Farnsworth Presents “Oz” on 75th Anniversary of Iconic Film

A Gilbert Adrian-designed dress tested by Judy Garland for “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) and the blouse she wore during the first two weeks of filming, together with a shooting script used by Bobby Connolly who staged the dance numbers.


The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland opens “The Wonderful World of Oz—Selections from the Willard Carroll/Tom Wilhite Collection” on Saturday October 12, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s classic motion picture “The Wizard of Oz.”

The Wonderful World of Oz, drawn from the world’s most comprehensive collection of Oz materials, which is based in Maine, will run through March of 2014 in the museum’s Crosman Gallery. The opening will be celebrated at a members’ preview and reception 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, October 11, throughout the museum’s galleries.

L. (Lyman) Frank Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz became an instant sensation upon its 1900 publication. Eventually translated into hundreds of foreign languages, the Land of Oz ultimately became a worldwide phenomenon. Oz’s greatest success, however, came with the 1939 film starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, in which she made the Academy Award-winning song Over the Rainbow a national hit and touchstone of popular culture.

Included in the Farnsworth exhibition will be the most complete surviving costume (worn by the green Lollipop Guild Munchkin), one of Dorothy’s pinafores and blouses, examples of the many illustrated versions of Baum’s books (including the finest known copy of the first edition, first state “green imprint” of Baum’s initial book in the series), rare or one-of-a-kind posters from the various motion picture and stage productions, and a remarkable array of other Oz memorabilia from the Willard Carroll / Tom Wilhite Collection.

Among the major pieces to be displayed is the Hourglass that the Wicked Witch of the West uses in the 1939 film to show Dorothy “how much longer you have to be alive.” Margaret Hamilton, who played the witch, lived during her later years on Cape Island, off Newagen, Maine.

Carroll’s fascination with Oz began as a young boy after seeing the 1939 movie on television, spurring a collecting bug that is still with him.  His passion also became part of his professional work:  he has authored three Oz-related books and created The Oz Kids animated movie series for Paramount.  An Emmy Award-winning producer, Carroll began his career as a development executive at Walt Disney Studios, where Wilhite at that time was head of production.  Carroll wrote and directed Miramax’s all-star drama, Playing by Heart, with Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, Dennis Quaid, and Jon Stewart; and most recently wrote and directed the romantic musical comedy, Marigold, starring Ali Larter and Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, filmed entirely in India.  He is now in pre-production for his original psychological thriller, Crawl.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a new book by John Fricke, The Wonderful World of Oz:  An Illustrated History of the American Classic – with hundreds of images exclusively from the collection – to be published in October 2013 by Down East Books.  Additionally, Carroll’s Oz-related book, I Toto:  The Autobiography of Terry, the Dog who was Toto, will be published by Abrams in September 2013.

Among the exhibition’s related programs will be All Things Oz— a lecture by Willard Carroll in the Farnsworth auditorium, 1 p.m. Sun, Oct. 13; The Wizard of Oz, the original 1939 film shown in 35mm at The Strand Theatre 2 p.m Sunday, October 20; and on Saturday, November 16: Celebrate Toto’s Birthday! For more information visit farnsworthmuseum.org

The Farsnworth Art Museum, in support of our Federal workers, will offer all furloughed Federal employees free admission to the museum and Wyeth Center throughout the current Federal government shutdown. The admission price of $12 for adults and $10 for seniors over 65 years of age will be waived to any furloughed employee with proof of Federal employment. Admission to the museum is free at all times to all children 16 and under.