Thursday, June 25, 2009

10,950 Nights at the Museum



Aren’t you forgetting the ruby slippers?” Glinda inquires wryly.

With that, the Wicked Witch’s attention is diverted from a trembling farm girl clutching her little dog to red shoes protruding from beneath a dilapidated farmhouse. Then, magically, the ruby slippers vanish before our eyes only to reappear in dazzling crimson brilliance on the feet of Dorothy Gale. Dorothy gasps in astonishment and in that moment, the Wicked Witch is seduced, mesmerized by the allure of the ruby slippers. And so are we.

Early Oz productions did not include magic slippers, silver, ruby, or otherwise. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum originally gave Dorothy silver slippers, but MGM wanted to take full advantage of the new Technicolor technology. It was thought silver would appear too dull and they desired a more dramatic contrast against the yellow brick road. The task to assign the shoes a different hue fell to scriptwriter Noel Langley. While making numerous revisions to a May 1938 script, Langley crossed out silver and inserted ruby.

Upon viewing an actual pair of ruby slippers for the first time, many people are surprised to find the shoes are actually deep burgundy in color. Again, Technicolor is to blame. Technicolor required the use of very intense lighting so the color of the shoes needed to be darkened to achieve the desired effect on film. True red shoes would’ve given off an orange cast.

Both MGM and Western Costume claim to be the makers of the ruby slippers. Perhaps it was a joint effort. No records survive to verify either claim, but the shoes were designed by MGM costume extraordinaire Adrian, as were all the Oz costumes.


And like many of the costumes, the ruby slippers underwent multiple modifications. A prototype pair of ornately beaded shoes with curled up toes, similar to the silver slippers as illustrated by W. W. Denslow for Baum’s fairytale, were abandoned after Judy Garland modeled them. They were decidedly too elaborate, more suited for flying carpet rides than skipping down a road of yellow bricks. They are now known as the Arabian Test Pair.

A plainer pair of shoes, perhaps too plain, was worn during Richard Thorpe’s brief, ill-fated tenure as director of The Wizard of Oz. After his dismissal, the appearances of the major characters were altered and that included a make over for the ruby slippers.  Finally came the sequined design with jeweled bows, simple in their elegance while simultaneously bewitching with their beauty. They were painstakingly crafted using 2300 sequins, 46 rhinestones, 42 bugle beads, and 3 jewels.

Duplicates were made to don the feet of Judy Garland and her double Bobbie Koshay for dancing, walking, close-ups, and photo ops. The exact number of shoes produced remains a mystery.

The ruby slippers were too identifiable to be re-used in other MGM films. After Production 1060 wrapped in March 1939, one pair was put aside for publicity and later given away in a 1940 film contest. The others were relegated to the Ladies’ Character Wardrobe warehouse where they languished presumably forgotten, gathering dust for 31 years. The public, however, didn’t forget and the ruby slippers would emerge as one of the most enigmatic, beloved icons the world has ever known. Thanks in part to an anonymous donation made to the Smithsonian Institution.

Despite an illustrious career, film behemoth Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had been floundering amid a $35 million loss in 1969, the largest deficit in the studio’s history and the death knell reverberated loud and clear. The last nail in the coffin was pounded with a gavel wielded by the David Weisz Company during an 18 day auction of sets, props, and costumes. Pieces of glamour, Americana, and magic were scattered haphazardly like dust in a tornado.

Allegedly, several pairs of ruby slippers were recovered by costumer Kent Warner, but only one pair, the pair showing the most fatigue, was turned over for the star wardrobe auction. However, the worn condition of the shoes suggested they were relied upon heavily during filming and more than likely used by Judy Garland. The remainder was smuggled out of the studio for clandestine sales.

Coincidentally, and perhaps sadly, the auction commenced on Stage 27 on the MGM lot. The very soundstage where the Munchkinland sequence was filmed. Lot W – 1048 hit the auction block the evening of May 17, 1970. Opening at $1000, the spirited bidding quickly winnowed down to 2 parties. Within 46 seconds a victor was declared with a winning bid of $15,000, a huge sum for a costume piece especially at a time when the average price of a new home was $23,400 and the movie memorabilia market hadn’t yet been established. The ruby slippers were squired away to a man shrouded in anonymity known only as a “California millionaire.” His prize was kept under lock and key until they were delivered into the capable hands of the Smithsonian in December 1979.

The ruby slippers as displayed for the Weisz auction


Their heels hadn’t been tapped together in 40 years, but their luster burned brightly and they still captivated with their spell. The Smithsonian recognized the true value of the ruby slippers lied not in monetary worth, but in film history, American culture, and the dreams we all dare to dream. The ruby slippers shot to stardom once again as one of the Smithsonian’s prized and most popular attractions joining the esteemed ranks of the desk Thomas Jefferson used to pen the Declaration of Independence, the compass that guided the Lewis and Clark expedition, Abraham Lincoln’s hat, and the Star Spangled Banner. An estimated 3 – 5 million visitors each year come specifically to see Dorothy’s magic shoes.


