Judy Garland’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Dress Up for Auction

In an indelible scene from “The Wizard of Oz,” the colorful green Wicked Witch imprisoned the scared Dorothy by threatening to harm her dog Toto if she didn’t take off her sandals. its ruby ​​red color.

The shot was memorable not only with the bright red color of Dorothy’s shoes but also with her striking white and blue gingham print dress – one of several that teenage girl Judy Garland wore in one of the First major film shot at Technicolor, 1939.

“The dress is a legend, but no one has seen it since the late 1980s,” said Jacqueline Leary-Warsaw, dean of the school of music, drama and arts at Catholic University of America in Washington. . A priest at the head of the drama department was given the dress in 1973, but the university has lost track of it.

The university now hopes to auction it off for at least $1.2 million, with money going toward a new film program. It will be on display Saturday at Bonhams New York, 580 Madison Avenue in Manhattan, where the public can view it through April 29. Then, on May 24, it will be featured at auction.” Bonhams Classic Hollywood: Film and Television” in Los Angeles, Bonhams announced this week.

Garland has worn several versions of the flimsy blue-and-white dress, but only one other version – used elsewhere in the film – is known to still exist. Julien’s Auctions sold it for $480,000 in 2012. Bonhams sold the same dress for nearly $1.6 million in 2015. The auction house also sold a Cowardly Lion costume worn by actor Bert Lahr for more than $3 million the previous year.

This second dress was found by accident last year, in a shoebox, inside a bag, on top of some faculty mailbox. Dean Leary-Warsaw says that “a myth surrounds the drama department, but no one really knows if the story is true or not.

The story goes that a friend of Garland’s, Mercedes McCambridge, then an actress and artist living at the university, gifted it to the former head of the school’s drama department, Father Gilbert Hartke, in 1973.

Photos have been available of it from that time, but the dress was “stowed away” in the 1980s and the university appears to have lost track of it, the principal said.

That changed last year when Matt Ripa, an instructor and operations manager at the drama school, was cleaning in preparation for a Hartke Theater renovation and found the bag on top of the mailboxes.

“I opened the bag and inside the bag was an old shoebox and inside the shoebox I saw a blue and white gingham dress,” Mr Ripa said on Friday. “And I know exactly what it is.”

His first reaction? “‘Oh my God!'”

He told a colleague to get some latex gloves and he took some pictures of the dress, which he said he had heard about since being hired in 2014.

“It’s one of those noble stories,” he said. “You have heard stories from former students and faculty about how Father Hartke was given this dress,” adding “I never laid eyes on it.”

After folding the dress and putting it back in the box, he took it to the campus storage staff. They have come Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Dean Leary-Warsaw said to help authenticate. She noted that the museum has famous ruby ​​slippers.

When reading about the discovery last year, Helen Hall, the director of popular culture for Bonhams in Los Angeles, said on Thursday that she was stunned and immediately contacted the university.

“These outfits are exceptionally rare, and the collector community thinks all the surviving dresses have been accounted for,” says Hall. “For a surface more than 80 years after the film was released is unbelievable.”

The dress includes a fitted top, a turtleneck blouse, and a full skirt, with an inner fabric label that reads “Judy Garland 4223.” Bonhams said that the dress was appropriate for the scene where Dorothy faced the Wicked Witch of the West in her castle.

In addition to paying for the new film program, proceeds from the auction will be used to award Father Hartke a position of dean, Dean Leary-Warsaw said.

“We love the dress, but it has never been widely displayed or shared in over 50 years and we hope it will now,” she added. “And, maybe this will inspire others to learn about it to check out their own closets and offices for hidden treasure.”

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