Judu Garland Museum and the ruby slippers

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by rockgor, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    If you search on the net for "Judy Garland museum Grand Rapds" you will find the house where Judy was born, now a small museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

    As you probably know, there were several pairs of ruby slippers. The museum had one. They were stolen two years ago. Still missing as far as I could find out on the net.

    You might want to look at a book about the slippers that I read several years ago: The Ruby Slippers of Oz by Rhys Thomas.

    Did you know that in the book by Frank L. Baum the slippers were silver? MGM changed the color in order to show off it's new technicolor process.

    There was a tv movie about Baum ten years ago or so. The name "Oz" allegedly came from his second filing cabinet which had files from O to Z.

  2. sisland

    sisland New Member

    Just wanted to add that when my Middle Gal went to DC for a school trip there was a museum there that had a pair of Ruby Slippers in a Glassed in Box! She took a photo of course,,,,,,,There Everywhere!

    It's cool to Know some Facts about the Real ones! Silver seems apropriate!
  3. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    thinking that Oz was Australia - they call themselves Aussies, pronounced Ozies - jeez wake up woman.

  4. jens2angels

    jens2angels New Member

    Buddy Ebsen (sp?) was supposed to be the Tin Man originally but they put so much silver stuff on him his skin couldn't breathe and he got really really sick!

    I adore the Wizard of Oz.
  5. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Looks like the W. of Oz is a magic movie for a lot of us.

    Shirley Temple would have been a cute Dorothy, but Judy was unbeatable. She wore her heart on her sleeve as somebody said. (Oh, all right; it was Shakespeare.)

    Unlike her great friend Micky who could not act at all and just mugged (much like Gary Coleman decades later). Hard to believe when I was born he was the most popular movie star.

    Several people have commented over the years that Judy could pick up a dance number just by watching the choreographer do it. She frequently didn't seem to be paying attention to the director, etc. But when the camera rolled she delivered.

    I have heard a couple times how she and Mickey were drugged by the studio. Have also heard that was a complete fabrication. Liza said a couple times that her mother was a great raconteur, but not always totally accurate.

    She could really put a song across. One music critic wrote that she was one of the greatest pop singers, but noted she had a very limited range and an unusally low voice. She didn't just deliver notes, she delivered emotion.

    Her tv show was on the year I got out of college. I watched it every week. Great guests; great singing. Some weeks the show was simply a concert by Judy. Some of that stuff is now available on tape/DVD.

    And she was in other great films too. Like A Star is Born, Meet Me in St Louis, and Easter Parade. Even those films that were not top drawer had something in them, maybe one great musical number.

    The Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids didn't exist when I lived in Minnesota. If I ever go back there again, I plan to visit the place.

    It's just a little town. You know they don't have crime in those little towns. The poor museum people didn't have any idea about proper security. I hope nobody is trying to wear the slippers. They are 68 years old and must be pretty fragile by now.


  6. Callum

    Callum New Member

    This may have been already discussed, but the reason why the slippers are silver, and the yellow brick road gold, is because Baum used it as allegory to the Gold Standard vs. the green back (The Emerald City). Although, of course, the Oz books were for children, he was also trying to wake up the farmers (the empty headed scarecrow) to what the government was doing to them, and where The Grange was leading them.

    As for how the movie has touched so many of us - I remember being four years old, and seeing the next week's TV guide that announced that the movie would be playing that next Sunday.

    OH MY GOSH! I couldn't sleep for days for excitement. And that night - Uggh! After dinner, my parents made me play outside until seven o'clock when it was on. I couldn't concentrate. How could I, when The Wizard of Oz was going to be on!?

    Years and years later, I had the honor to work with Gloria De Haven, who had played Judy Garland's sister in "Summer Stock", and Van Johnson - and of course they had terror stories of her on the set - showing up late, being neurotic - but they never dwelled on that. When they spoke of Judy, their eyes would kind of glaze over, and they would rhapsodize - "When she sang - it was like her soul was being poured out , just for you."

    It was 1984, I was 19 and wearing a Barbra Streisand shirt, and Ms. De Haven looked at me and said, "She and Judy Garland are the greatest female performers that have ever lived. They could and did it all - sing, dance, act. For Judy, it was tragic because she never knew how good she was. For Barbra, it's tragic because it never mattered how good she was, she had to be pretty."

    Gloria De Haven is a classy, gracious lady, and I consider it an honor I got to work with her, if only for a week.
  7. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Great story.

    I always thought Summer Stock wasn't much of a movie, but the Get Happy number at the end is a knockout. One of the best in all the great MGM musicals.

    What were you doing w/ Gloria and Van? Summer stock?

  8. Callum

    Callum New Member

    "Summer Stock" is also amazing for two other things - watching them try to hide Judy's weight in the first part of the film, and the Gene Kelly number with the newspaper (pure genius).