The Smithsonian's original modest display

Their popularity has been put to good use promoting the Smithsonian in advertising and on souvenirs such as t-shirts, mugs, books, and calendars.

"There's No Place Like the Smithsonian": this postcard shows a photo used in national circulars and periodicals


The adventures of the ruby slippers do not end there. Their life post Oz has been just as marvelous. Most of the time they are happily ensconced in the National Museum of American History basking in the admiration of throngs of admirers. On occasion, they are brought out to enchant a broader audience.

In 1994, the shoes from the Land of Oz ventured to the Land of the Rising Sun. Smithsonian’s America: An Exhibition on American History and Culture was comprised of 300 objects chosen from the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum. The slippers were part of the National Popular Culture section for the month and a half long exhibit at American Festival Japan ‘94. While the Smithsonian’s shoes were out, another pair was loaned by Philip Samuels to insure a perpetual presence at the home front.

The Smithsonian entertains millions of visitors a year, but still felt there was a need to reach more people. To celebrate their 150th anniversary in 1996, the Smithsonian mounted the largest traveling exhibition to date. Each of the Smithsonian’s 16 museums was asked to submit a list of their 20 most important treasures. America’s Smithsonian hit the road for 2 years. Ten million visitors were expected to visit the free exhibit. The ruby slippers were one of the artifacts featured on the cover of the companion book.

Red, Hot, and Blue: A Salute to the American Musical was a showcase designed to illustrate the history of the musical in its various incarnations from 19th century vaudeville to Broadway to Hollywood films and the influences they still have on present day. Again, Philip Samuels graciously loaned his shoes to represent The Wizard of Oz.

The National Museum of American History closed duration of two years for sorely needed renovations necessitating a relocation of objects the public should not be denied. A Treasures of American History temporary display was put into place in the Air and Space Museum.




During this time, actor Bruce Willis donated memorabilia from the successful Die Hard franchise. He stated that anyone who worked on the films would be thrilled that the artifacts are part of the same museum exhibit as Dorothy’s slippers. Willis then declares “I think the ruby slippers are way cooler.”

Oprah Winfrey caused quite a stir during her January 28, 2008 show focusing on ‘Classic Americana’. Dr. Brent Glass, Director of the National Museum of American History, presented the ruby slippers to be showcased during this episode. In spite of repeated refusals to Winfrey’s request to touch the shoes, and blatantly ignoring Dr. Glass’s explanation of their fragile state, she proceeded to grab them anyway pretending to tap the heels together. It wasn’t just Oz fans that were appalled. Oprah’s regular viewer ship was aghast she would manhandle a delicate American treasure. Their displeasure was apparent via several chastisements on her message board.

Last November, the National Museum of American History threw a grand bash to celebrate its highly anticipated re-opening. Dorothy from the national touring company of The Wizard of Oz played by Cassie Okenka was on hand to welcome the ruby slippers back to their refurbished digs.



Judy Garland wore an array of memorable costumes throughout her extraordinary span of film, concert, and television appearances, but none rival the fascination elicited by the ruby slippers. It’s hard to believe footwear that cost $12 - $15 to manufacture could create enough furor so as to be the subject of two documentaries, a full length “biography”, and a slew of collectibles long before shoe figurines were in vogue. But these are no ordinary shoes. The ruby slippers are a symbol of innocent enchantment and hope that which we long for most is finally within our grasp. They have achieved the same legendary status as any of the principal cast members of The Wizard of Oz.

Over the years they have developed a fervid fan base propelling lifelong Judy Garland/Oz fan Steve Jarrett into action. The Judy Garland Database was one of the first websites Steve found during his early internet explorations. He was amazed at the wealth of information but dismayed to find his favorite Judy era wasn’t represented. Eager to express his reverence and tap into a neglected niche, Steve conceived his own tribute: Judy Garland – The Live Performances.


The Ruby Slippers Fan Club
evolved from a single page featured on his Judy Garland website after it inspired rapturous response from visitors. Whether you are a passionate enthusiast or mildly curious, once you have delved into all the site has to offer, you’ll be passionately enthused whether you want to be or not! There’s truly nothing else like it. The site is a treasure trove for Oz and Judy Garland fans of course, but fans and scholars of Hollywood’s golden age, fashion, and film costuming will find a great deal to appreciate. It’s impossible to describe in words the depth of love and respect Steve has for Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz, but his enthusiasm is infectious and his sincerity garnered him an invitation to Christie’s Auction House in New York City to view and hold the ruby slippers owned by Anthony Landini before they were to be auctioned in 2000.


The Ruby Slippers Fan Club has been referenced and researched for myriad Oz related projects. Still, Steve couldn’t have imagined what his next ruby slipper endeavor would be.

