Image of the Day: The Original 'Wizard of Oz' Scarecrow Costume

Image of the Day: The Original 'Wizard of Oz' Scarecrow Costume

Aug 25, 2011

Seventy-two years ago today The Wizard of Oz made its U.S. debut in eye-popping Technicolor. The most-watched movie has captured the hearts and imaginations of audiences across the world, and the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution is celebrating its legacy by sharing a piece of the film's history -- and it's our image of the day.

In the 1939 film, Ray Bolger was the actor and talented dancer who portrayed the part of Dorothy's straw-stuffed friend, the Scarecrow. The actor wore this patchwork costume that was packed with itchy straw stalks. MGM's lead costume designer, Gilbert Adrian, designed the outfit that was made to fit loosely enough so Bolger could perform his comedic dance routine in which he laments the absence of a brain. The road to the Emerald City wasn't an easy one for the star, however. His rubber face mask, which was designed to look like burlap, was so fragile under the harsh lights that it had to be replaced daily -- more than 40 times during the shoot.

Bolger's widow, Gwendolyn R. Bolger, donated the costume to the Smithsonian in the '80s, and the museum is proud to care for it amongst its 137 million artifacts. Check out a picture of the footloose character's famous duds below.

[hat tip to Neatorama]


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