The 1939 MGM production of "The Wizard of Oz" was not considered a classic until it started airing on CBS on November 3, 1956. (On December 10th 1961 Dick Van Dyke and his three children hosted the fourth television broadcast) For us Children of Television "The Wizard of OZ" was an annual television event. This was before home video. I remember seeing it once every year around Easter time. When I was nine years old I got to see it in color. It was like seeing it for the first time.
So what got me thinking about "The Wizard of OZ"?
I have a friend named Michael Shaw who has the most impressive privately owned collection of movie memorabilia. The crowning jewel of his, or any other, collection is a pair of Dorothy's Ruby Slippers. Even amongst the other existing pairs of Ruby Slippers his are the best (they were only used for the close ups). My wife and I have seen the slippers on many occasions and although it is cool to see the "Hope Diamond" of movie collectibles, it did not cure me of any ailment, transport me to a magical land or make me feel any closer to Judy Garland than I already was before.
Michael has taken his collection (including the "Ruby Slippers") on tour and has loaned them out for charity fundraisers. Last Sunday (Aug. 28th) the "Ruby Slippers" were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota where they had been on loan for ten weeks. The Judy Garland Museum insured the shoes for one million dollars and I am sure that there will be a few law suits as well. After all not only was an irreplaceable piece of Hollywood history stolen, the slippers along with the rest of his collection are his livelihood.
I have to ask the person who stole the Ruby Slippers, What are you going to do with an old pair of Red Shoes? You can’t display them. You can’t sell them on eBay. The shoes are size 5½ so you probably can’t wear them on Halloween (Perhaps the authorities in Grand Rapids Minn. have an APB out on crooks with really tiny feet). The way I see it, the cops are looking for you and the Judy Garland Museum’s insurance company has people looking for you. If they get to you first consider yourself lucky, because if the Gay Mafia gets to you first you will be at the bottom of the river wearing a stylish pair of decoupage over shoes that won’t send you back home.
To quote Jay Leno (to Hugh Grant), "What the hell were you thinking?"