Days before the Oprah Winfrey debacle, Steve received an email from the prop master for the sequel to the Ben Stiller film Night at the Museum. Night at the Museum is a charming, lively film about Larry Daley who takes a job as a night security guard for the Museum of Natural History in New York City. Larry hopes his new occupational venture will bring some much needed stability into his life. However, once the sun goes down, Larry is subjected to one wild romp after another when the museum’s, oftentimes unruly, inhabitants come to life. The sequel takes place at the Smithsonian Institution and has been granted the distinction of being the first Hollywood production permitted to film within its walls.



The film wanted to include cameos of the museum’s hottest properties and naturally that included the ruby slippers. The production team had to decide whether to purchase a pair of slippers or have them specially made. Seeking advice and for the sake of authenticity, they reached out to the ruby slipper community. After a flurry of emails during the first week of February, it was decided Steve Jarrett would make the shoes.

They couldn’t have found a more devoted ruby slipper aficionado to step up to the task. Right away Steve was intrigued by the premise and zestfully seized the opportunity to return the ruby slippers to the silver screen during the 70th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.

The shoes were needed for shooting the week of June 8th. Despite working two jobs, Steve diligently endured the tedium of sewing sequins during the precious little free time he had. They were completed May 30th and shipped off to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Steve was told director Shawn Levy was happy with the shoes, then Steve anxiously awaited word from the set. His patience was rewarded when he was given a sneak peek of the scene with his slippers.

Hank Azaria as Kahmunrah examining the ruby slippers

The first week of July the production team asked to keep the shoes longer than originally planned. They were mulling over using the shoes during the film’s climax. When the shoes finally returned home, a bow was torn off one shoe and half the sequins on one side were turned in the wrong direction! It appeared they’d survived quite a night at the museum! The finished film shows no evidence explaining the rough condition of the shoes, but there’s always hope for deleted scenes on a forthcoming DVD/Blu Ray release. Steve was glad for the experience and the opportunity to remind modern film makers and audiences of the magic of Oz.

Steve's shoes currently on display at the Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh N.C.

From MGM’s dingy, bereft loft, the ruby slippers were rescued from oblivion and at last entrusted to the ‘nation’s attic’ where they rest in stability protected from environmental hazards. How exactly the donation occurred is a story still waiting to be told. The Smithsonian itself was something of a donation by James Smithson, a Briton who never set foot on American soil. Has the anonymous winner of Lot W-1048 ever roamed the halls of the Smithsonian? Has he inconspicuously ventured to the Museum of Natural History to thoughtfully gaze at his former property? Does he regret his decision? We’ll probably never know.

Some say Mr. Anonymous was discontented after his shoes were found not to be the only pair in existence. Some say he was in need of the tax write off. Many believe the power of the ruby slippers is too awesome for one person to bear alone. Perhaps Mr. Anonymous grew to feel the same.

Whatever his motivation, whatever led him to conclude the Smithsonian was his answer, he has done a great service to the children of the world, the lovers of Oz and Judy Garland, and the multitudes who still believe three little taps will make their dreams come true.


Thank you.



**Correction: Iman1138 is lman1138. I apologize for the confusion.



Museum Pt. 2: Collecting Ruby Slippers


A pair of screen worn ruby slippers is a little out of the average collector’s price range. The last pair auctioned in 2000 sold for $666,000 and surely they’ve appreciated to the million mark since then.

Although, they were never handled by Judy Garland or even appeared in the 1939 film, there exists a more valuable pair. Celebrated jeweler to the stars Harry Winston crafted one of kind ruby slippers to commemorate the Wizard of Oz’s golden anniversary. The size 4 Lucite shoes were designed by Ronald Winston and it took artisan Javiar Barerra two months to set 4600 genuine rubies and 50 carats of diamonds. They are valued over $3 million making them the most expensive shoes in the world. But their worth is not to be judged solely by dollars and cents. The Harry Winston ruby slippers have taken part of tours benefiting children’s charities such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Starlight Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.




Western Costume produced fully licensed reproductions molded from Judy Garland’s original last. A limited edition of 500 pairs was planned, but production was reportedly stalled after less than 20 pairs were sold. However, Western Costume still has shoes available for a cool $5000.





For the Dorothy’s that love to accessorize, Kathrine Baumann fashioned a Swarovski crystal minaudiere which sold for $2562.00. Katherine Baumann loaned one for display in the To Own the Wizard: Oz Artifacts section of an exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz housed at the Library of Congress.


“What would Dorothy wear now?” was the question posed by Saks Fifth Avenue Fashion Director Michael Fink. Saks, partnered with Warner Brothers and Swarovski, commissioned 19 footwear design wizards to create stylish ruby slippers befitting a contemporary Dorothy. Swarovski donated the crystals and only one simple direction was given by the Saks fashion director. “Go wild. Have fun with it!” The ravishing Ruby Slipper Collection debuted at Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in New York City in September of 2008. The shoes will be auctioned at a gala event in September 2009 at Tavern on the Green with all proceeds going to The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. Each pair is estimated at $1000 but factor in the Oz theme, designer names, and a worthy charity and the prices realized will probably be much higher.

