut Welcome back my celebutantes.


Before the break Murray to.

So now officially The Madam of her own wax Empire was finally setting down roots in London.

She chose the biggest space at the Baker Street bizarre, a set of old buildings around a courtyard used for horse sales and she hired her two adult sons to make wax figures alongside her in this new space Murray leaned into the niche, she’d honed in her French Revolution days.


Notoriety one of the main attractions was the so-called second room, dubbed the Chamber of Horrors.

It was a basement filled with criminals serial killers, all the most notorious bad guys, criminals sentenced to death, and eager for infamy, happily promised Murray, the very clothes.


They would be executed in a soon.

As that cushion is over the powers will be tight.

No rush.

Just to Baker Street on put on the model as soon as possible historian and author Pamela pilbeam.

Again the criminals like that to end of every dead.


The thought that it made them famous Every morning Murray would leave her house.

Cross the Cobblestone Road and open the museum to the public.

She kept a chair.


Next to the front door.

She always sucked at the entrance, taking the money and she wouldn’t let anyone else touch the money Marie.

Sold tickets at three different prices, the standard tear, a more expensive touching tear, for those who wanted to get up close and personal with the figures.


For the last hour of the day, she sold half-price tickets.

Now, no one had a reason not to come every night.

She can up the day’s profits and decide, which wax figures earned.

Their keep, the Duds would be replaced by new more exciting celebrities.


And when the invention of Photography did eventually come around, it only added to the popularity of her business.

I’m not tell you what is most significant once you’ve got photography, which is A 19th century is being photographed standing next to the model.


That was something that people loved to be able to do I.

Yes, the ancestor of the selfie.

If you will without a pedestal to stand on the Rich and Famous were brought down to earth and regular people could throw an arm around Napoleon’s shoulder.


See, if his height really warranted the complex, that was named after him by then it was the late 1830s.

He’s memory was at the peak of her success.

Everyone from school kids, to actual Royals visited Murray’s exhibition by now, officially named Madame to Soze.


Apparently, the Duke of Wellington spent a lot of time with Napoleon’s wax figure so much so that after the Duke died, Marie created a wax figure of the Duke and placed him opposite wax Napoleon.

So he could continue to Fanboy in the afterlife.


Life by the 1840s Marie was in her 80s and getting ready to hand over her wax Empire to her two sons after granting immortality.

To hundreds of people through her waxworks.

She decided to craft one last Model herself.


Marie pulled no punches in her self-portrait.

Remember accuracy Above All Else.

Her figure sat wearing a black, Victorian Bonnet, the front of the museum.

So the first wax figure you’d see would be the creator of all the rest in 1850 Marie died.


At the age of 88 her, son’s ran the business and then her grandchildren over 100 years later in 1970, the family expanded to a second location in Amsterdam.

Eight years after that.


But I’m too.

Usos was sold to the first of a series of conglomerates, that’s when it really went Global.

The first u.s. location opened in where else Las Vegas in 1999, dozens of museums followed celebration at Madame, Tussauds on the Las Vegas, Strip Flavor.


Flav hosted a party as the big day.

We’re finally open to the public, they’re everywhere.

From Orlando to Istanbul 25 in total.

And to fill all those museums you need celebrities, we wanted to know what it was like to be.


One of the stars who got made into wax so we called one up Hello.

Hey, this is actor Danny.

Trejo, his voice is almost as recognizable as his face.


It was never a dream, but it was the prize.

Everybody knows who is in Madame.

Truchaut, maybe you’ve seen him in the machete movies, Breaking Bad or the Cinematic, Masterpiece Spy Kids, check it out, the very latest spy watch, Total Communication Center right there on you.


He was immortalized in wax in 2019 and the modern process is a lot different.

Your honor round little thing that turns and they’re taking Picture picture, picture, picture, picture, picture picture.

They like measure every part of your, like, the measure of nose to.


I hear like her everything, forehead, nose, the lips, how wide your eyebrow.

I mean, literally everything Danny.

Has a signature tattoo on his chest, the names of his family, just above a giant, portrait of a topless woman in a sombrero.


So Madame Tussauds opted to make his figure shirtless arms stretched wide.

It took months.

Madame, Tussaud has always been so insanely meticulous, meticulous about look, he’s got a birthmark, you know, he’s got that scar, you know, and I’ve got a wound that God nobody even knows about and they got it on.


The process of getting waxed as the museum calls, it is an intense one, there’s a team of about 20 artists in London.

There’s like two people that make the clay sculptures and then those are made into molds.

Matt Hills Horst, the Museum’s manager here in Times Square explains.


The process is extensive and done by a whole group of Specialists.

