a museum dedicated to horror and science fiction

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A new tourist attraction has opened in Hollywood called Icons of Darkness. It’s home to the collection of former child actor turned producer / director Rich Correll, left, and includes props and costumes from well-known horror, sci-fi and fantasy films. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Hollywood’s next attraction destined to draw millions of annual visitors is a feast of movie monsters and sci-fi villains brought together by a former child actor-turned-director whose collectible hobby has grown to meteoric proportions.

Rich Correll, who has become a regular on the legendary boomer sitcom “Leave It To Beaver”, amassed a $ 15 million collection of props, costumes and other memorabilia he sounded for Icons of Darkness , a new pop-up attraction at the Hollywood & Highland Center that it hopes to transform into one of the nation’s most popular entertainment museums. Correll’s Vision: A destination for horror, sci-fi and fantasy fans on par with the venerable Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for music lovers.

At a recent party, Correll showed his collection to visitors with childish enthusiasm, laughing when the air blasts from the funhouse surprised viewers with Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, and figures of other nightmarish creeps dressed in nightmares. their movie costumes.

An alien-type mask can be found to the left of a person's mannequin.

An alien-like mask and scene are part of the collection of props, costumes, and other memorabilia used for Icons of Darkness, a new pop-up attraction at the Hollywood & Highland Center. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Among them are the little black witch dress worn by Margaret Hamilton in “The Wizard of Oz”, the Lon Chaney costume in “The Phantom of the Opera” and the Boris Karloff monster costume in “Frankenstein”.

Correll’s collection began when he and Jerry Mathers, the frontman of “Beaver,” worked together on the grounds of Universal Studios and “were huge monster fans” who loved horror movies and were thrilled with visits. at the makeup lab of the studio where the monsters were created, Correll said.

“It was heaven on earth for little kids who loved horror movies,” he said.

A black mask used in the

Rich Correll’s collection includes the mask used in the “Star Wars” movies and worn by the person who played Darth Vader. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The boy was shocked to see accessories and costumes that he thought were precious being thrown away, such as a costume for the actor playing the monster in “Creature From the Black Lagoon”. In 1959 or 1960, when he was no more than 12 years old, Correll said he found the nerve to take out of the trash a costume head from the 1953 horror comedy “Abbot and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde “and start a lifelong obsession. with collecting sci-fi horror and fantasy movie memorabilia.

“He was one of Hyde’s bosses,” said Correll, 73, “and I still have him.”

His collection is now the largest of its kind in the world, he said, and includes accessories as small as the Gremlins from “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” and as large as the life-size dinosaurs from the “Jurassic Park” movies. “.

Some models of dinosaur heads.

Dinosaurs from the “Jurassic Park” movies are part of the attraction’s exhibits. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

About half of Correll’s collection is on display at Hollywood & Highland in a first-floor location on the Boulevard which is a compact preview of what will be the museum’s largest long-term home when it opens in late April, a- he declared.

The most permanent attraction on the Hollywood & Highland floor will be called Icons of Darkness / The Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Hall of Fame, he said.

“We plan to do everything the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame does, but more frequently,” he said, such as induction ceremonies, celebrity appearances and other live-broadcast events.

There will also be a store, he said, “where you can buy zombie-related stuff, but also play games” such as “toss brains at zombie heads” and shoot dead people. living.

Parts of Hollywood and the Highlands are closed while the center is undergoing a $ 100 million renovation intended to make it more modern and attractive to locals as well as tourists. Up to half of the space in the booming mall will turn into office space for rent, reflecting the harsh climate for retail stores and Hollywood’s emergence as one of the city’s premier office markets.

Batman, Superman and Spiderman are among the superheroes featured in the Icons of Darkness attraction.

Batman, Superman and Spiderman are among the superheroes featured in the Icons of Darkness attraction. It houses the collection of former child actor turned producer / director Rich Correll. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

According to Correll’s calculation, it’s time for the traditionally less critically acclaimed side of the film industry to gain cultural respect in line with its appeal to audiences.

Westerns and musicals have grown in popularity, for example, but “the only continuing genre in film history that has never failed to make money or has never gone out of fashion has been the ‘horror, science fiction and fantasy’. he said. “And yet the city never really paid homage to these films, even though these were box office champions in the years that other films won Best Picture awards.”

The museum’s location next to the historic TCL Chinese Theater, where millions of annual visitors step into the concrete footprints of movie stars, places it at the center of Hollywood tourism, which is growing even as the pandemic persists.

From April to June, pedestrian traffic on Hollywood Boulevard jumped 153%, according to a study by the Hollywood Partnership, a business improvement program for stores along the boulevard and other stakeholders. Hotel occupancy rates in the Hollywood / Beverly Hills area fell from 52% in April to 72% in July, according to STR, a global hotel data and analysis company.

The occupancy rate of the upscale Dream Hollywood hotel has passed 85% and revenue from food and drink sales has started to exceed pre-pandemic figures, chief executive Vaughn Davis told the Times in August.

“It’s fair to say that tourists are coming back,” said Drew Planting, chairman of the board of directors of Hollywood Partnership.

Two men are standing, the man on the right wearing a face mask, while another man wearing a mask is seated.

Memories of the film “The Silence of the Lambs” are part of the attraction. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Correll’s partners in the museum are film producer and real estate developer Elie Samaha, and entrepreneur and film producer Steve Markoff. Samaha announced in August that Hollywood flagship restaurant Yamashiro, with which he cooperates, will open a new branch in the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro.

Correll, who studied film at USC with director George Lucas, has been a producer, director and sitcom writer since 1977. His credits include “Happy Days”, “Laverne & Shirley” and “Fuller House”.

“In 2004, I created the Disney show ‘Hannah Montana’, which ended up being a huge hit for Disney,” he said. “So I’ve been involved in comedy, comedy, comedy literally my whole life. My hobby was the polarity of that, collecting fantastic and horror stuff. So I like to make people laugh and j likes to scare people. It’s kind of fun. “

The arrival of Correll’s high-profile partnership demonstrates Hollywood’s resilience, Planting said.

“Hollywood is all about the names, for better or for worse, so the support of this museum has a lot of influence,” he said of Correll. “He’s someone who’s in the industry, who’s been successful in the industry, who’s well-known, well-capitalized – all of those things resonate in Hollywood.”

Icons of Darkness joins nearby tourist stops including Madame Tussauds Hollywood and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on the Walk of Fame, which provide an alternative to more sophisticated venues such as the social media fan-favorite Immersive Van Gogh exhibit on Sunset and Cahuenga Boulevard and the city’s formal art museums, said Don Skeoch, director of marketing for the Los Angeles Tourist Board. and the Congress Council.

“Museums like Mr. Correll’s that celebrate the Hollywood industry only strengthen LA’s place as a city where one can get closer to the magic of the movies,” said Skeoch.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.


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