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Who Stole the Ruby Slippers?

Suspicious Munchkins, Hollywood hucksters, and lunatic fans (oh, my): Inside the very weird and not so wonderful search for an American icon

Who Stole the Ruby Slippers?
Photo by Todd Buchanan

(page 1 of 3)


Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

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Mar 9, 2009 09:23 pm
 Posted by  JudyGarland.com

My name is Michael Siewert and I suppose I am one of those weird, fanatical collectors that you speak of. I do, after all, own the worlds largest collection of Judy Garland memorabilia. Only thing is....I actually have a life. You have no idea what it costs to acquire and preserve such a collection. (Take a look at www.JudyGarland.com). If I were not a successful businessman I could certainly not afford the artifacts that I own, which include 15 iconic original costume gowns that Garland wore throughout her career. If I were as kooky as you would like your readers to think I am, I certainly would not have been as successful in life as I have been. Between the comparisons of some of the fans thinking my complete identity is proclaimed by my collection and your fantasy of me being some gay freak of nature, it is wonder how I could survive a single day. Collecting is a hobby like many others. Some people simply have the means to acquire more rare artifacts. As your article seems to uncover some sub culture of fantasy, the article, itself is just that. I feel that most of what you have reported has been taken out of context for the purpose to have an interesting story. As someone who knows so many of the details which you tried to convey, I was bored with your style. I was even one of the suspected collectors who had stolen the slippers. I spoke with both local and Federal agents to clear my name. More than anything I would like to clarify one thing. The Judy Garland Festival is still a popular event. Since the slippers were stolen, I have been a guest of the festival and have exhibited my rare collection every year since. Of course you failed to give that flattering and uplifting report. The fans have asked the director of the museum to ask me back every year. I would be curious to know what hobbies you might have and how that might be conceived by the public. Quite possibly I could write a story about what a strange man you are.
Michael SIewert, www.JudyGarland.com

Feb 23, 2010 09:41 pm
 Posted by  whocares

If I am to understand Tim Gihring correctly, Kent Warner stole items, including the shoes from MGM?

If so, why is nobody pointing out how illegal and shady that is?

This article also says Michael Shaw got his shoes by lying to Warner about them being for Miss Reynolds...also shady and dishonest, if true.

Why would anyone want to be associated with these guys if what is said in this article is accurate?

Liars, thieves, and crooks...oh my!

Jun 14, 2010 02:41 pm
 Posted by  JudyFan

I just returned from the Judy Garland Festival in Minnesota. I traveled from out of state for 3 days of pure Garland fun. Not sure why the writer feels the festival is getting smaller and people are losing interest because there were more people this year than the last time I attended five years ago. I think this guy needs to check his facts with actual attendance records.

For those of you out there have have an interest in Judy, the festival is very informative and the folks that attend are a lot of fun. Of course there are always a few odd balls in attendance but in my mind it only adds to the fun.

Jun 1, 2011 07:07 am
 Posted by  BlondeJohn

As an attendee of the "Wizard of Oz Festival" in Chesterton
Indiana, I see the wonder in the eyes of the children who love
the classic movie as much as me. I think we all have a soft spot for our past, and it is certainly wonderful to have some
good things in our lives... One of the all-time bestselling ornaments, in Hallmarks collection, are the Ruby Slippers...In fact, they have already designed and sold two styles of the glam pumps... As long as there is facination in the world, we
will always love Judy, her movies and the pumps that helped her along the way!
Blonde John in Holy Toledo

Aug 3, 2011 02:39 am
 Posted by  andypetes2011

Michael is outraged and I believe he has every right to be.

Like Michael, I am a huge fan of the Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland, and when I found out that one of the best pairs of Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland that we know of to exist were stolen, it broke my heart.

It seems to me that in light of when the slippers were stolen (the night of Hurricane Katrina) the case has not gotten the attention it deserves. I also think the media (as represented in this article) and the police department's failure to treat this issue seriously (making 'tongue-n-cheek' jokes and so forth) has also depleted momentum in the case immensely.

Why should it matter? Its just an old dusty pair of shoes. Yes, they maybe old and dusty. But they are a national treasure, a treasure that has become intricately engraved in our American fabric. They are more then just a "dusty pair of shoes," they are a symbol and a significant part of American History, and the American public deserves them back.

I think something needs to be done to put pressure on law officials to at least bring what happened to the slippers to light. I think the American public deserves that much.

Also, in response to the post made by "WHOCARES"- MGM and Warner Brothers were selling off everything they could on the studio lots in the 70s and NO ONE cared about these historical costumes. If it wasn't for the efforts of Michael Shaw, the ruby slippers might have never been recovered at all.

Sep 23, 2011 06:44 pm
 Posted by  balinwire

The auction in Culver City was quite a spectacle. I had no money for real bidding so I was able to but a cheap buckle for a two bucks. I remember there was so much stuff and almost a riot. I was most displeasured they sold off all the props but thats Hollywood, it always erases its past and reinvents itself. They really are only $20 thrift store shoes, all the thrift stores then had tons of 1930's Hollywood stuff, I bought a 30-100 Grand Gutiar for 3 bucks and sold it for $30. Long story. Who knew what this stuff would become. I still collect small shards of history and everyone thinks I am a hoarder. My Mom bailed out of South Dakota via Minnesota in 1948 and landed in old Hollywood where I was exposed to the ghosts of a bygone era.

Nov 17, 2011 09:21 pm
 Posted by  Laurabell

andypetes2011,

"Efforts" ?

Lets get to the facts here babe.

Warner STOLE the slippers and many other items and SOLD THEM out of the back of a car.

NOT his property to sell.

Shaw was asked by Debbie Reynolds to pick up a pair for her and Warner was under the impression he was selling them to Reynolds though Shaw.

Shaw LIED and kept them for himself.

No ifs, and , or buts abut it.

Jun 7, 2014 10:59 pm
 Posted by  f52b

Hmmm. Shaw probably has the slippers and they never made it to the museum. A phony pair were most likely displayed. How do you break Plexiglas? Jk turned off the alarm the evening before the theft. The door alarm was turned off by JK because people were using the door and the noise was annoying. Their were no working cameras and there was only one guard no where nearby at the time. JK's story of the theft told to me is as suspect as the theft itself.

Shaw was paid $800K by Essex insurance company. $250K award by Essex and $50K award by an anonymous donor.

I of course know nothing about this except for those who know everything about what I am saying. For the record, I am not accusing anyone except the true thief...

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