Wednesday 27th April 2022 - Cara Bentham
Learn more about this slippery sale item.
Over eight decades after the famous film initially graced the silver screen, one of the most recognisable props from The Wizard of Oz has been sold at auction. The prop in question is the Tin Man's famous oil can from the classic 1939 film, first seen a staggering 83 years ago but still loved by people of all ages today.
The prop, an actual oil can, acheived its estimate at a sale in late March of this year with Kruse GWS Auctions. It was one of several used during the filming of the much-loved movie. Experts disagree over whether there were actually three or five used, so the exact number remains unknown.
Jack Haley, the actor who played the iconic role of the intrepid Tin Man in search of a heart, is said to have been allowed to take home one of the oil cans as a souvenir once filming had been completed. Unfortunately, the remainder of the Tin Man's iconic costume has since gone missing, and the oil can sold in the March auction is one of the only original pieces known to exist.
This was the first time in 83 years that the iconic piece of Hollywood memorabilia had gone up for sale, which is perhaps why it attracted such great interest. The item is currently on display in Los Angeles at the Academy of Motion Pictures Museum under a loan agreement.
Memorabilia from The Wizard of Oz is highly sought-after amongst collectors. One of the four existing pairs of ruby slippers, famously worn by Dorothy in the film, sold for over £1.5 million! A pair of the same shoes once sparked an FBI manhunt when they were stolen from a Judy Garland museum display. Although the shoes have since been retrieved, the case remains still open.
Jack Haley's famous co-stars included Judy Garland, who starred in the lead role of Dorothy, as well as Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Frank Morgan as the Wizard of Oz, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Billie Burke as Glinda the Good Witch of the North and Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West.
The film was adapted from the popular 1900's children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Upon its release in August 1939, the musical, directed by Victor Fleming, was only moderately successful. Despite its initial modest success amongst audiences at the time, the musical went on to receive critical acclaim. The Wizard of Oz was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and won two Oscars, including Best Original Score by Herbert Stothart and Best Original Song for the ever-popular "Over the Rainbow".
According to the Library of Congress, the famous story of friendship and bravery has since become the most seen movie in history.