Dorothy’s Red Shoes Found after 13 Years

The red shoes that Judy Garland wore in "The Wizard of Oz" from the 1939 movie were found and returned to the American Academy of Film.

 red shoes made for
One of four pairs of iconic red shoes made for "The Wizard of Oz" movie, displayed in Beverly Hills in 2011.

(— September 5, 2018) — The FBI is set to announce details behind the recovery of the sequined shoes at a press conference at its Minneapolis headquarters Tuesday. The famous red shoes were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota in 2005, after a thief broke in and smashed their Plexiglas display case, leaving behind no trace.

The pair was insured for $1 million, and a $250,000 reward was offered by the authorities for their return. Before a 10 year anniversary of the robbery a fan offered a $1 million reward for the return the shoes but no-one came forward.  

After 13 years, FBI investigators found and returned the red shoes to the Garland’s museum. It is not clear if the Federal investigators clamed any reward.

“The exact details of the investigation are not being released at this time as this remains an active investigation,” Sergeant Robert Stein said. Grand Rapids Herald Review reports that the investigators acted on a tip which lead them to the shoes.

These shoes were worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in a scene from the legendary 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” in which she tapped them three times to return to her home in Kansas.

For decades, people have characterized Baum’s book as a fairy tale for children, until historian Henry Littlefield published the analysis of the story in 1964 drawing a strong political parallel to 19th century America.

Littlefield noticed that the beautiful red shoes from the film version of the “Wizard of Oz” do not exist in Frank Baum’s book because they were silver there. They became red to take advantage of Technicolor’s color movie, at that time still new technologies. But once you realize that in the original the shoe was silver, the political message becomes clear and loud, according to Littlefield.

Farmers wanted to return to free silver to protect them from the harmful economic impact of the gold standard. In the “Wizard of Oz,” a yellow brick trail, which represents gold, is a dangerous road. It leads to the Emerald City – the road is a link between the gold standard and the political interests. And it is full of cracks and holes, writes Baum. The scarecrow, which represents farmers is walking unsecure. But Dorothy’s silver shoes safely get her out of danger, suggesting that the return to the silver and gold standard is a solution to economic problems.

And to be absolutely clear that the “Wizard of Oz” is talking about monetary policy, Baum called his imaginary land Oz – which is an abbreviation for the ounce, a unit of gold and silver.


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