One of just two wax figures of Michael Jackson created from an actual life mask has returned home to San Francisco after more than a decade and a half out of the state, according to the San Francisco Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum.
The figure was originally made for the San Francisco Guinness World Records Museum more than 25 years ago, and now it will be displayed in the San Francisco Ripley’s museum in North Beach.
According to Ripley’s, Michael Jackson unveiled the figure at the Guinness museum in June 1984, but the local museum closed in 1994. The figure was then taken to the Guinness museum in Niagara Falls.
Almost 15 years later, it was finally taken to the Ripley’s art department in Orlando, Fla., where it was reconditioned before being sent back to San Francisco.
In 1984, Jackson himself unveiled the figure in San Francisco just a few months after he won a record eight Grammy Awards for the Thriller album, according to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Inc., which hosts the Grammy’s every year.
The Guinness museum was located on Fisherman’s Wharf at the time, and according to Ripley’s, 5,000 people lined the streets in anticipation of Jackson’s unveiling.
Jefferson Street was closed off, helicopters flew overhead and marching bands played on the corners, Ripley’s said.
Jackson climbed up next to the figure in the museum’s front window, which was covered with a sheet of paper, and tore away the paper in front of the crowds.
Ian Iljas, the San Francisco Ripley museum’s current manager, was in charge of the Guinness museum that day and said the crowds were amazing.
“The wax figure was very popular for years,” he said.
Oscar-winning make-up/special effects artist Rick Baker created San Francisco’s wax figure using an actual life mask, according to Ripley’s. A second, identical figure was created for Jackson and spent years on display at Neverland Ranch. It is now part of the Jackson estate.