NEW YORK (AP) — It's one of the most recognizable outfits in American movie history.
the blue-and-white-checkered gingham gown worn by a young Judy Garland as Dorothy in the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz. For decades, one of the versions of the dress Garland wore in the film had been assumed lost at the Catholic University of America, where it had been given to someone in the drama department in the early 1970s. the office last year led to the dress being found in an old shoebox, and now it's headed to auction.
When she first saw it, "all I could think about was seeing the movie as a child and growing up with it," said Jacqueline Leary-Warsaw, dean of the Catholic University's school of music, theater and art, in Washington. , D.C. "In a way, it was like I was looking at my past childhood."
She and others are hoping the nostalgia factor kicks in when the costume goes on sale at Bonhams' "Classic Hollywood: Film and Television" auction on May 24 in Los Angeles, where it has a pre-sale estimate of $800,000. at $1.2 million. Bonhams has the dress on display this week at the auction house's New York location before shipping it to California for public viewing and then auction.
Catholic University Professor Makes Huge 'Wizard of Oz' Find
Helen Hall, director of popular culture at Bonhams, said the market for memorabilia, and for movie costumes in particular, is strong and that The Wizard of Oz is a cultural touchstone.
Reviews:- original sites for browse A version of Dorothy's dress from 'Oz' goes up for salearound this official website
People "remember a lot the first time they saw the movie, the effect it had on their lives," she said. The film is famous for its music, dialogue, and visuals, particularly as Dorothy transitions from a drab, sepia-colored Kansas to a gloriously multi-colored Oz.
There was more than one costume made for Garland during filming. Hall said four are known to exist and only two, including the one found at Catholic University, are with the blouse she was wearing underneath it. Bonhams sold the other with a blouse at auction in 2015 for more than $1.5 million.
(There are also a few surviving pairs of the ruby slippers Garland wore, with one pair in the Smithsonian collection.)
The rediscovered dress had initially been given to Father Gilbert Hartke, who was then head of the university's drama department, in 1973 by actress Mercedes McCambridge, Leary-Warsaw said, though it is unclear how McCambridge came to have it.
Somehow, in the years that followed, the department lost track of the costume until it became "something that people thought was just a myth," she said. Last year, during preparations for a renovation, a bag containing the shoebox was opened and there it was, though how it got where it ended up remains a mystery, Leary-Warsaw said.
The dress was in good condition, except for one piece that had been cut off, while the blouse was more fragile.
Upon investigation of the dress, it was determined that Garland wore it in the film in the scene where she confronts a menacing Wicked Witch of the West in a castle.
The school decided to auction it off rather than keep it, and plans to use the proceeds from the auction to create an entire film program in the theater department.