After 13 years of disappearance, one of the world’s cinema’s treasures was unexpectedly found: Dorothy’s ruby slippers in the movie. The Wizard of Oz (The Wizard of Oz, 1939).
Last June, fans of classic children’s works received big sad news. Actor Jerry Maren, who played one of the Munchkin dwarves, has died at the age of 98. For many years now, he was the last member of the film crew. Oz alive. Thus, from now on, one no longer hears about this film from eyewitnesses. All will be in the booklets and documentary images.
However, recently, the fans Sorcerer of Oz get a consolation. Dorothy’s comedies, items worn by actress Judy Garland, have just been found by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. The pair disappeared from the Judy Garland museum in Grand Rapids in the state in 2005. At the time, it was in the possession of antiquities collector Michael Shaw.
“This is the most serious incident that has ever happened at our museum. We cried,” museum co-founder Jon Miner told reporters shortly after. This is a consequence of the disagreement between Shaw and the museum staff. The museum side wants to put the shoes in a secret compartment every night, while Shaw doesn’t want anyone to touch the treasure, trusting the normal security system is enough. This turned out to be a fatal mistake.
For years, the museum offered a $250,000 prize to anyone with information about the couple. Later, an anonymous sponsor also offered a $1 million prize to anyone who could provide the name of the thief or the location of the comedy duo. After it was reported that the thief had thrown the pair of shoes into the river near the museum, thousands of people came here to search. However, after more than a decade, none of the efforts have paid off.
Dorothy’s comedies, in addition to material value, also have great spiritual values among cinematic memorabilia. “Miracle item from the magic world” is what people call it. Many people believe that a total of 7 pairs of ruby comedies were worn by Judy Garland during the making of the film, which will bring luck to the owner. To date, only 4 couples have been evaluated and appeared in public.
For a long time, eccentric collector Kent Warner was said to own the majority. Warner is a movie aficionado, looking to fill his house with the most famous and expensive movie props. He is famous for showing classic movies in his private room, while wearing costumes and jewelry from that movie. Having worked in Hollywood, Warner was lucky to find the comedy couples in MGM’s warehouse and take it home.
When the studio tried to reclaim the comedies for auction in 1979, Warner said he only had one pair. The pair was purchased by an anonymous auctioneer for $15,000 and donated to the Smithsonian Museum. Then there were rumors that it was fake shoes. Warner, on the other hand, put the real pairs in a canvas bag and fled. The collector died in 1984. Investigators found evidence he sold off precious pairs of comedies, shortly before his death.
For many years, who owns Dorothy’s comedies has been a hot topic of discussion. In 2016, the documentary film The Slipper (Comedy) by director Morgan White comes out, trying to answer this question. The film is very well appreciated, because it integrates the film story, the career story, the love of fans around the world for the movie. Wizard of Oz. In addition, White also explains why the market for the sale of cinematic goods has blossomed in recent years. The film also provides the names of the owners of three current comedy couples: actress Debbie Reynolds, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and singer Lady Gaga.
The missing shoes from the Judy Garland museum also led to a lengthy lawsuit. Before it was lost, collector Michael Shaw insured it for $1 million. Many people hypothesize that it was the owner who set up the theft to get insurance money. The insurance company then filed a lawsuit against Shaw and the museum owner. It was not until 2007 that the lawsuit ended, and Shaw won the case, receiving $800,000 in damages.
In September 2018, 13 years after the theft and all hopes were lost, the FBI posted information that the couple had been found. They relied on a source that reported in 2017. Someone tried to blackmail the owner of the shoes, and when unsuccessful, he sent word to the police. A year later, the FBI said it had correctly identified the precious pair, and was taking steps to “recover it intact”. The identity of the thief is also in the hands of the FBI and will be released when the investigation is complete.
Of course, at this point, the value of the comedy couple has increased a lot. In 2011, actress Debbie Reynolds bought her comedy pair for $510,000. That number won’t count for the newly found pair of comedians. The theft itself is also a “value” for precious items. According to John Kelsch, executive director of the Judy Garland museum, their comedies will cost at least $3 million, or more. Because, one of the most famous lines of Wizard of Oz “There’s no place like home”. Like Dorothy, the comedians had an adventure before returning to the museum honoring the person who brought it.