Rare letter from Kent Warner, the founder of the ruby slippers
When I found the Ruby Slippers at MGM there were (I think) 4 pairs. One pair auctioned for $15,000.00. I kept 1 pair and know not where the other 2 pair went. The three pair I didn't get were very well worn. My perfect pair were most likely the 'insert' (close-up) shoes which were only used when the camera was extreamely [sic] close on the shoes.
When a film is made, and the script calls for a camera angle featuring a particular item close up, that 'shot' is almost always made at a separate time from the regular shooting of a scene. Thusly; when in The Wizard of Oz Glinda tells Dorothy to click her heels and say 'There's no place like home, there's no place like home' and the camera is featuring the ruby Slippers (very close up) the most perfect (my pair) of the Slippers was used.
To the question 'wouldn't Judy Garland have to have walked in the Slippers (my pair) at some time or other?' the answer is not necessarely [sic]. If the inserts were shot later or on a separate stage (as is often done) Ms Garland would have been handed a perfect pair of Slippers right at the shooting site. This would have insured that fact that the Slippers were indeed kept perfect for their featured moment of glory. After the 'shot' they were taken away and boxed to insure their perfection.
As a person having been involved with film costume for many years I know these all to be fact. I've gone through 'inserts' many, many times.
Film costume buffs to whom I have spoken over the years very much agree with this theory. But... rest asured [sic]... this is the real thing!
Copyright 1989 by Rhys Thomas.