How The Wizard of Oz dress and other legendary parts get dropped in time

A blue and white checked gingham dress, worn by Judy Garland in the “Wizard of Oz,” hangs on display, Monday, April 25, 2022, at Bonhams in New York. The costume was located final calendar year at the Catholic College of The united states, and is on screen in New York City before currently being set up for sale next month by Bonhams. (AP Image/Katie Vasquez) Katie Vasquez/AP

How The Wizard of Oz dress and other iconic pieces get dropped in time

Abigail Adcox

May perhaps 14, 06:20 AM May well 14, 06:20 AM

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There’s no put like residence, but not for beloved motion picture props, which are frequently shed irrespective of their high industry benefit.

A blue and white gingham gown worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, located buried in the drama office at the Catholic University of The usa and envisioned to fetch more than $1 million at an auction later this month, is only the most current of the iconic pieces that had been at minimum briefly misplaced. Items these kinds of as the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, the treasure map from The Goonies, and the golden gun from The Man with the Golden Gun are amongst those people that have been lost or stolen about the many years.


Every set piece has its possess tale of how it was passed down following the motion picture or tv collection was about, Helen Hall, director of pop culture at Bonhams auction home, explained to the Washington Examiner. As the sector for film memorabilia only commenced to just take hold in the 1990s, parts may have been picked up by workers or actors on the established, Corridor mentioned.

“Again in the day, when these matters didn’t actually have a value, people who labored on the movies would consider things, and it was truthful match to just keep a costume or a prop or regardless of what,” Hall informed the Washington Examiner. “Now, the studios hold track of the props and costumes, and factors usually are not permitted off established. … Typically, it can be retained by the creation business or studio.”

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But there was nevertheless some sector for the memorabilia decades before, with MGM Studios auctioning off scores of film props in the 1970s. When the auctions concluded, the fates of the pieces were up to their homeowners, indicating quite a few props have been unaccounted for yrs.

“In 1970, MGM experienced a significant auction of their archives. So a good deal of people purchased things from that auction, like, Debbie Reynolds had a major auction of her assortment,” Hall claimed. “Matters kind of got lost for the duration of that auction, or the individual who was accomplishing the auction retained some for himself. And then these are things that occur to gentle just after quite a few, many yrs.”

The Wizard of Oz gown was donated by actress Mercedes McCambridge to the college in 1973 in honor of her mentor, Father Gilbert Hartke, although it is really unclear how she attained it herself. At the time Hartke retired, the dress became fodder for legends for a long time till it was uncovered within a trash bag in the drama department, the university’s library wrote in a weblog submit.

Other parts have been sold to non-public bidders and then stolen, these as the Aston Martin DB5 “gadget” vehicle utilised in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger, which mysteriously vanished from a hangar at an airport in Boca Raton, Florida, in the late 1990s.

Now, as set pieces are greater kept and regulated by manufacturing corporations, it has fallen to them to offer them off or store them — often for significant sums. Audrey Hepburn’s famed My Good Lady Ascot dress marketed for $4.5 million at an auction in 2011.

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Though the recent market needs necessarily mean future movies will possible have dedicated preservation endeavours, lots of props from films’ past will for good continue to be someplace around the rainbow.

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