Several design sketches from the Ruby Slipper Collection are featured on a limited edition postage stamp set




Warner Brothers Consumer Products extended the challenge to create modern representations of the ruby slippers to students of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Hopefuls aspiring to win the coveted spot in the Ruby Slipper Collection as the 20th designer were allotted limited time to submit their sketches. A panel of fashion experts selected Kaddie Lam’s exquisite design to join the respected assemblage of innovators of footwear design and her shoes will be included in the fall auction. Kaddie ingeniously uses the Swarovski crystals, spiraling them around the heel, reminiscent of the tornado that carried Dorothy to Oz. Bidders will now have a wonderful opportunity to catch a budding designer’s break out piece and her shoes undoubtedly will command a handsome price.

Ruby Slipper Collection Winner Kaddie Lam poses with her winning shoe and Tarina Tarantino







Even if Oz hobbyists could afford such decadent additions to our collections, there is precious little to go around. High end collectibles typically are very limited. So we must content ourselves with the next best thing. A pair of salt & pepper shakers. Or glass ornaments. Or picture frames. Or whatever else Oz licensees can produce to sit prettily on our shelves. There is such a variety of ruby slippers items to choose from, one could build an entire collection around the shoes alone.

Warner Brothers recognized the affection Oz fan and the public in general, have for the ruby slippers and produced an abundance of merchandise. Only some of which is shown below.






Leaders in the collectibles industry such as the Bradford Exchange, Kurt Adler, Enesco, Westland, San Francisco Music Box, and Hallmark quickly followed suit.








Due to market over saturation ruby slipper collectible sales have been waning, but with the 70th anniversary celebration in full swing, interest in all things Oz should be on the upswing especially with the forthcoming hand bag collection from Tarina Tarantino. More information coming soon………





Ruby Slipper Collectibles Shown

Warner Brothers Studio Stores
Salt and Pepper Shakers
Fossil Ruby Slipper holder and watch (available at other retail outlets in addition to WBSS)
Mini Sculptures
Radko Ornaments
Rug
Pillow
Draft Stopper

Doormat
Christmas Stocking
Ornament
Light Sculpture
Shower Curtain Hooks
Girls’ Shoes
Flag


Christmas
San Francisco Music Box Company
Roman
Hallmark (Collector’s Club)
Kurt Adler Polonaise
Kurt Adler Polonaise Ruby Slippers with Emerald City
Kurt Adler Stocking
Hallmark 2009 Limited (Sold only during Hallmark Ornament Premiere July 11 -12 while supplies last)
Hallmark Miniature
Kurt Adler Lights


Accessories
Bradford Exchange Wizard of Oz Over the Rainbow Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Earrings
AJC Pin
Heatherette T-shirt
Vandor Silk Tote
Jerry Leigh T-shirt
Roman Bracelet
Bradford Exchange Wizard of Oz Over the Rainbow Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Pendant Necklace



Figurals and Sculptures
Dave Grossman Waterglobe – Quickly sold out from retailers after being featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show
San Francisco Music Box Waterglobe
Fitz & Floyd Charming Tails ‘May Your Shoes Bring You Home Again’
Presents Heart Shaped Box – Courtesy Neil Rogness
Department 56 Bejeweled Box
Vandor Bank
Vandor Jeweled Box
San Francisco Music Box musical
Star Jars Cookie Jar
Hamilton Collection Ruby Slippers Sparkle Shoe Figurine


Miscellaneous
Cake Candle Holders
FAO Schwarz Girls’ Shoes
Tonner Doll Company Shoes
Rubies Deluxe Costume Girls’ Shoes
Quilting Treasures Fabric


Tarina Tarantino
Glittered Leather Wristlet Clutch
Small Glittered Leather Pouch
Small Leather Heart Bag
Limited Editions coming July/August More Info Coming Soon! Courtesy Curtsy Bella
Boutique

Museum Pt.3: Links, Sources, Acknowledgements

LINKS:

Smithsonian
http://www.si.edu/

Ruby Slippers Page
http://americanhistory.si.edu/news/factsheet.cfm?key=30&newskey=4

More Ruby Slippers
http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/aroundthemall/2008/11/theres-no-place-like-home-the-ruby-slippers-return-to-the-museum-of-american-history/

Wizard of Oz Page
http://americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/small_exhibition.cfm?key=1267&exkey=143&pagekey=208

Video of Ruby Slippers Installation in Renovated Museum
http://blog.americanhistory.si.edu/osaycanyousee/2008/11/the-return-of-the-ruby-slippers.html

Smithsonian History
http://www.si.edu/about/history.htm

National Air and Space Museum Display
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/secretary_treasures_trove.html

Red, Hot, and Blue
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/musicals-abstract.html

http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/rh&b/

America’s Smithsonian
http://www.150.si.edu/

Legacies
http://www.smithsonianlegacies.si.edu/popular.cfm

Night at the Museum
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Night-at-the-Museum.html

http://www.gosmithsonian.com/nightatthemuseummovie

http://www.gosmithsonian.com/multimedia/photos/Night-at-the-Museum-NMAH.html

Judy Garland Database
http://www.jgdb.com/

Judy Garland Live Performances
http://users.deltacomm.com/rainbowz/introduction.html

