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Friday, March 31, 2023

Dorothy’s ‘Oz’ dress, lost for decades, up for sale

NEW YORK — One of the most recognizable outfits in American film history, the blue-and-white checkered gingham dress was worn by a young Judy Garland as Dorothy in the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.”

For decades, a version of Garland’s costume in the film was believed to be lost at the Catholic University of America, where it was given to someone in the drama department in the early 1970s. But breaking out of some office clutter last year led to a discovery of the dress in vintage shoes, and now it’s headed to the auction block.

When she first saw it, “all I could imagine was watching the movie when I was a kid and growing up with it”, said Jacqueline Leary-Warsaw, School of Music, Drama and Art at Catholic University. of Dean, in Washington, D.C. “In a way it was like I was looking back on my past childhood.”

She and others are hopeful that the nostalgia factor will come into play when the costume goes up for sale at the Bonhams “Classic Hollywood: Film & Television” auction on May 24 in Los Angeles, where it fetched $800,000 to $1.2 million. Pre-sales estimate of . Bonhams has the dress on display this week at the auction house’s New York location before being sent to California for public viewing and then auction.

Helen Hall, director of popular culture for Bonhams, stated that the market for memorabilia, and especially film costumes, is strong, and that “The Wizard of Oz” is a cultural criterion.

People “remember a lot the first time they saw the film, how it affected their lives,” she said. The film is renowned for its music, its dialogue, and its visuals, especially as Dorothy moves from dull, sepia-colored Kansas to spectacular multicolored oozes.

There were several costumes made for Garland during filming. Hall said four existed and only two, including one found at a Catholic university, were accompanied by the blouse she wore underneath. Bonhams sold the blouse at an auction in 2015, along with another, for over $1.5 million.

(The Smithsonian also has a few surviving pairs of ruby ​​slippers Garland wore, with one pair in the collection.)

The rediscovered costume was initially given to Father Gilbert Hartke, who was then head of the university’s drama department, in 1973 by actress Mercedes McCambridge, said Leary-Warsaw, although it is not clear how McCambridge had it. Came.

Somehow, in the years that followed, the department lost track of the costume until it was “something that people thought was just a myth,” she said. Last year, while preparing for the renovation, a bag containing the shoebox was opened, and there it was — though how it ended up remains a mystery, Leary-Warsaw said.

Dorothy'S 'Oz' Dress, Lost For Decades, Up For Sale
The gingham dress worn by Judy Garland in “Wizard of Oz.” ( Associated Press Photo/Katie Vasquez)

The dress was in good condition, except for the cut piece, while the blouse was more delicate.

In search of the costume, it was determined that Garland was wearing it in a scene in the film where she encounters a dangerous evil witch from the West in a castle.

The school decided to auction it off rather than keep it, and the drama department plans to use the proceeds from the auction sale to create a full-fledged film program.

World Nation News Desk
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