Bay Area Collector to Auction Off Wizard of Oz Dress

By JAMEY PADOJINO Bay City News
|  Monday, Jul 15, 2013  |  Updated 12:03 PM PDT
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Bay Area Collector to Auction Off Wizard of Oz Dress

AP

This photo combo shows, at left, actress Judy Garland as Dorothy in a scene from "The Wizard of Oz," and at right, is an Oct. 16, 2012 file photo showing the dress Garland wore in the movie, on display in London. On Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, auction house Julien's Auctions said the gingham dress fetched the highest price of any item during a two-day auction of Hollywood memorabilia that attracted bids from around the world, selling for $480,000.

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An early version of the famous Dorothy Gale dress worn by actress Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" will soon have a new owner.

Bay Area collector Barry Barsamian collects Hollywood costumes,  props and memorabilia and has had the dress for more than 30 years. But now, Barsamian is ready to part with the 75-year-old dress at the Profiles in History  auction house in Calabasas Hills on July 28.

"It is my hope that its new owner will continue to spread Oz magic  for future generations to enjoy," he said.

Barsamian's copy of the dress is a solid blue pinafore with polka  dot trim and puff-sleeved blouse. The rare dress was only used during the movie's first two weeks of  filming in 1938 under then-director Richard Thorpe and did not appear in the  final version of the film.

Actress Debbie Reynolds owned another version of the dress that  was also used during the movie's first two weeks of filming. That dress was  auctioned off in 2011 for $910,000.

Filmmaker George Cukor briefly worked on the movie and revamped  Dorothy's dress and styled Garland's brunette hair in pigtails to better  portray a young girl from Kansas.

In the final version of the 1939 film under director Victor  Fleming, Garland wore the now-iconic blue gingham dress with a white  puff-sleeved blouse. The on-screen garment was auctioned off Profiles in  History in 2011 for $230,000.

Barsamian said he has no idea how much his copy of the dress will  go for.

"If Judy Garland were alive today I think she'd really get a kick  out of the fact that people were interested in the first dress she wore in  the movie," Barsamian said.

Barsamian's dress was created by costume designer Gilbert Adrian, better known as "Adrian," who sewed the dress by hand. Garland's name is inscribed in ink inside the face of the bodice.

Besides the dress, the new owner will also receive handwritten  letters from original owner Wayne Martin, a copy of the original Smithsonian  Freedom Train program and letter of provenance from Barsamian.

The outfit was part of a collection during a bicentennial celebration of the Smithsonian Institution's "Freedom Train" from 1975 to  1976. Several train cars toured through the continental United States, which  displayed different aspects of U.S. history. Barsamian recalls going to San Francisco's Crissy Field when he  was 16 years old when the train was in the Bay Area.

"I was fascinated because it did look a little different,"  Barsamian said.

He has owned the dress since 1982 and kept it in cool storage  until 2007, where it finally saw the light of day during an appearance at a  fundraiser for The Little Jim Club at the California Pacific Medical Center  in San Francisco.

When reflecting on how long he's had the dress, Barsamian simply  said, "it was time" to let it go.

"As we get older we realize that we can't keep everything," he  said.

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