We once tried to buy a photograph of Woody Allen. We called the photographer to ask about availability, and he laughed at us. "That's not Woody Allen," he explained condescendingly. "That's a wax figure of Woody Allen." Then he began hemming and hawing, talking about how much trouble it would be to find the negative and make a print. (Artists, bless 'em, can be real pieces of work themselves.) Flustered by the entire conversation, we politely told him not to put himself out and decided not to pursue the acquisition. But here's the lingering question: had the photo been of Woody Allen himself and not an uncannily lifelike wax figure, might we have worked past the photographer's primadonna attitude and secured a print? I mean, we loved the photo, but did it feel somehow less authentic in its waxy afterglow? Here's what we do know about wax figures:
- "Every day a wax figure is taken for a live man, and live people are mistaken for wax." —Richard Panchyk, New York City History for Kids, 2012
- "The complexion of a wax figure is indeed a work of art." —American Cloak and Suit Review, 1918
- "A wax figure is not cheap, especially a good one." —Dry Goods Reporter, 1906
- "A wax figure is a material thing." —L. W. Forguson, "Has Ayer Vindicated the Sense-Datum Theory?"
- "A wax figure is understood by us as something constructed by an intelligent mind." —Jehangir Nasserwanji Chubb, Faith Possesses Understanding, 1983