The iconic blue-and-white checkered dress worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 classic movie The Wizard of Oz has finally turned up.
That’s right, Dorothy’s dress was recently found by the drama department at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. It was reportedly given to the university back in 1972 by actress Mercedes McCambridge. Soon after that, however, representatives with the school say the dress went missing for decades.
Everyone had wondered where the long-lost Wizard of Oz dress had gone. And, well, it turns out it just packed away, deep in storage. Evidently, the dress turned up back on June 7 when Matt Ripa, a lecturer, and operations coordinator at Catholic University of America, went looking for it. There was a rumor going around that the mythical dress was somewhere in the Hartke building at the University.
“I had looked in our archives, storage closets, etc. to no avail,” Ripa said in an official statement made by the school. “
It was only when the building in question started to undergo some renovations and upgrades that he noticed a trash bag on top of the faculty mailboxes. He said that when he opened it up, he couldn’t believe what was inside.
“On the trashbag was a note for our former chair stating that he had found ‘this’ in his office. And that he must have moved it when he moved out of the chair’s office,” Ripa explained. “I was curious what was inside. [I] opened the trash bag and inside was a shoebox and inside the shoe box was the dress! I couldn’t believe it. Needless to say, I have found many interesting things in the Hartke during my time at CUA. But I think this one takes the cake.”
‘Wizard of Oz’ Dress Contains All of the Authentic Characteristics
In addition to announcing a school employee had found the iconic dress, the university also spoke with Ryan Lintelman. Lintelman is well-known as an expert in Wizard of Oz memorabilia at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
“All of the dresses have certain verifiable characteristics. A ‘secret pocket’ on the right side of the pinafore skirt for Dorothy’s handkerchief, ‘Judy Garland’ written by hand in a script specific to a single person who labeled all of the extant dresses in the same hand, for example,” the university said. “The Hartke dress has all of these characteristics, including blouse tears where the pinafore straps sat on the shoulders.”
So what big plans are there for the dress now? Well, let’s just say it won’t be going miss for decades any time soon. The Wizard of Oz treasure will be going into proper storage.
“Dorothy’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ dress, once the province of myth, is now a real object,” the university concluded. “It can now be preserved in proper storage in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment so that hopefully, for many more years, it can be a source of ‘hope, strength, and courage’ for Catholic University students.