Saturday, July 16, 2011
Screen Gem Saturdays: Debbie Reynolds Auction, Pt. 4
Coming down to the homestretch here on the Debbie Reynolds Auction posts! Today's post has a Judy Garland theme, and what better costume to begin with than the dress she wore as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz"? Well, not exactly...this dress was one of the outfits used in the wardrobe shots that were done under George Cukor's short tenure as director, so this dress was never seen on screen.
How about hitting the gavel at $910,000? Not bad for a failed outfit! From the online catalog:
Judy Garland “Dorothy Gale” blue cotton test dress with polka dot trim and ivory sheer puff-sleeved blouse by Adrian from The Wizard of Oz. (MGM, 1939) Ivory sheer puff-sleeved blouse with blue ribbon. No label. Blue cotton pinafore with polka dot trim. Handwritten label “Judy Garland 3955.” Worn by Judy Garland as “Dorothy” in the first two weeks of filming in The Wizard of Oz.
Next up is a pair of shoes commonly known as the Arabian Ruby Slippers. There were a few different designs created for Dorothy, with this one being the most ornate. Ultimately, these never made it to the screen either, but still commanded a very respectable $510,000
Judy Garland “Dorothy Gale” Arabian-pattern test “Ruby Slippers” from The Wizard of Oz. (MGM, 1939) Arabian-patterned shoes covered with red sequins and beads lined with red silk. Handwritten “10 W.C.C.” Beads are missing in spots. Interior silk is frayed. Delicate condition. Designed for Judy Garland as “Dorothy” but not screen-used. The screen-used shoes were traditional in shape. These shoes are seen in wardrobe test photos from The Wizard of Oz.
In the Emerald City sequences, this jacket could be seen on one of the extras in the actual film. Since it was worn by an extra and not a lead, this supporting costume only brought in $22,500.
Emerald-green felt “Ozmite” jacket designed by Adrian from The Wizard of Oz. (MGM, 1939) Green and tan felt jacket with brass belt worn by one of the extras as an Ozmite as Professor Marvel is departing the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. MGM label handwritten “W. Taylor 1060-3902 48 ½.”
Frank Morgan was not the original choice for the role of the Wizard. W.C. Fields was approached about playing the role, but he eventually declined after much haggling back and forth. Here is a letter sent to Fields, stating the regret about not being able to use him for the film:
$8,000 was the final price for this piece of Oz casting history, which also included other letters from Fields' collection. From the online catalog:
W. C. Fields archive of correspondence including a letter regarding Field’s proposed role as “The Wizard” in The Wizard of Oz. Archive of approx. 40 letters, contract, studio correspondence, telegrams and other ephemera (6 signed by Fields) regarding the films You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man, The Wizard of Oz and other films. Most notably is a typewritten letter on M-G-M letterhead, dated Aug. 25th, 1938 that reads (in full): “Bill, I am really sorry you are not doing WIZARD OF OZ. I can’t get the powers that be go for the ACE, the ¾ is the limit. I can see your point and unfortunately, I can see theirs. It’s a short job, about two weeks actual work and done at anytime that will suit the convenience of your Valley commitment. On an actual basis of more than $30,000 a week, it isn’t tin, and won’t hurt your prestige. With the world acclaim that this opus is going to get, and with the set up it’s going to have financially and exploitation, honestly Bill you need it. It’s a swell set up for you and will do you more good than forty of those percentage turkeys with headaches at the Valley. If that lays an egg, only you are blamed. The Wiz lays an egg and MGM gets it. Don’t, don’t for xs sake pass it up for the dough. Figure it as $30,000 and over per week actual work. One can’t get hung for that. There are too many good properties coming up for you over here. I’d like to see you here on a deal, but, that LB is funny guy. Sure, I’m on their side, but, I have a big leaning toward you. I don’t want to see you penny wise and pound foolish.” Fields was the original choice for the title role in The Wizard of Oz, but was rumored to be too small a role combined with his asking for $100,000 (“the ACE”), while MGM offered $75,000 (“the ¾ is the limit.” Incredible content. Includes typed letters signed Bill, hand-annotated letter in Fields’ hand regarding an early patron and other correspondence.
Next to "Oz," "Meet Me In St. Louis" is one of the other best known Garland films. The first costume from that film shown here was worn by Mary Astor, who played Garland's mother.
Mary Astor “Mrs. Anna Smith” ivory lace gown with hat and parasol from Meet Me in St. Louis. (MGM, 1944) Exquisite ivory lace period gown heavily appliquéd with grape leaves and cluster pattern, belt, matching hat and parasol. Worn by Mary Astor as “Mrs. Anna Smith” in the final scene at the St. Louis Fair in Meet Me in St. Louis. Dress has MGM Wardrobe stamp and handwritten “1D W-26.” Belt has MGM Wardrobe stamp and handwritten “2XX.” Fabric is fragile but stable.
$15,000 was the final price for this delicate creation.
This dress is barely visible in the film, as it is covered with a coat that Garland wears throughout the scene, which is why it probably only sold for $10,000.
Judy Garland “Esther Smith” red wool period dress from Meet Me in St. Louis. (MGM, 1944) Red wool two-tiered period dress with quilted grape clusters on skirt and lace trim on collar and cuffs. Worn by Judy Garland as “Esther Smith” under the blue coat in the snowman-building scene in Meet Me in St. Louis. Handwritten label “Judy Garland.”
When Judy Garland sang "Under The Bamboo Tree" and did her best to shamelessly flirt with the boy-next-door, she wore this costume, which ended up going for $16,000.
