Having grown up in Southern California, pretty much ALL of my fondest childhood memories are associated with places and things that are unique to the Sunny State. Alas, as happens, many of the places near and dear to my heart are no longer around. Lion Country Safari is long gone, Busch Gardens is just a memory, and Movieland Wax Museum is no more. But one extinct attraction that few people remember was Movieworld! And it was a favorite of mine. Located in Buena Park, Movieworld was originally a museum-like attraction that featured mostly cars and planes from famous Hollywood movies. But as a small child, when I first became aware of it, the place had expanded into having one of the greatest movie prop collections ever assembled.
The original Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet was there, along with his car from the movie. The Seaview Sub from “Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea” was there too. George Barris had cars there. They had thousands of props from tons of movies. One of my favorite things to see was the original Leslie Special and Hannibal 8 from “The Great Race.”
In addition to the prop and car collection, the place was set up like an amusement park, with slides and tunnels and a “booby trapped” WWII bridge you would cross that sent jets of air past you as if they were Nazi bullets. There was a snack bar and, of course, a gift shop.
At the time I was really too young to appreciate everything I was looking at, but I still loved going just for the sheer sensory overload! Little did I know that both Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Kenny Howard a.k.a. Von Dutch, both worked there and painted most of the signs by hand. Imagine how much those signs must be worth today! They also used to hold concerts there, and it is said Van Halen played one of their first gigs at Movieworld.
I only got to visit Movieworld five or six times before it all came to an end. Movieworld closed All of the cool props were sent into storage and later auctioned off. I have managed to collect a few items from Movieworld, including some brochures, postcards and an awesome brass VIP Member card.
Rest in Peace, Movieworld! You are missed, and not forgotten!