    I worked at a theater in Michigan that brought shows in with many "stars of yesteryear." Gloria & Van were in "No No Nanette." I also had the pleasure of working with, during those two summers, with:

    Martha Raye, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Tony Bennett, Joel Grey, Alexis Smith, William Conrad, Patti Page, Jim Nabors (I was his assistant for a couple of weeks; such a kind man, and an underrated talent!) Kaye Starr, Jane Powell, Anne Blythe, Richard Fredericks, Dick Van Patten and his sons (We played tennis - they were such gracious people, they let me look good!), Ken Berry, Helen Reddy, Gavin Macleod (Talk about a kind-hearted mensch!)Brian Keith (not a mensch!)Gary Sandy (from WKRP in Cincinatti) and a not-so-oldy, Morgan Fairchild, direct from "Flamingo Road". (Everyone expected her to be a real pistol, based on the characters she played. What a sweet, smart-as-a-whip, self-effacing pleasure she was to work with!)

    It was a great learning experience to see people, all who had talent, but who were in various levels of the careers, and how they treated the work and the people around them.

    I hope to meet people like Tony Bennett, Jim Nabors, Gavin MacLeod, Joel Grey, Morgan Fairchild, Dick Van Patten - and say "Years ago, I was a 'nobody', and I want to thank you for being big enough to NEVER treat me as such. IT MATTERS!"

    The rude ones were much, much rarer, and I won't smear their names because, who knows what they were dealing with in their lives at the time?

    Give my best to Gordon!
  9. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Wow! What a list! You really got to meet and work w/ some great entertainers.

    I saw several of those stars on stage. Went backstage and met Jane Powell. I saw her in "I do! I do" and "101 in the Shade". The first was wonderful. The second wasn't much. Only one decent song in the score. The rain on stage was kinda impressive tho.

    Anyway she looked wonderful and was very sweet. That's probably what people say when they go backstage and meet you.

    On the show biz front I am reading Farley Granger's bio. I told Gordon, I always got him mixed up w/ Stewart Granger. At the beginning of the book Farley says the Goldwyn studio wanted to change his name to avoid this problem, but never quite got around to it.

    The most successful movie he was in was "Strangers on a Train." He did another Hitchcock film too: Rope.

    So are you between shows and resting now?

  10. Callum

    Callum New Member

    I just saw "Strangers on a Train" this summer for the first time - what an amazing movie!

    Jane Powell was also sweet to work with; although she was HORRIBLY miscast (I think she was almost 50 playing Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady." After the seen where Higgins puts marbles in her mouth (jelly beans on stage), she had to spit them into my hand during a blackout. She was so concerned about it, apologized every day. Wanted me to wear gloves. I told her that the only way I could protect her and her costume was to use my bare hand, and that I had plenty of time to wash my hands afterwards, but she still always apologized.

    I was in rehearsal for a South African play called "Happy Endings Are Extra", but my mother is having a nervous breakdown in Sun City, AZ, and it looks like I have to go out for a couple weeks, get her house sellable, and get her the help she needs. I think she wants to move back to Michigan. So, I most likely will have to excuse myself from the play.

    I did have a fourth (!) callback to play Gallimard in M. Butterfly, a role I played with great success in college - I'd like to do it now that I'm the right age, and it's a great theater company. I should hear either way soon. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

    Rock, I need to ask you something - in one of your postings, you said something to the effect that "now that your CFS fog was combined with the beginning of Alzheimer's..." I hope that was you being Rock and droll?
  11. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry to hear about your mother. You are a good son to go help her.

    Re: Alzheimer's, I was being droll and factual. I am in the beginning stages. You know the joke about the guy who finds out he has cancer and Alzheimer's? Well, I'm that guy.

    But as a friend of mine said when someone told him to stop smoking or he'd get lung cancer, "Well, we all have to die of something."

    Anyway I have no desire to hang around a long time and be an Az patient. My father spent the last ten years of his life as a near-vegtable. He had Korsakoff's syndrome i.e., brain turned to mush after half a century of heavy drinking. I don't want to end up like that.

    Seems like you are always in demand for another role. Wouldn't it be funny if you got turned down for M. Butterly?
    "Well, I'm sorry, Callum. We've decided to go w/ a much younger actor. Actually he's still in college."

    Give us a post whenever you can. Folks are always delighted w/ your show biz anecdotes.

    Rock (friend of Dorothy)

  12. Callum

    Callum New Member

    I'm so sorry to hear about that diagnosis - it always seems to me that the people who have the most to share intellectually are the ones who get that DD. But I also have a good friend who had it for 10 years with only the minimum of symptoms, before the disease took over. I'm putting out to the universe for double that for you - for the selfish reason that we all love your wit, insight, intellect, and we know how much Gordon needs you (even if you do turn and twist at night like Sonja Heine!)