Judge blocks sale of “The Wizard of Oz” dress

An iconic dress from “The Wizard of Oz” that was supposed to go on the auction block won’t be sold for now.

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A judge has blocked the planned sale of one of the Dorothy costume dresses after there were questions about who actually owned the piece of cinematic history, The Associated Press reported.

The blue and white gingham dress worn by Judy Garland in 1939 was supposed to be part of the auction of Hollywood memorabilia after it was found in a shoebox at the Catholic University of America.

It had been missing for decades.

But a judge granted a motion for a preliminary injunction that was filed by the family of Father Gilbert Hartke, who was the head of the school’s drama department.

He worked at the university and was given the dress in 1973.

>>Previous coverage: Judy Garland’s lost ‘Wizard of Oz’ dress could fetch $1.2 million at auction

Hartke’s niece, Barbara Ann Hartke, said her uncle was given the dress as a gift by actress Mercedes McCambridge and it belongs to the family, the AP reported.

Barbara Ann Hartke’s lawsuit says the university “has no ownership interest in the dress as ... there is no documentation demonstrating decedent ever formally or informally donated the dress to Catholic University.”

The school’s attorneys said that when Father Gilbert Hartke became a Dominican priest, he took a vow “to never accept gifts in his personal capacity,” so the dress was not part of his estate.

The dress was one of two costumes used during filming that still has the blouse with it. Garland wore it during the scene at the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle, the AP reported.

The dress was expected to fetch between $800,000 and $1.2 million, according to auction house Bonhams. The proceeds of the sale were going to benefit The Catholic University of America’s Department of Drama.



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