Oz The Great and Powerful

In theaters nationwide 3/8/2013


The Ruby Slippers

Since it’s all about Oz The Great and Powerful this year, I thought I would tell you a little bit about the famous Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, 1939…

In L Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz the Ruby slippers weren’t ruby at all – they were silver. It is said that the book was Baum’s take on the monetary policy against both Wall St. banks and the giant corporate trusts like Standard Oil in Ohio(the wicked witch of the West). The silver alluded to the Progressive’s position that the dollar should be printed by the US treasury and not a central bank in the late 1800’s. They were made red because of the impact that the color had on the technicolor screen.

There are 4 pairs of Ruby Slippers known to exist:

  • One pair is in the Smithsonian on permanent display.
  • One pair was stolen from the Judy Garland Museum.
  • The two remaining pairs have passed hands through various collectors and remain in private collections.

There were TWO versions of the Ruby Slippers – the ones you know today with the bow and another earlier design with a curled toe:


The curled toe version was the first idea for the Ruby Slippers and never worn onscreen. These were in actress Debbie Reynold’s collection until sold in 2011 for $510, 000.

The Ruby Slippers are actually not bright ruby red at all, but burgundy. The bright red version of them did not film well on the Technicolor screen – they were too bright. The actual Ruby Slippers are a dulled version of what you see in the film:


All but one pair of the Ruby Slippers made is said to have orange felt on the soles because of the clicking on the Yellow Brick Road that they made when Judy Garland danced. The ones without the felt are said to be the shoes Judy Garland wore when she clicked her heels 3 times. They are also said to be the shoes worn by the Wicked Witch of the East when Dorothy’s house fell on her. These are now in the collection of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Ruby Slippers are said to be the most valuable piece of film memorabilia in history.