Far from Kansas, far from any yellow brick road and all the way to Maine, fans of “The Wizard of Oz” can catch a peek of Dorothy’s blue gingham dress, a pair of her ruby slippers and even a flying monkey.
A new exhibit that opened Saturday at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland features those items and more from the world’s largest Wizard of Oz collection. The 107–piece display includes props from various Wizard of Oz movies, rare first–print copies of the original Wizard of Oz book, movie posters and an array of Oz memorabilia.
The exhibit, which runs through March, will give fans a sense of all things Oz, starting with L. Frank Baum’s 1900 book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” said Willard Carroll, a filmmaker from nearby Camden who owns the items Carroll, 57, has amassed more than 100,000 Oz items since he first became enthralled with the story at age 10.
The Wizard of Oz story has endured for more than a century and is enjoying a resurgence this year with the release of the 1939 movie in 3–D and the approach of the movie’s 75th anniversary.
The story of Oz originated with Baum’s book, which spawned many movies and stage productions, a radio series, animated cartoons and products such as toys, dolls, and puzzles. It’s best known, of course, from the 1939 “The Wizard of Oz” movie starring Judy Garland as Dorothy.
The collection brings back memories for anybody who’s watched the movie.
The Wicked Witch’s hourglass is filled with red sand, but during the movie, it was filled with strawberry Jell–O because the sand couldn’t be dyed red at that time, Carroll said. The Lollipop Guild munchkin outfit is the most complete costume from the movie to survive.
“It was probably the most popular film ever shown on TV,” Michael Komanecky, the museum’s chief curator said. “Ever.”AP