Then there’s a team of people that will be just hair inserters.

Are people that will make just the eyeballs?

Or work just on the teeth as a person, that just will paint their face.


And then somebody that works in the classroom Department that will work on their outfit.

These wax figures are expensive to make around, 300,000 dollars on average celebrities asked to be taller or to have their hair lines, move down or to get a new wax nose to match the new real nose on their face for a celebrity.


Like Danny Trejo, it must be jarring seeing yourself in 3D froze.

And so if you had to grade your figure, what grade would you give it?

Hey, I’ll give it an A+.

Madame, Tussauds claims they don’t pay their subjects.


So for a busy celebrity, why would you say yes to such a Time?

Intensive request?

Wouldn’t you rather have a Ward’s or something to beef up, your IMDb page, Austin probably makes a good doorstop, but it’s just it’s just a trophy but unless it gets 150 degrees Madame Tussaud, it’s gonna stay there forever.


But I’m to so’s might be around forever.

Celebrity itself though isn’t exactly permanent.

I’m a time to so’s.

People get taken off the floor all the time.

For lots of reasons, maybe they’re not working enough.


Maybe they’re working, but their movies or their music Arendt.

Or maybe they’ve crossed a line and their personal lives.

But I’m to sews makes a point not to judge in the Times Square location.

Just like all the others, their concern is the wax figures and how much they can withstand take.


Will Smith, for example, for Will Smith after that?

Slap people come back.

Oh yeah.

I was gonna say after he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars this year, the public responded by slapping his wax.


Figure back Kanye West.

On the other hand was taken off the floor entirely after making a slew of anti-Semitic comments.

Matt Lauer went into storage after his sexual harassment Scandal, but Michael Jackson.

Enjoys Prime real estate on the floor.


Madame, Tussauds has a line for sure but it’s just as blurry as the larger celebrity machines.

It just depends on how relevant they still are.

If they like done something that’s egregious we will most likely take them off the floor and then they won’t be seen again.


Matt’s exaggerating they famously.

Don’t melt down there wax figures because Madame Tussauds knows that celebrities come back into fashion all the time.

So they hold onto the spare parts.

Just in case I am bring you over here and show you where we keep all the body parts.


We push past a set of doors and enter a room lit by fluorescence.

A crowd of headless bodies stands off to one side and disembodied, heads line, the shelves, all around us.

We we keep the As we keep the Pirates because you never know when that person may be relevant again or something like this.


Like Al Roker has lost a ton of weight, so then we’ve recreated Anew Al Roker but then we’ll just hang onto this body just in case Al Roker’s old body stands in a line with a bunch of others Dan Rather Daniel.


Craig other famous stands, probably we can’t tell because they don’t have heads just names stamped into their waxy torsos.

I have like just drawers.

There’s doors of spares, and a filing cabinet in the corner.


Hands, spare Arms.

This was up here, Jennifer Hudson’s extra hands, the ones without her sparkly nails.

Share a drawer with j–, Edgar Hoover’s.

Is this easier once they’re labeled and put away to just keep them there, just in case you never know, you just really, never know.


So it ends up being Call it Fascination, call it Intrigue call it Obsession but celebrity is still.

What keeps bringing people back to Madame Tussauds more than 200 years later.

Here’s the thing about wax.


That’s easy to shape an artist presses their fingers into it.

And suddenly that has meaning, it’s a sculpture of a baby.

It’s a death mask.

It’s Danny Trejo.

You can knock it over, steal it, I’ll take a picture with it.

It changes over time just like the people at imitates and yet it’s more permanent than any celebrity, whether they die or just Stop being famous Marie to.


So scratched a voyeuristic etch that hasn’t gone away.

Since the French Revolution, she created a temple devoted to celebrating our weird obsession with Fame and status and that’s why Madame Tussauds lasts.

When she made her own wax figure near the end of her life, Marie herself, joked that she was just as famous as the rest of her figures.


She got close enough to fame to take down, its details.

Then backed away.

As soon as she got what she needed in return, she got what she cared about.

Most immortality Madame Tussaud.

You will always be famous.


Not passed it as a Spotify original produced by gimlet and zsp media.

This episode was produced by Olivia Briley next week, we delve into the dark history of far-right, extremist em in the US, and bring you a story from the new Vice news and gimlet podcast.


American Terror, we did consider ourselves Trailblazers in the sense that if God called us to do something, nobody could do.

It better than us.

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Thanks for hanging.

We’ll see you next week.


Personally, his not ego but I think it’s one of the best ones there.

I’m you can tell, it’s John Wayne, you can tell his Charlie Chaplin but it’s like you know it’s Danny Trejo.

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