The famous classic movie Wizard of Oz is a piece of art that will always remain in our hearts. We’ve watched it at least ten times so far, and even if you’ve seen it only once, you will remember and know what’s with the – “we aren’t in Kansas anymore.”
As great the movie was, you can imagine that the props were worth a lot of money. Take Dorothy’s ruby red slippers for example, which have been displayed for many years at the Judy Garland Museum until 2005, when they vanished. Believe it or not, but 13 years later, the authorities crack the case of the missing slippers!
20. The Wizard of Oz
Nobody will forget the bright red shoes that Dorothy wore in the 1939 classic. It was a perfect choice for the first film that used Technicolor. The vivid color was used to highlight that the slippers were magical. These slippers would help Dorothy come back home in Kansas…
19. Click the Heels
To get back home, Dorothy had to click her heels while wearing the slippers, believe in herself and say: “There’s no place like home.” The red slippers became famous memorabilia from the movie, as they had a key role in the film.
However, they would vanish from “home.”
18. The Copies
This important prop called for safety measures. Costume designers would create more copies in case one of them was damaged or lost. But there is one question:
What happened with the slippers once the movie got wrapped up? Here’s where things get weird!
17. The Red Slippers
By the end of filming The Wizard of Oz, speculations are that there were about six pairs of red slippers. Where did the original and its duplicates end up? For more than 30 years, they were all at the Culver City lot.
Then, Kent Warner had to make a tough decision…
16. To The Auction
Kent Warner received the task to get back all the red slippers for the movie, select one to auction off and destroy the remaining pairs! However, Kent had another plan. He snuck off the pairs that should have been destroyed! Where did he keep them?
15. A Private Collection
At home, Kent Warner had a private collection, and these slippers were a great addition. Years passed, and he planned to sell them at private auctions. One pair got to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
A celebrity bought another pair…
14. The Famous Slippers
The second pair was purchased by Leonardo DiCaprio who gave it to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in LA. The third pair of red slippers was won in a contest by a school teacher who ended up selling them! Warner’s last pair of slippers from the collection was sold to a private collector.
Then, this happens!
13. A Grand Display
The private collector’s name is Michael Shaw, who didn’t want to keep this pair of ruby red slippers a secret in his house. He agreed to loan them in 2005 to the Judy Garland Museum from her hometown – Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
His decision would start quite the chaos!
12. A Museum Attraction
The Judy Garland Museum soon became an attraction as the slippers arrived. The officials insisted that the slippers would be moved to a vault overnight, but Shaw refused it. He thought that too much handling would damage the item.
But one morning, a guard was staring in shock…
11. They Are Gone!
In 2005, on the morning of 28 August, a museum security guard was looking horrified at the place where the slippers should have been… It was an empty display! These slippers are now worth a million dollars, and they were stolen from the museum in the middle of the night.
But how were they stolen?
10. An Inside Job?
What was weird was the fact that the slippers were enclosed in a glass case. In that morning, the guard was staring at the shattered case. The alarm never sounded to alert security and the authorities. Was this an inside job? Who took the slippers?
As soon as the entire staff was alerted about the missing item, they had to answer some questions. They all agreed that: “The biggest thing that ever happened to our museum was getting the slippers stolen. We were literally crying.”
Believe it or not, this case would be solved 12 years later!
8. No Leads
Museum staff had to answer to the authorities about their whereabouts on the night of 28 August. The police got no leads, and for ten years, they would keep on hitting dead ends with no sign of where the shoes have ended up…
7. Theories Arise
Ten years after the shoes were gone, a theory arises: the slippers might have been thrown into a nearby lake. As soon as the theory picked up steam, divers went to the bottom of Tioga Mine Pit Lake to find them. It was the 40th Annual Wizard of Oz Festival!
6. Twelve Years Later
Twelve years passed since the slippers were stolen. Then, in 2017, an anonymous source contacted the insurance company that was involved with Shaw’s claim. The person said they knew where the slippers were and that they could be taken back…
5. Authorities Were Suspicious
After so many years, the gut feeling of the Local Grand Rapids authorities was that this anonymous caller was trying to get reward money through extortion. They had no idea that their decision to call the FBI would soon end up with retrieving the shoes!
4. Calling the FBI
The police called the FBI thinking that there was a potential criminal claim. The FBI launched a one-year-long investigation and gathered a team of specialists from the bureau’s Art Crime Team, the FBI Laboratory and field offices in Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami…
3. A Success
After the investigation, on 4 September 2018, the authorities launched an undercover operation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The top-secret operation was almost 180 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and a success! They found the slippers, but the investigation is still ongoing!
2. Mysteries Keep Coming
Although the slippers were found, the mysteries should be revealed in the future because the investigation is ongoing as the authorities are still searching for the perpetrator. What happened to the precious slippers?
1. Finding a Proper Home
The beloved slippers are now searching for a proper home. “Their magic must be very powerful, or she wouldn’t want them so badly,” said Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. Who wanted them so badly that stole them? We have yet to find out!