“THE SLIPPERS”— What Happened to Dorothy’s Red Shoes?

“The Slippers”

What Happened to Dorothy’s Red Shoes?

Amos Lassen

Did you ever wonder what happened to Dorothy’s red slippers after she cane home from Oz? Canadian filmmaker Morgan White looks at just that in this documentary.

The stories involve from Kent Warner was the enterprising costumier took the shoes from the MGM Studio Lot in the 1970’s when no-one was looking to collectors who bought and sold them in the name of art and love, when it was clear that what they cared most about was making an enormous fortune out of them. The first surprise that White uncovers is the fact that there are multiple pairs of the red slippers (and this makes perfect sense since the Director Victor Fleming took many takes involving them. One pair is safe in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington where they are the most popular exhibit there. The other pairs (and no-one knows to this day exactly how many there are) began being auctioned off when MGM Studios was taken over by Wall Street Bankers who couldn’t wait to rapidly dispose of all the props and costumes which they thought had little or no value.

Morgan did wonderful research and was able to follow some of the pairs through the years as they keep re-appearing at auctions. One pair owned by a collector was loaned to the tiny Judy Garland Museum in her home town of Grand Rapids and were be stolen and thought to have been thrown into a local lake.

White shows the red slippers as part of the wholesale destruction of the old glamorous Hollywood when very few people tried to save things just for the sake of history and with no other thoughts about them. Debbie Reynolds single-handedly began a crusade to buy as many of the costumes from  Hollywood’s classic movies with the hope that she would establish a Museum to house them. She invested herself and all her money and failed since she became victim to collectors who took advantage of her good nature and ripped her off.

Morgan has some interesting interviews with an odd assortment of collectors who range from merely eccentric to shady, and even though the film becomes repetitive at times, it is still great fun to watch.

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