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Wizard of Oz Ruby Slippers

In 1939, The Wizard of Oz, a musical based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum was released in box offices around the country, and became an instant classic. Famed actress Judy Garland portrayed Dorothy, the movie’s main character, who finds herself in the land of Oz with her dog Toto after a tornado hits her family’s farm in Kansas. The now iconic ruby red slippers gained their first screen-time as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, gifts them to Dorothy as she starts her journey down the yellow brick road to Emerald City to find the great wizard, who is her only hope of getting home.

With the help of her new friends (and her brand new slippers) the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion victoriously defeat the Wicked Witch of the West and find the wizard. Although they ultimately discover that the wizard is a fraud, he still tries to help Dorothy get home on hot air balloon. In a quick turn of events, Toto runs away, keeping Dorothy from being able to find the balloon again, leaving her with no way home. Thankfully for Dorothy, Glinda returns to tell her that she can return home with the help of her ruby slippers; all she has to do is close her eyes, click the heels together three times and repeat, “There’s no place like home.” When she opens her eyes, she awakens in her bed back in Kansas from what seems to have been a dream, surrounded by her family.

The famous slippers were commercially manufactured shoes bought by MGM Studios, made in a size 5 for Garland’s small feet. They were dyed red and the studio’s designers added a red netting covered with sequins and a layer of red felt on the sole that was meant to muffle the sound of her dancing on the yellow brick road. At least seven – possibly as many as 10 – pairs of ruby slippers were made for the movie. Although one pair was stolen, the others reside in museums across the country.

The 1956 broadcast television premiere of the film on the CBS network reintroduced the film to the wider public and eventually made the presentation an annual tradition, making it one of the best-known films in movie history. The Library of Congress named The Wizard of Oz the most-viewed motion picture on television syndication and included the film in its National Film Registry in its inaugural year in 1989. Designation on the registry calls for efforts to preserve it for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”.

Pictured below is one of the limited replicas made by The Western Costume Company in Hollywood, CA which made the original ruby red slippers for The Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland.

A pair of Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland for the film, The Wizard of Oz.

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