A version of Dorothy’s dress from ‘Oz’ goes up for sale

Judith Zeng

NEW YORK — It’s a person of the most recognizable outfits in American film heritage, the blue-and-white checked gingham gown a younger Judy Garland wore as Dorothy in the basic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.

For decades, a single of the variations of the dress Garland wore in the movie was assumed dropped at Catholic University of The us, exactly where it had been provided to a person in the drama department in the early 1970s. But the clearing out of some workplace muddle final yr led to the getting of the dress in an old shoebox, and now it’s headed for the auction block.

When she 1st observed it, “all I could think about was seeing the motion picture when I was a youngster and increasing up with” it, mentioned Jacqueline Leary-Warsaw, dean of the university of audio, drama and art at Catholic University, in Washington, D.C. “In a way it was like I was seeking at my past childhood.”

She and other folks are hopeful that nostalgia factor will come into engage in when the costume goes up for sale at Bonhams “Classic Hollywood: Film and Television” auction on May perhaps 24 in Los Angeles, the place it has a presale estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million. Bonhams has the gown on display screen this 7 days at the auction house’s New York locale ahead of it is despatched to California for general public watch and then auction.

Helen Hall, director of popular society for Bonhams, said that the sector for memorabilia, and movie costumes in individual, is powerful, and that The Wizard of Oz is a cultural touchstone.

Men and women “very considerably bear in mind the 1st time they observed the movie, the effect it experienced on their lives,” she stated. The film is renowned for its audio, its dialogue and its visuals, specially when Dorothy goes from drab, sepia-coloured Kansas to gloriously multicolored Oz.

There was more than one particular of the costume designed for Garland whilst filming. Corridor said that 4 are recognized to exist and that only two, such as the one identified at Catholic University, are with the blouse she wore beneath. Bonhams marketed the other one particular with a blouse at an auction in 2015 for much more than $1.5 million.

(There are also some surviving pairs of the ruby slippers Garland wore, with 1 pair in the collection at the Smithsonian.)

The rediscovered gown had to begin with been supplied to Father Gilbert Hartke, who was then head of the university’s drama division, in 1973 by actress Mercedes McCambridge, Leary-Warsaw said, even though it is not crystal clear how McCambridge arrived to have it.

By some means, in the years that followed, the section lost observe of the costume until eventually it became “something that folks had thought was just a fantasy,” she said. Past 12 months, during preparations for a renovation, a bag made up of the shoebox was opened, and there it was — however how it got to wherever it finished up remains a mystery, Leary-Warsaw explained.

The dress was in good issue, aside from a piece that had been reduce away, whilst the shirt was a lot more fragile.

In investigating the dress, it was decided that Garland wore it in the movie in the scene in which she is confronted in a castle by a threatening Wicked Witch of the West.

The college determined to auction it off in its place of maintaining it, and strategies to use the proceeds from the auction sale to create a whole-fledged movie method in the drama section.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see a lot more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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