Oh no, Toto! We’re not in Grand Rapids anymore!

This is preposterous! Who would have the gaul to steel one of only four remaining pairs of the very ruby red slippers Judy Garland wore during the filming of The Wizard of Oz?!

The following taken from the esteemed Mesabi Daily News, out of Virginia, Minnesota:

Garland ‘Ruby Slippers’ stolen
One of four pairs from ‘Wizard of Oz’ film taken from locked display case

Bill Hanna
Mesabi Daily News
Monday, August 29th, 2005 12:15:07 AM

GRAND RAPIDS — A pair of the Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” aren’t in the Children’s Discovery Museum in Grand Rapids any more, the Mesabi Daily News learned on Sunday.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Leigh Serfling, the city’s mayor, Sue Zeige, and John Kelsch, executive director of the museum, confirmed on Sunday evening that one of four pairs of slippers from that movie still in existence had been stolen from a locked display case. They were insured by the museum for $1 million.

The slippers were on loan from their owner, Michael Shaw of Los Angeles, for 10 weeks this summer — from days of the Judy Garland Festival in June through Labor Day. Shaw had planned to travel to Grand Rapids on Sept. 5 to pick them up. It was the second consecutive summer season that the Ruby Slippers were in Grand Rapids.

Law enforcement and museum officials would provide no more details on the theft Sunday night. A press release was to be issued today.

The Children’s Discovery Museum — which houses the Judy Garland Museum — is located adjacent to the birthplace of actress Judy Garland, who was born Frances Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids on June 10, 1922.

A pushy stage mother steered the Gumm siblings toward an entertainment career. Frances was clearly the most talented, and was signed by MGM for a movie career in 1936 as Judy Garland.

She was cast as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” in 1939. Her character was spun by a tornado from her Kansas home to the mythical Oz. The wicked witch in the movie, in a mean and nasty voice, told Dorothy she wasn’t in Kansas any more. Dorothy would finally return home by clicking the heels of a pair of Ruby Slippers.

Garland died from a drug overdose on June 22, 1969, in London.


Beth Bily, editor of the Grand Rapids Herald-Review, a sister paper of the Mesabi Daily News, contributed to this story.

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