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Cool Item Of the Week: The Wizard of Oz pressbook

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Added: 04/14/2014

As many of you know, I, Bruce Hershenson, owner of eMoviePoster.com, have collected pressbooks (and related movie paper like studio yearbooks) for over 30 years, and I have the world's foremost collection of such material. I thought I would share one item with you each week, the type of items you almost surely have never seen before, and which might not come up for sale for DECADES!

This week I an NOT sharing a pressbook I own, but rather one we currently have for auction in our April Major Auction, closing Tuesday at http://auctions.emovieposter.com/Bidding.taf?_function=detail&Auction_uid1=3371224

Why am I doing this? Because this is surely the "Holy Grail" of pressbooks! Not only is it one of the most loved movies of all time, but MGM created this very large pressbook, contained in a wonderful folder (it has a full-color image on the cover which does not appear on any posters, and it has the main posters in full-color on the back cover), and the interior of the folder has lots more posters (and the tipped in herald), and then there are the FOUR interior sections listed above! Maybe MGM was not sure of the movie's reception, so they wanted to "over-sell" it to theaters (which also might account for them writing "BIGGEST SENSATION Since 'SNOW WHITE'!" on the front cover (I don't think I have EVER seen a studio promote a movie from another studio before!).

So below is the pressbook from The Wizard of Oz, the classic 1939 Victor Fleming family magical fantasy adventure musical ("MGM's miracle musical show of shows!"; "It's Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Technicolor triumph!"; "Magnificent in its brilliant Technicolor splendor!"; "AT LAST IT'S HERE Biggest Sensation Since "SNOW WHITE"!"; "The mighty miracle show that is the talk of America!"; "Amazing sights to see! The Tornado, Munchkinland, Horse of a Different Color, Startling Balloon Ascent, The Flying Monkeys, The Tree That Throws Apples"; "Gaiety! Glory! Glamour!"; nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award; Based on the classic novel of the same name by L. Frank Baum) starring Judy Garland (as Dorothy), Jack Haley (as The Tin Man), Bert Lahr (as The Cowardly Lion), Ray Bolger (as The Scarecrow), Frank Morgan (in the title role as The Wizard of Oz!), Margaret Hamilton (as the Wicked Witch), Billie Burke (as Glinda, the Good Witch), Charley Grapewin, "the Munchkins", and Toto too!

Our consignor purchased this wonderful pressbook in 1970, and it is complete, with all FOUR interior sections (there have been other Wizard of Oz pressbooks found missing one or more sections, which is natural). IT ALSO HAS THE GREAT TIPPED IN FULL-COLOR HERALD (see our image of the inside front cover of the folder to see one side of the herald). Over the years, our consignor met the three above people in person and had them autograph the front of the ad section: Meinhardt Raabe (in 1976), Margaret Hamilton (in 1981), AND Jerry Maren (in 2000).

Here is an image of the pressbook's front covers and several of the interior pages including the herald and poster pages:




Each week I will showcase a different pressbook (or related item) from my collection (so in just 20,000 weeks or so, I will have shared the entire collection with you!). And remember to check out our previous Cool Items of the Week in our Cool Item of the Week archive (which is now fully searchable!).


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