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There’s No Place Like Home

Posted by APATA | Jul 15, 2019

Celebrating it’s 80th anniversary, ‘The Wizard of OZ’ has been declared one of the most significant Hollywood movies of all time. Over the years there have been many attempts to explain the longevity of this much-loved story and the movies attraction. Whether its Dorothy’s determination to return home as a powerful theme or the characters we’re presented with in the form of Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion each seeking to overcome challenges, its all heart as together they join forces to fulfil their journey and heart’s desires.

Based on the 1900 children’s novel, ‘The Wonderful Wizard of OZ’, by L. Frank Baum (1856-1919), the films star Judy Garland playing the role of Dorothy a young girl from Kansas follows a yellow brick road alongside her furry friend Toto to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard of Oz. Though the scenes in Kansas were shot in traditional black and white, Oz appears in vivid Technicolor, a relatively new film process at the time. Nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ lost to the Civil War-era epic ‘Gone with the Wind’. ‘The Wizard of Oz’ won a Best Song Oscar for ‘Over the Rainbow’, which became one of Garland’s signature hits. Garland won a special award at that year’s Oscar ceremony, for Best Juvenile Performer.

Filmed at MGM Studios in Culver City, California, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was a modest box-office success when it was first released, but its popularity continued to grow after it was televised for the first time in 1956. An estimated 45 million people watched that inaugural broadcast, and since then ‘The Wizard of Oz’ has aired on TV countless times. Today, some of the film’s famous lines, including ‘There’s no place like home’ and ‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore’ are well-known to several generations of moviegoers. Though not an immediate financial or critical success, it became one of the most enduring family films of all time.

There’s No Place Like Home, especially if you happen to be a pair of ruby red sequined slippers – the most famous pair of ruby red sequined slippers in movie history. Dorothy’s ruby red sequined slippers are the films signature and most cherished item. One might say for a collector, the slippers are right up there with the sled from ‘Citizen Kane’, the dresses worn by Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn in, respectively, ‘The Seven Year Itch’ and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber from ‘Star Wars’ and the black bird statuette from ‘The Maltese Falcon’. Two cars are also among the priciest bits of movie history include none other than James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 from ‘Goldfinger’ and the DeLorean DMC-12 cars used in the ‘Back to the Future’ films.

As with Dorothy’s ruby red slippers, most of these beloved props, including the vehicles, are not one of a kind. Several are made for each film, so they can be used in different camera shots or in case the original is damaged or otherwise unable to be used.

Some fun facts about the ruby red slippers.

  • The shoes worn by Dorothy in the L. Frank Baum ‘Oz’ books were silver, not red. But because the MGM film was being shot in Technicolor, the producers wanted the most bang for their buck and silver shoes didn’t look as impressive on the Yellow Brick Road.
  • The slippers also play a part in the musical ‘Wicked’.
  • Noel Langley, one of the screenwriters, is believed to be the person who suggested that the shoes be ruby red.
  • The shoes’ magical powers are never really explained. Early in the film, Glinda the Good Witch seems unwilling to tell Dorothy what the shoes are capable of, only that their magic ‘must be very powerful’. At the film’s end, she explains that Dorothy had to find out for herself that the shoes could transport her back to Kansas. But we’re never told what other magic they can do.
  • The shoes began life as white silk pumps. They were then dyed and embellished with sequins.
  • The shoes also had orange felt glued to the bottoms to keep Garland from marking up those yellow bricks while she danced.
  • Five or six copies of the shoes were made, including one pair that was half a size larger than Garland’s feet because the young actress complained her feet swelled when she wore them for too long.
  • For the Walt Disney feature ‘Return to Oz’, the slippers were also ruby red, but these were covered with red crystals that had been soaked in sulphuric acid to remove their silver backing.
  • In Gregory Maguire’s novel ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ — later adapted into the musical ‘Wicked’ — the shoes were given to the Wicked Witch of the East by her father and were made of glass beads.

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