Return of Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers

At the end of the film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy clicks the heels of her ruby red slippers together, chanting as she does “there’s no place like home”. Magically, she awakens back in Kansas.

At least four pairs of slippers are known to exist, one pair in the Smithsonian, one in the hands of a private collector, one at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The fourth, housed in Grand Rapids, Minn. at the Judy Garland Museum and worth at least a million dollars, was stolen 13 years ago and just recovered. The perpetrators have not been found, just the shoes.

Like most people who are Judy Garland fans, I’ve seen the Wizard of Oz numerous times. I love the ruby red slippers, with their magical qualities. They are widely recognizable; I can’t imagine selling them would  have been easy for the thieves. Maybe that’s why they were stashed away, out of public view for all of these years.

The shoes must be quite fragile after all this time. I hope they go back to Garland’s museum, where they belong. That iconic film cost her a lot. Garland was introduced to barbiturates by her mother, and later film studio executives gave them to her to control her weight and keep her energy level pumped up. Garland died of an overdose at the age of 47.

That’s quite a dark shadow trailing those ruby red shoes.

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