How The Wizard of Oz gown and other legendary items get shed in time

Dorothy's Dress
A blue and white checked gingham dress, worn by Judy Garland in the “Wizard of Oz,” hangs on exhibit, Monday, April 25, 2022, at Bonhams in New York. The gown was uncovered very last year at the Catholic University of America, and is on exhibit in New York Town ahead of getting put up for sale upcoming thirty day period by Bonhams. (WHD Photograph/Katie Vasquez) Katie Vasquez/WHD

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

Abigail Adcox

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

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Tthis is no location like house, but not for beloved motion picture props, which are routinely lost despite their high industry value.

A blue and white gingham gown worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, found buried in the drama division at the Catholic University of The usa and envisioned to fetch over $1 million at an auction later this thirty day period, is only the most recent of the iconic items that ended up at the very least briefly misplaced. Pieces this sort of as the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, the treasure map from The Goonies, and the golden gun from The Gentleman with the Golden Gun are amid those people that have been missing or stolen over the decades.


Each individual established piece has its possess story of how it was passed down following the movie or tv sequence was around, Helen Hall, director of pop culture at Bonhams auction residence, informed the Washington Examiner. As the current market for movie memorabilia only began to take maintain in the 1990s, items may have been picked up by employees or actors on the established, Corridor said.

“Back in the day, when these issues did not actually have a price, people today who labored on the movies would just take stuff, and it was fair game to just keep a costume or a prop or no matter what,” Corridor told the Washington Examiner. “Now, the studios preserve keep track of of the props and costumes, and items are not authorized off set. … Usually, it is retained by the output enterprise or studio.”

But there was continue to some market for the memorabilia a long time earlier, with MGM Studios auctioning off scores of movie props in the 1970s. When the auctions concluded, the fates of the items were up to their house owners, meaning numerous props ended up unaccounted for many years.

“In 1970, MGM experienced a huge auction of their archives. So a large amount of persons acquired stuff from that auction, like, Debbie Reynolds had a significant auction of her selection,” Hall mentioned. “Factors sort of acquired lost in the course of that auction, or the human being who was accomplishing the auction retained some for himself. And then these are things that come to mild soon after many, a lot of yrs.”

The Wizard of Oz gown was donated by actress Mercedes McCambridge to the university in 1973 in honor of her mentor, Father Gilbert Hartke, nevertheless it is unclear how she obtained it herself. At the time Hartke retired, the gown grew to become fodder for legends for decades right until it was uncovered inside a trash bag in the drama division, the university’s library wrote in a weblog write-up.

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

Now, as established parts are much better stored and controlled by manufacturing corporations, it has fallen to them to sell them off or retailer them — typically for hefty sums. Audrey Hepburn’s famed My Good Woman Ascot costume offered for $4.5 million at an auction in 2011.

While the existing market requires signify foreseeable future movies will probable have focused preservation attempts, quite a few props from films’ past will forever stay someplace about the rainbow.

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