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What Happened to Dorothy's Ruby Slippers?

The shoes that Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz are on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. They are covered with red sequins, with bows covered in red glass and beads. But after 80 years, the color has faded, and the sequins are brittle. Earlier this year, the museum raised $300,000 online to fund a careful cleaning and the construction of a special display case that will protect them from light damage. The shoes at the Smithsonian don't even come from the same pair -they are different sizes! That's because MGM had several pairs made for the movie production. In 1970, MGM cleared out its warehouse, and sent costume worker Kent Warner to salvage one pair for posterity.

On a dusty shelf, he found what he was looking for—a collection of ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore for her portrayal of Dorothy Gale for the filming of the 1939 Wizard of Oz. These were the famous shoes that only needed to be tapped three times and that touched so many hearts with their magical theme—“There’s no place like home.”

There were several sets of ruby slippers on the shelf, plus a curly-toed test pair. Warner had been told to destroy all but one. The single remaining pair were to be offered for sale at the seminal multi-day MGM Studios auction, where 350,000 costumes were to be sold, including the loin cloth worn by Johnny Weissmuller in Tarzan and Gene Kelly’s sailor hat from the 1949 film On the Town.

Warner picked out a pair of ruby slippers for the sale. But on the sly, he stuffed the others in a bag and walked them off the lot.

So what happened to the other slippers? Find out in an article at Smithsonian.


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