‘Wizard of Oz’ collections grow

August 14, 2014 - garden totes

Swinging open a doors to Melodie Foreman’s gangling bedroom in Independence, Mo., feels like that impulse Dorothy Gale stairs out of her black-and-white world.

Foreman’s “Wizard of Oz” collection floods a room with color, building to ceiling.

What to demeanour during first? The Oz-character Barbies, Hallmark ornaments, commemoration plates, autographed Munchkin photos, framed albums or a Dorothy costumes unresolved from a closet door?

Look out! It’s a six-pack of Flying Monkey beer.

Next to a bed, festive underneath a light from an emerald-green building lamp, is Foreman’s cherished possession: a reproduction span of hand-sequined crimson slippers, distance 5, customarily like a ones a teenage Judy Garland wore in a 1939 MGM movie. They were a retirement present — many here was means — from colleagues after Foreman’s 31 years during ATT.

Now if customarily it didn’t take her and her husband, Greg, dual days to dirt all that stuff. “It’s a freakin’ nightmare,” pronounced a longtime Oz fan.

(So was a cleanup after one of her bottles of Oz-themed red booze blew a cork.)

Foreman jokingly calls a collecting an “illness,” though in a universe of Oz enthusiasts, there are those some-more severely afflicted.

More than 800 collectors go to a International Wizard of Oz Club, that gives fans an annual forgive to wear their red-sequined Converse boots and buy any other’s stuff.

As we review this, someone is stalking Oz cookie jars, fridge magnets, books and figurines on eBay, where some-more than 39,000 Oz equipment are for sale.

In a United States, a sorceress of Oz collecting is Willard Carroll, a film writer/director/producer who lives in Maine and is branch his thousands of collectibles into a National Oz Museum.

Carroll owns a Wicked Witch’s hourglass from a 1939 movie. He paid $80,000 for it a integrate of decades ago, outbidding a rather famous Oz advocate — Michael Jackson.

Vice boss of a International Oz Club, Jane Albright is Kansas City’s many remarkable reaper of a Yellow Brick Road. She shares her harvest, many recently in exhibits during Crown Center and a Spencer Museum of Art during a University of Kansas.

Albright changed into a bigger Kansas City house, customarily dual doors down, so she could lift her crawl memorabilia out from closets and underneath beds and arrangement all scrupulously — on a whole third floor.

Her newest merger — “He’s customarily spectacular” — is a dress of a Winkie, one of a Wicked Witch’s henchmen. It was displayed during Macy’s in New York’s Herald Square for a movie’s 50th anniversary.

The Winkie guards Albright’s rarest, many cherished finds — including soaps in a figure of Oz characters, samples of Oz wallpaper and a 1939 house diversion from England.

Albright vacuums adult all — books, ornaments, dolls, house games, posters, prints, cookie cutters, coffee mugs, sleet globes and clocks.

Others specialize. Bibliophiles, for example, buy a L. Frank Baum and Baum-inspired books; art lovers, a Oz illustrations and fine-art pieces. Doll collectors squeeze a Madame Alexanders.

Some specialize in equipment from a 1939 film and/or all a Oz-themed cinema and theatre productions since, any opening a uninformed sport ground.

Take Disney’s widely panned 1985 “Return to Oz.” A reproduction of a pivotal to Oz in a film is offered for $30 on eBay.

“Right now there are some large ‘Wicked’ collections,” pronounced Albright.

‘This good small grandma lady’

Of a 25,000 pieces in Johnpaul Cafiero’s store now displayed in Wamego, Kan., 5 have a story that begs to be told.

Some years back, a crony operative during a shutting Warner Bros. store in New York called Cafiero to ask his seductiveness in 5 plush Oz total from a inventory. Cafiero gave her a credit label series and a mailing address.

That review took place Aug. 27, 2001. The emporium was in a World Trade Center.

Later job to find his crony was safe, Cafiero didn’t ask if she had mailed a figures. They arrived a few days later, to have their story told after during a Oz Museum in Kansas.

Cafiero, a Franciscan brother who lives on a north side of Chicago, had a bulk of his family’s Oz things packaged divided in 486 fifty-gallon Rubbermaid totes. When a storage place went under, he put out a word that he wanted to put a collection on loan.

Wamego answered a call.

The museum is inventorying a stockpile, that includes: a final pass of Ray Bolger, who portrayed a Scarecrow; a rubber gorilla from a 1939 movie; crimson slipper replicas done of Swarovski crystals; and singular celebration eyeglasses flashy with a film’s categorical characters — Toto, too.

It’s all insured for about $2 million, Cafiero said.

Certainly, rarer equipment are over many collectors’ wallets. Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume, for instance, has been for sale a series of times, with an opening bid in a $2 million ballpark.

When Garland’s blue-and-white dresses go adult for sale, starting prices are customarily north of $200,000.

It would be tough to put a cost on what Lawrence author Paul Miles Schneider owns: handwritten missives from a Wicked Witch herself, Margaret Hamilton.

Schneider has created 3 books with Oz themes; “Silver Shoes,” also a name of his blog, was a Kansas Notable Book leader in 2010.

Schneider is mostly asked to pronounce during large Oz gatherings, such as a annual Oz-Stravaganza! in Chittenango, N.Y., that was Baum’s birthplace.

“As a child flourishing adult in Kansas, my connection to Oz started unequivocally early,” pronounced Schneider, who works for a University of Kansas. “I tell people there was Christmas, my birthday and a a annual display of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’”

Although he grew adult in Lawrence, he was innate in New York City into an party family: His mom was an actress; his father had been a cameraman on “The Patty Duke Show.”

While on a vacation to New York, his family went to see Hamilton in a theatre prolongation of “Oklahoma!” After a show, he scored a private assembly in Hamilton’s sauce room.

There he was, a 7-year-old face-to-face with a Wicked Witch, who incited out to be “this good small grandma lady.” After kindly responding his questions about a movie, Hamilton looked during him and said, “You still don’t trust I’m a witch, do you?” So …

“She did a cackle, a magician laugh, for me. Still to this day we can hear it. She customarily pulled her conduct behind and let it go.”

Later his coop companion for a propagandize project, Hamilton sent him photos and postcards that are a heart of his medium Oz raise today.

And now, as it happens, a crimson slipper is on a other foot.

Schneider’s Oz-themed books are being collected, too.


Oz gourmet extraordinaire Jane Albright offers this recommendation for starting an Oz collection:

Buy a guide: Try “100 Years of Oz: A Century of Classic Images” by John Fricke and Willard Carroll, or Fricke’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated History of The American Classic.”

Choose a specialty: It creates a sport easier if, say, we customarily demeanour for sell tied to a 50th anniversary of a movie.

Visit eBay: “There’s so many on eBay, it’s staggering.”

Join a club: The International Wizard of Oz Club and a Wizard of Oz Collectors United are two.

Attend an Oz event: Check out OZtoberFest in Wamego, Kan., Sept. 26-27, sponsored by a Oz Museum.

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