“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Slippers Need a Touch-Up…

Posted on October 18, 2016 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

375px-ruby_slippers   The ruby slippers that whisked Dorothy back to Kansas at the end of The Wizard of Oz, which for more than 30 years have been one of the most beloved items at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, were crafted almost 80 years ago by the MGM prop department. Like most movie props, they weren’t built to last. Now, the frayed shoes aren’t even ruby-colored anymore — they’re a dull auburn.

   The shoes are the most recognizable prop for the beloved 1939 musical, their deep red hue dazzling audiences when the movie made its dramatic transition from black-and-white to Technicolor. They have been on display since anonymously donated to the museum in 1979.

   The Smithsonian have asked the public to help save the slippers, launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise $300,000. In addition to keeping the shoes’ color from deteriorating, the money will go toward a technologically advanced display case that will preserve them for future generations.

   Their age is showing, and preserving them is more complicated than it might appear. The slippers contain a dozen different materials. The sequins are made of gelatin with a primitive plastic coating, and many are no longer red because the coating has flaked off, in part because of decades of exposure to light and moisture. The undersides of the sequins, or portions that did not have direct exposure to light, have retained more of their color. The shoes also include glass beads and red felt on the soles that was used to muffle their sound when Judy Garland wore them during dance sequences. The museum will research the ideal conditions for the various materials that make up the shoes. The new case is likely to contain a gas other than oxygen, with controls on temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure

   The Smithsonian’s museums are federally funded, but the institution frequently solicits private and corporate contributions for major projects that its budget doesn’t cover. This is the Smithsonian’s second Kickstarter campaign. In 2015, the National Air and Space Museum raised $700,000 through the crowd-funding site to preserve the spacesuit that Neil Armstrong wore when he walked on the moon.

   As of Tuesday afternoon, donors had pledged nearly $80,000 on Kickstarter. If the museum does not reach its $300,000 goal in 30 days, no one will be charged. Donations start at $1 and, depending how much they give, contributors can receive rewards including t-shirts and tote bags created by William Ivey Long, a Tony Award-winning costume designer.

   If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, the slippers will be the second-most-researched item in the museum’s collection, behind the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner.

   Best wishes over the efforts of the Smithsonian.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 at 5:26 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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