The Ruby Slipper Fan Club
http://users.deltacomm.com/rainbowz/rubyslipperfanclub/

Arabian Test Shoes
http://users.deltacomm.com/rainbowz/rubyslipperfanclub/debbie_reynolds.html

Smithsonian Page
http://rainbowz.deltacomm.com/rubyslipperfanclub/smithsonian.html

Western Costume
http://rainbowz.deltacomm.com/rubyslipperfanclub/westerncostume.html

Ruby Slippers owned by Roberta Bauman, Anthony Landini, and David Elkouby. These shoes are best known from having been on display at Disney’s MGM Studios from 1989 – 2000
http://rainbowz.deltacomm.com/rubyslipperfanclub/david_elkouby.html

Steve’s Auction Diary (Incredible!)
http://users.deltacomm.com/rainbowz/rubyslipperfanclub/theauction.html

Steve’s Video from Auction
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcjuoLfXGxg&feature=channel

Philip Samuels’ Ruby Slippers
http://users.deltacomm.com/rainbowz/rubyslipperfanclub/philip_samuels.html

Just prior to shipping, Steve shot these videos of his Night at the Museum shoes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOEFoNrS6X0&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQGRq8T0K-w&feature=channel_page

Marbles Kids Museum where Steve’s shoes are on display

http://www.imaxraleigh.org/nowshowing/?film=N201

Ruby Slipper Fan Club Discussion Group
http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/rubyslippers/

Ruby Slipper Fan Club CafĂ© Press Shop – Show your love for the Ruby Reds and support the fan club at the same time!
http://www.cafepress.com/rubyslipperfans

Video of Oprah Winfrey Show
http://www.originalprop.com/blog/?p=1496

Oprah Winfrey Show Comments
http://www.oprah.com/community/thread/15265

Ruby Slipper Collection
http://www.shoppingblog.com/cgi-bin/sblog.pl?sblog=908087

http://www.crystallized.com/Content.Node/index.php?/en/lifestyle/wizardofoz#/en/lifestyle/wizardofoz

Gorgeous Photos from Australia of most of the collection
http://afw.smugmug.com/gallery/8185706_cBGPD#534691878_xRyZ4

Ruby Slipper Collection Stamps
http://photo.stamps.com/Store/brand/wizardofoz/?_requestid=82930

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation
http://www.pedaids.org/

The Ruby Slipper Collection was repeated in Hong Kong benefiting the Hong Kong Cancer Fund
http://www.luxury-insider.com/Current_Affairs/post/2008/12/Hong-Kongs-On-Pedder-Pays-Tribute-to-Wizard-of-Oz-with-The-Kansas-Project.aspx

You can see all the shoes auctioned in Hong Kong here:
http://www.onpedder.com.hk/kansas/


SOURCES:

Films
E! True Hollywood Story: Trail of the Ruby Slippers
A & E Treasure! Search for the Ruby Slippers

Books

The Making of the Wizard of OzAljean HarmetzThe Ruby Slippers of Oz – Rhys Thomas

The Wizardry of Oz – William Stillman & Jay Scarfone
The Judy Garland Collector’s Guide – Edward Pardella

The Wizard of Oz: 50th Anniversary Pictorial History – William Stillman, Jay Scarfone, and John Fricke

Smithsonian Steps Out – Amy Pastan & Linda McKnight
America’s Smithsonian: Celebrating 150 Years

Red, Hot, and Blue: A Smithsonian Salute to the American Musical – Amy Henderson & Dwight Blocker Bowers


Newspapers & Magazines

Beyond the Rainbow Collector’s Exchange – July/August 1994
Hispanic Times – Aug/Sept. 1996

USA Today – Die Hard Items Donated to Smithsonian June 28 2007

Reuters: Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers get Designer Bling – Jan Paschel Sept. 5 2008

LA Times - Ruby Slippers Redux – Jan. 5 1990

Internet

Steve Jarrett – Ruby Slipper Fan Club
http://users.deltacomm.com/rainbowz/rubyslipperfanclub/

Smithsonian Institution Website
http://www.si.edu/

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Neil Rogness for the Presents heart shaped box photo

Thanks to Curtsy Bella Boutique and Kevin Wang for not only allowing the use of
their photos here but for their patience and taking the time to answer all of my
questions

Thanks to James May, Krossbow, Kim Smith, David O. Garcia, Linnie, Gene
Bonventre, Deb Malewski, and lman1138 for the use of their photos

Thanks to Mat Wallis for my lovely graphics: I thank you very sweetly for doing
it so neatly!

Thanks to Steve Jarret……as I was following the yellow brick road he’d lain I’ve
fallen head over heels in love with the Smithsonian Institution and what it stands
for. Everyone has a favorite pair of ruby slippers, mine is now the Smithsonian
pair. I’ve learned a great deal about the ruby slippers and the Smithsonian and I
feel richer for it. Thank you!