Judy Garland “Esther Smith” Grey period wool dress with tassels from Meet Me in St. Louis. (MGM, 1944) Two-piece grey crepe wool tiered dress with grey tassels on each tier and mustard silk top. Worn by Judy Garland as “Esther Smith” in the musical numbers “Skip to My Lou,” “I Was Drunk Last Night,” “Under the Bamboo Tree” and “Over the Bannister” in Meet Me in St. Louis. Both pieces have handwritten “1317 Judy Garland #11 TD.” Fabric and tassels are faded.
The description says "grey," but on film it looks blue.
The tux that John Truett (Tom Drake) wore to the Christmas Dance was sold as a combo with a robe worn by Tootie (Margaret O'Brien).
A black wool tux jacket with satin lapel. MGM label handwritten “TOM DRAKE 1317 7682” and black wool pants with MGM label handwritten “T. DRAKE 1317 7689 31 32” and MGM cleaning tag. Lining in right sleeve detached. Worn by Tom Drake as “John Truett” dancing at the Christmas ball with Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis.
Margaret O’Brien “Tootie Smith” salmon robe, blue and white gingham pinafore and from Tom Drake “John Truett” black tux and pants from Meet Me in St. Louis. (MGM, 1944) Salmon wool crepe robe with blue embroidered bows worn by Margaret O’Brien as “Tootie Smith” in several scenes from Meet Me in St. Louis. Handwritten label “1317 Margaret O’Brien.” Lining in both sleeves is detaching. Includes a blue and white gingham cotton pinafore with handwritten label “1925 Margaret O’Brien.” Worn by Margaret O’Brien as “Tootie Smith” riding the ice wagon in Meet Me in St. Louis.
$5,500 for both.
$2,500 was the final price for this never-seen-on-screen costume that was assigned to Garland in "The Harvey Girls."
Judy Garland “Susan Bradley” cream two-piece period dress (not screen used) from The Harvey Girls. (MGM, 1946) Cream linen embroidered period jacket and skirt made for Judy Garland as “Susan Bradley” in The Harvey Girls. MGM label handwritten “1348-9144 Judy Garland.” This outfit was made for the film but ultimately not seen in the final film print.
Another Garland blockbuster was the 1948 film "Easter Parade," with Fred Astaire. This first poster sold for $2,250
Easter Parade original 1948 U.S. one-sheet poster. (MGM, 1948) Linen-backed original 27” x 41” U.S. one-sheet style “D” poster for a great musical, starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Very Fine with modest background retouching.
$4,000 was the final price for the 2nd poster shown here, which is quite a bit bigger. Who says size doesn't matter?
Easter Parade original 1948 U.S. three-sheet poster. (MGM, 1948) Linen-backed original 41” x 79” U.S. three-sheet style “B” poster for a great musical, starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Very Good to Fine with modest background and image retouching.
Ann Miller is deliciously evil as villainess Nadine Hale in the movie. When she attempts to woo Fred Astaire back into her arms, she puts on this sultry dress. Final price: $3,250
Ann Miller “Nadine Hale” White chiffon gown with red feathers ‘It Only Happens When I Dance With You’ number from Easter Parade. (MGM, 1948) White chiffon gown with cascading red feather shirt and rhinestone neckline worn by Ann Miller as “Nadine Hale” in the “It Only Happens When I Dance With You” number from Easter Parade. MGM label handwritten “Ex. 3”. Fabric is fragile and most feathers are missing.
Hopefully PETA won't get their hands on this screen worn fur coat that belonged to Peter Lawford's character. $1,500 is what it sold for.
Peter Lawford “Jonathan Harrow III” Raccoon coat from Easter Parade. (MGM, 1948) Raccoon coat with eight large leather buttons and tan shaved beaver lining. Two Samuel Rifken Furs Glendale California labels. Worn by Peter Lawford as “Jonathan Harrow III” in the scene where he finds Judy Garland again at the theatre in Easter Parade.
Purchased to be the apex of her career, "Annie Get Your Gun" ended up being a trauma-filled experience that left Judy Garland in shambles. Two outfits that were created for her before she was let go from the movie were part of Debbie Reynold's collection. This first one sold for $11,000.
Betty Hutton “Annie Oakley” complete 10-piece Wild West Show costume from Annie Get Your Gun. (MGM, 1950) Judy Garland was scheduled to play “Annie Oakley” in Annie Get Your Gun, and a number of costumes were made for her, but a few weeks into production it was necessary to replace her with Betty Hutton. Complete outfit of cream suede jacket and two skirts adorned with pink and green floral sequins with matching gloves, hat, boots, belt, and green blouse with scarf. Worn by Betty Hutton as “Annie Oakley” in the Wild West show scene in Annie Get Your Gun. Handwritten label “1450.6433 Betty Hutton.” Costumes designed by Helen Rose.
$7,000 was the final price for this dress:
Judy Garland “Annie Oakley” two-piece dress with blouse from Annie Get Your Gun. (MGM, 1950) Judy Garland was scheduled to play “Annie Oakley” in Annie Get Your Gun, and a number of costumes were made for her, but a few weeks into production it was necessary to replace her with Betty Hutton. Pale green two-piece wool dress accented with white and gold embroidery along collar, cuffs and skirt hem. Handwritten label “1450-6056 Judy Garland”. Mustard yellow silk blouse with self covered buttons. Designed by Walter Plunkett and Helen Rose.
One more installment on the way! To see more classic Hollywood photos, visit my regular website.