It’s one of the vital recognizable outfits in American film historical past, the blue-and-white checked gingham gown a younger Judy Garland wore as Dorothy within the basic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.”
For a long time, one of many variations of the gown Garland wore within the film was assumed misplaced at Catholic University of America, the place it had been given to somebody within the drama division within the early Nineteen Seventies. But the clearing out of some workplace litter final 12 months led to the discovering of the gown in an outdated shoebox, and now it is headed for the public sale block.
When she first noticed it, “all I might take into consideration was watching the film after I was a toddler and rising up with” it, said Jacqueline Leary-Warsaw, dean of the school of music, drama and art at Catholic University, in Washington, D.C. “In a way it was like I was looking at my past childhood.”
She and others are hopeful that nostalgia issue will come into play when the costume goes up on the market at Bonhams “Classic Hollywood: Film and Television” public sale on May 24 in Los Angeles, the place it has a presale estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million. Bonhams has the gown on show this week on the public sale home’s New York location earlier than it’s despatched to California for public view after which public sale.
Helen Hall, director of common tradition for Bonhams, mentioned that the marketplace for memorabilia, and movie costumes specifically, is robust, and that “The Wizard of Oz” is a cultural touchstone.
People “very a lot keep in mind the primary time they noticed the movie, the impact it had on their lives,” she mentioned. The movie is famend for its music, its dialogue and its visuals, significantly when Dorothy goes from drab, sepia-colored Kansas to gloriously multicolored Oz.
There was greater than one of many costume made for Garland whereas filming. Hall mentioned that 4 are recognized to exist and that solely two, together with the one discovered at Catholic University, are with the shirt she wore beneath. Bonhams offered the opposite one with a shirt at an public sale in 2015 for greater than $1.5 million.
(There are additionally some surviving pairs of the ruby slippers Garland wore, with one pair within the assortment on the Smithsonian.)
The rediscovered gown had initially been given to Father Gilbert Hartke, who was then head of the college’s drama division, in 1973 by actress Mercedes McCambridge, Leary-Warsaw mentioned, though it isn’t clear how McCambridge got here to have it.
Somehow, within the years that adopted, the division misplaced observe of the costume till it grew to become “one thing that folks had thought was only a fantasy,” she mentioned. Last 12 months, throughout preparations for a renovation, a bag containing the shoebox was opened, and there it was — although the way it acquired to the place it ended up stays a thriller, Leary-Warsaw mentioned.
The gown was in good situation, other than a bit that had been minimize away, whereas the shirt was extra fragile.
In researching the gown, it was decided that Garland wore it within the film within the scene the place she is confronted in a fortress by a threatening Wicked Witch of the West.
The faculty determined to public sale it off as an alternative of conserving it, and plans to make use of the proceeds from the public sale sale to create a full-fledged movie program within the drama division.