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Late June Updates


Turner Classic Movies salutes the great films of 1939 this July. One of the covers, of course is from The Wizard of Oz. The article inside covers one of the greatest years in film history. Photo Courtesy Katie a frequent poster on The Judy Room message board.






Simplicity has at least 3 new Oz patterns. Misses, Plus, and dogs!!


Jim Whitcomb found the Skechers Cali Bits at Kohls. If I find them or get more info I’ll post pics ASAP. There's several sests priced at $8.00 each. He also told me the first Jasmine Becket-Griffith Oz fairy, Dorothy, is shipping.








The Wizard of Oz National Tour not stopping in your neck of the woods? You can still get some enjoyment from the souvenirs available here:




Inkheart was released on DVD and Blu Ray Tuesday. Not a great film, but it’s enjoyable and definitely worth watch for the Oz references. The Inkheart Storybook features photos of the Oz related scenes.



A new edition of The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by Charles Santore will be released Sept. 1 Santore’s gorgeous edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz will be released Oct. 6

A hardcover edition of Marvel’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz 8 comic series comes out November 25.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More Snowbabies and Throw from LTD. Commodities

Wicked Witch Way from the Everything Oz Group had posted she found two darling smaller Snowbabies which are LTD. Commodities exclusives.
http://www.ltdcommodities.com/home/catalog/cat_item_pg.asp?G=714&P=317&Rec=2&Ntt=wizard+of+oz&N=37&Nao=0&R=461400-4WZBDNT1

While searching for more Oz merchandise, lo and behold there's the elusive Dorothy and Glinda throw I posted a few months ago
http://www.ltdcommodities.com/home/catalog/cat_item_pg.asp?G=714&P=213&Rec=1&Ntt=wizard+of+oz&N=37&Nao=0&R=461281-8VTGSTT1

Lots more Oz news coming! Stay tuned............

Thursday, June 18, 2009

70th Anniversary DVD Blu Ray Photos & New Site

Two Disc DVD Set

4 Disc DVD Set

Blu Ray Set


Brand New Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Website
While you're there be sure to check out the wonderful 70th Anniversary Wizard of Oz tribute section.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FIDM Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary


The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising is now hosting the Ruby Slipper Collection and the Inspirations of Fine Art. In addition to this wonderful exhibit is Tarina Tarantino's jewelry, student and alumni designed couture, ruby slippers, and jewelry inspired by The Wizard of Oz, and a look at the DVD 70th anniversary set.

Some of the Tarantino jewelry line is available in the museum gift shop. Thanks to Jim Whitcomb! https://thefidmmuseumstore.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/TopCategoriesDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=10051

Also available but not online as of yet are limited edition art pieces. Two are shown on the FIDM's gift shop Facebook page.
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=7422536&id=205365635610&ref=mf#

Photos from the event showing the DVD set are here:
http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/IasIIM9xyVk/Warner+Bros+FIDM+70th+Anniversary+Screening/fi32DrO_EnQ




Tuesday, June 09, 2009

70th Anniversary Blu Ray DVD and Companion Book



4-Disc DVD Set or 2-Disc Blu-ray Set

Also available in 2-Disc DVD Special Edition(or 1-Disc Blu-ray)

Warner Home Video celebrates the beloved classic with spectacular new DVD or Blu-ray version, September 29, featuring 16 hours of enhanced content (four of which are brand new) — includes New Documentaries, Featurettes, a Sing-Along Track and Extraordinary Collectibles!

Burbank, CA — It is difficult to imagine a motion picture more magical and more wonderful than Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's beloved and classic 1939 musical, The Wizard of Oz. Over the last seven decades, the film has indelibly woven itself into America's cultural consciousness: Is there anyone who doesn't immediately think of the film upon hearing the words, "Dorothy," "Toto," "Emerald City," "Ruby Slippers" and "Yellow Brick Road" — or the lines to the song "Over the Rainbow?"

Now, the colorful characters and unforgettable songs of Oz come alive as never before when Warner Home Video brings this cinematic treasure into the digital age with the September 29 Blu-ray release of The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition. The commemorative edition contains nearly 4 hours of all-new and never-before-available bonus features and is housed in numbered collectible packaging, and will be available for a limited time only for $69.92 SRP (DVD) and $84.99 SRP (Blu-ray Hi-Def).

In order to bring all the visual splendor of The Wizard of Oz to the Hi-Def world of Blu-ray Disc, the film has been entirely remastered, with each of the original Technicolor camera negatives scanned using 8K resolution. From this scan, a final "capture" master was created in 4K, yielding twice the resolution seen in the master utilized for the film's previous DVD release.

Working in "full film Resolution", extreme care was taken to ensure that all of the image fidelity contained in the original negatives was properly captured for this new presentation. The sounds of Oz will come alive on Blu-ray disc utilizing the full audio spectrum capabilities available through Dolby TrueHD audio. The net result is one of unprecedented quality that is sure to make The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Edition a benchmark in the history of the Blu-ray format.

