The gingham stage costume worn by the legendary American actress in Victor Fleming’s film was miraculously rediscovered in a shoebox thrown in the garbage at Catholic University in Washington.
For many moviegoers the dress of Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz is as legendary as Orson Welles’ Rosebud in Citizen Kane. Some forty years after being lost, the famous gingham stage costume of Dorothée Gale, the orphaned heroine of Victor Fleming’s film, was miraculously found at the bottom of a trash can at Catholic University in Washington.
It was while tidying up a room in the Hartke building at the American University a month ago that Matt Ripa, the director of theatrical and musical studies, was intrigued by the presence of a discarded shoebox. in a garbage bag. Curious, sensing perhaps that he was going to find a lost treasure, he opened it. His blood only changed when this movie-loving man immediately recognized the little blue and white dress with the famous gingham pattern, worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz in 1939. It was donated in 1972 to the university by Oscar-winning actress Mercedes McCambridge (The King’s Fools) but had since mysteriously disappeared.
Of course the years have passed and today the colors of Dorothy’s dress have faded. But one detail, crucial, would prove that it would indeed be Dorothy’s legendary stage prop. According to the magazine Smithsonian, Matt Ripa recognized there the signature of the star as well as a small handkerchief buried in the bottom of a pocket. For the university professor, this discovery is undoubtedly one of the strongest moments of his life as he recorded in his blog: “I discovered there a real gem of cinema.“
After the ruby slippers found by the FBI in 2018, it is therefore the turn of Judy Garland’s legendary gingham dress to have been, almost by chance, found before ending up in a dumpster. Like a miracle The Wizard of Oz continues to watch over the seventh art.
Hollywood and America are not mistaken because in September, the Oscar Museum will open its doors with the screening of Victor Fleming’s film. A symphony orchestra will perform the mythical songs Over the Rainbow and Follow the Yellow Brick Road so that the magic of cinema continues. And now it is not forbidden to think that the organizers have the idea of exhibiting the ruby shoes and the gingham dress of Judy Garland …
The Wizard of Oz by Victor Fleming in 1939, with Judy Garland, Frank Morgan …