There will also be a dedicated official site for all Oz-related events and products: http://www.thewizardofoz.warnerbros.com/

The following components are ALL-NEW and exclusive to the Ultimate Collector's Edition:

The Dreamer of Oz — which makes its long-awaited home video debut. Also remastered the occasion, this full-length motion picture was an NBC-TV special event in 1990 and thrilled critics and audiences as it told the back story of author L. Frank Baum, "the Royal Historian of Oz." John Ritter shines in the title role -- the man who defied all odds to create the famous characters and stories. Annette O'Toole beautifully co-stars as his supportive wife, with Rue McClanahan as his challenging witch of a mother-in-law.

Victor Fleming, Master Craftsman — a new feature-length documentary produced specifically for this release about the Hollywood director who, in the same year, miraculously brought both Oz and Gone With the Wind to the screen.

Hollywood Celebrates It's Biggest Little Stars — a new featurette stars seven of the original "Munchkins of Oz" and tells the saga of the long journey, culminating in them receiving their own 2007 Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Magic Cloak of Oz — the first release of the complete 1914 silent film, including lost footage never before included in a home video presentation of this feature (produced by Baum himself).

The Patchwork Girl of Oz — another 1914 Baum-produced, feature-length silent film, new to Warner Home Video.

The Wizard of Oz Sing-Along Track — here making its home entertainment debut.

Reproductions of Archival Material — Extraordinary renderings of the original 1939 Oz campaign, exploitation, and press books. These materials constitute a Hollywood "holy grail" for Oz, Garland, and motion picture fans alike and, for decades, have been among the most sought-after and impossible-to-find collectibles.

Behind The Curtain — a 52-page miniature coffee-table book, assembled by pre-eminent Oz historian John Fricke. Encompassing much previously unpublished material, the deluxe volume includes behind-the-scenes Oz photographs, studio memos, and script pages for abandoned scenes and musical numbers.

Exclusive Wizard of Oz Watch — A collectible and numbered 70th Anniversary watch, incorporating art from the film and enhanced with genuine crystals. Available nowhere else, this beautiful timepiece was created specially for this DVD edition.

DIGITAL COPY (on the disc)

And for the Blu-Ray Ultimate Collector's Edition, the original extended version of "If I Only Had a Brain" performed by Ray Bolger has been remastered in hi-definition especially for this release.

Details on the various OZ 70th Anniversary editions...

4-Disc DVD Ultimate Collector's Edition:
Includes 16 hours of enhanced content (4 of which are brand NEW)
Disc One:
• Remastered feature with Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio (NEW)
*Sing-along Track (NEW)
Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman (daughter of Arthur Freed), Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr (son of Bert Lahr), Jane Lahr (daughter of Bert Lahr), Hamilton Meserve (son of Margaret Hamilton), Dona Massin (MGM choreographer), William Tuttle (make-up artist), Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy, and Jerry Maren

• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook

• Prettier Than Ever: The Restoration of Oz

• We Haven't Really Met Properly

• Music and Effects Track

• Original Mono Track


Disc Two:

• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic [1990 TV special]

• Memories of Oz [2001 TCM documentary]

• The Art of Imagination: A Tribute to Oz

• Because of the Wonderful Things it Does: The Legacy of Oz

• Harold Arlen's Home Movies

• Outtakes and Deleted Scenes

• It's a Twister! It's a Twister! The Tornado Tests

• Off to See the Wizard

• 3 Vault Shorts

• Audio Jukebox Selection

• Leo Is on the Air Radio Promo

• Good News of 1939 Radio Show

• 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast

• Still Galleries

• Six Theatrical Trailers


Disc 3 & 4 are Exclusive to this edition

Disc Three:
• Victor Fleming: Master Craftsman (NEW)

• L. Frank Baum: The Man Behind the Curtain

*Celebrating Hollywood's Biggest Little Stars (NEW)

• The Dreamer of Oz [1990 TV special] (NEW)

• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910)

• The Wizard of Oz [1933]

Disc Four:
• His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz

• The Magic Cloak of Oz [1914] (NEW)

• The Patchwork Girl of Oz [1914] (NEW)

• The Wizard of Oz [1925 feature]


• Collectible and numbered 70th Anniversary Wizard of Oz watch with genuine crystals

• Replica of the original film budget

• "Behind the Curtain" (a 52-page, coffee-table book)

• Reproduction of the original 1939 campaign book

• Bonus DIGITAL COPY (on the disc)


2-Disc Blu-ray Ultimate Collector's Edition:
Includes 16 hours of enhanced content (4 of which are brand NEW)

Disc One:
• Remastered feature with Dolby True HD 5.1 Audio (NEW)

• Sing-along Track (NEW)

• Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman (daughter of Arthur Freed), Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr (son of Bert Lahr), Jane Lahr (daughter of Bert Lahr), Hamilton Meserve (son of Margaret Hamilton), Dona Massin (MGM choreographer), William Tuttle (make-up artist), Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy, and Jerry Maren

• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook

• Prettier Than Ever: The Restoration of Oz

• We Haven't Really Met Properly

• Music and Effects Track

• Original Mono Track

• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic [1990 TV special]

• Memories of Oz [2001 TCM documentary]

• The Art of Imagination: A Tribute to Oz

Because of the Wonderful Things it Does: The Legacy of Oz

• Harold Arlen's Home Movies

• Outtakes and Deleted Scenes

• It's a Twister! It's a Twister! The Tornado Tests

• Off to See the Wizard

• 3 Vault Shorts

• Audio Jukebox Selection

• Leo Is on the Air Radio Promo

• Good News of 1939 Radio Show

• 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast

• Still Galleries

• Six Theatrical Trailers


Disc 2 is Exclusive to this edition
Disc Two:
• Victor Fleming: Master Craftsman (NEW)

• L. Frank Baum: The Man Behind the Curtain

• Celebrating Hollywood's Biggest Little Stars (NEW)

• The Dreamer of Oz [1990 TV special] (NEW)

• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910)

• The Wizard of Oz [1933]

• His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz

• The Magic Cloak of Oz [1914] (NEW)

• The Patchwork Girl of Oz [1914] (NEW)

• The Wizard of Oz [1925 feature]


• Collectible and numbered 70th Anniversary Wizard of Oz watch with genuine crystals

• Replica of the original film budget

• "Behind the Curtain" (a 52-page, coffee-table book)

• Reproduction of the original 1939 campaign book

• Bonus DIGITAL COPY (on the disc)

• BD Collector's Exclusive: MGM: When The Lion Roars Documentary (not included on the DVD)

• Original extended version of "If I Only Had a Brain" performed by Ray Bolger (remastered in HD)


Also available in 2-Disc DVD Special Edition (SRP $24.98) or 1-Disc Blu-ray, both of which include the following:

• Remastered feature with Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio [DVD] or Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Audio [Blu-ray] (NEW)

• Sing-along Track (NEW)

• Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman (daughter of Arthur Freed), Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr (son of Bert Lahr), Jane Lahr (daughter of Bert Lahr), Hamilton Meserve (son of Margaret Hamilton), Dona Massin (MGM choreographer), William Tuttle (make-up artist), Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy, and Jerry Maren

• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook

• Prettier Than Ever: The Restoration of Oz

• We Haven't Really Met Properly

• Music and Effects Track

• Original Mono Track


Disc Two:
• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic [1990 TV special]

• Memories of Oz [2001 TCM documentary]

• The Art of Imagination: A Tribute to Oz

• Because of the Wonderful Things it Does: The Legacy of Oz

• Harold Arlen's Home Movies

• Outtakes and Deleted Scenes

• It's a Twister! It's a Twister! The Tornado Tests

• Off to See the Wizard

• 3 Vault Shorts

• Audio Jukebox Selection

• Leo Is on the Air Radio Promo

• Good News of 1939 Radio Show

• 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast

• Still Galleries

• Six Theatrical Trailers


Film Synopsis:When a nasty neighbor tries to have her dog put to sleep, Dorothy takes her dog Toto, to run away. A tornado appears and carries her to the magical land of oz. Wishing to return, she begins to travel to the city of Oz where a great wizard lives.

Adapted from L. Frank Baum's timeless children's tale about a Kansas girl's journey over the rainbow, THE WIZARD OF OZ opened at Grauman's Chinese Theater on August 15, 1939. The film was directed by Victor Fleming (who that same year directed Gone With the Wind), produced by Mervyn LeRoy, and scored by Herbert Stothart, with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. Ray Bolger appeared as the Scarecrow; Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Jack Haley as the Tin Woodman. Frank Morgan was seen in six different roles, including that of the "wonderful Wizard" himself. Dorothy was portrayed by a 4'11" sixteen year old girl who quickly earned her reputation as the world's greatest entertainer: the incomparable Judy Garland.

The Wizard of Oz received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and captured two Oscars® -- Best Song (Over the Rainbow) and Best Original Score -- plus a special award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance by Judy Garland. The film was an overwhelmingly popular and critical success upon its initial release and repeated its ability to captivate audiences when M-G-M reissued the film in 1949 and 1955. The film made a new kind of history with its network television premiere in 1956 on CBS. Nearly 45 million people tuned in for this initial telecast, marking the beginning of an annual tradition. Ever since, The Wizard of Oz has been shown virtually annually on network (and then cable) television; its magical story and heartfelt performances have enabled it to grow from a perennial classic to its current status as a treasured icon of popular culture.

BlairF72 reported on the International Wizard of Oz Club forum that there will be a 70th anniversary book 'The Wizard of Oz: Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Movie Classic' by John Fricke and Jonathan Shirshekan. Mostly color illustrations, 160 pages long. Expected to retail around $20.00 at Barnes and Noble. http://ozclubforums.yuku.com/directory
You can get a sneak peek of this book at The Judy Room
http://www.thejudyroom.com/news.html#ozbook