Sunday, October 2, 2022

Catholic University says it owns Judy Garland Wizard of Oz dress


A foyer card from the movie ‘The Wizard Of Oz,’ reveals a movie nonetheless of a scene by which American actress Judy Garland (1922 – 1969) (as Dorothy) wipes tears from the eyes of actor Bert Lahr (1895 – 1967) (because the Cowardly Lion), whereas watched by Jack Haley (1898 – 1979) (because the Tin Man) (left), and Ray Bolger (1904 – 1987) (because the Scarecrow), 1939. The movie was directed by Victor Fleming.

Hulton Archive | Moviepix | Getty Photographs

The Catholic University of America will not give up Dorothy’s dress — and not using a courtroom combat.

The college insisted in a brand new assertion to CNBC that it — and never the property of a late priest and drama professor — is the “rightful proprietor” of a as soon as long-lost dress worn by Judy Garland within the basic movie “The Wizard of Oz.”

The Washington, D.C., college additionally mentioned {that a} new lawsuit filed by the niece of the Rev. Gilbert Hartke, which goals to dam an upcoming public sale of the blue-and-white gingham dress, “has no foundation in legislation or truth.”

Gilbert Hartke had been gifted the dress in 1973.

The college’s assertion got here simply as a lawyer for Hartke’s 81-year-old niece requested a federal decide in New York Metropolis in a brand new courtroom submitting to problem a short lived injunction that might at the very least postpone the Could 24 public sale of the dress on the college’s behalf. The dress is predicted to fetch as a lot as $1 million or extra at an public sale held by Bonham’s in Los Angeles.

Hartke, as a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Dominican Order, “had taken a vow of poverty,” the college famous within the assertion.

“He vowed to not obtain or settle for any items as his personal private property, and on the time of his dying didn’t have any tangible gadgets in his property,” Catholic University mentioned.

“In truth, a list of Fr. Hartke’s property carried out in 1987 listed nothing of worth in private possessions or any tangible property of any kind, regardless of different documented items to Fr. Hartke for the profit of Catholic University over time. 

“Catholic University is the rightful proprietor of the dress, and Fr. Hartke’s property doesn’t have a property curiosity in it,” the college mentioned.

In a courtroom movement filed Friday that seeks a short lived injunction barring the public sale, a lawyer for Hartke’s niece, Barbara Ann Hartke, mentioned that the Wisconsin girl will endure “irreparable damage” if the Bonham’s public sale is allowed to proceed earlier than the decision of her swimsuit claiming possession of the dress by the property of her uncle.

“As a result of plaintiff’s asset is in Defendant’s possession and can be offered to the very best bidding social gathering, plaintiff will successfully lose the flexibility to reclaim possession of hers and, or the property’s property as soon as the public sale takes place,” Barbara Hartke’s lawyer, Anthony Scordo, additionally argued in his submitting in U.S. District Court docket in Manhattan.

Scordo additionally wrote, “There’s a robust public curiosity for the courtroom to enter an injunction right here.”

“This property is … essential to the American public for causes which are articulated within the Verified Grievance. The truth that an essential half of Americana is not going to be within the public realm and be misplaced ceaselessly,” Scordo wrote.

The dress is one of solely two clothes recognized to nonetheless exist of the a number of created for Garland to put on in 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz.” The opposite dress was auctioned in 2015 by Bonham’s for more than $1.5 million.

Decide Paul Gardephe has not but dominated on the movement in search of a short lived injunction. Neither Bonham’s nor Scordo has responded to requests for remark.

CNBC Politics

Learn extra of CNBC’s politics protection:

CNBC revealed earlier this week that Barbara Hartke had sued the college and Bonham’s after she mentioned she solely not too long ago realized from press stories that the dress gifted to her uncle was quickly going up for public sale after having been misplaced for many years.

The dress was discovered final July in a trash bag within the college’s drama division.

Catholic University needs to promote the dress to boost cash for its drama faculty, which Gilbert Hartke based.

The priest was given the dress in 1973 by his buddy, the actress Mercedes McCambridge, who credited him with serving to her take care of her alcoholism.

Across the time McCambridge gave him the dress, she was appearing because the voice of the demon Pazuzu within the horror film “The Exorcist,” which was filmed in Washington.

She beforehand had received an Academy Award for Finest Supporting Actress in 1949 for her efficiency in “All of the King’s Males,” and was nominated in the identical class for her function in “Large,” which starred Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson.

Gilbert Hartke himself was a prominent figure in Washington theater who “was very a lot the person about city,” comfy on the White Home and in D.C.’s energy eating places as he rubbed elbows with the capital metropolis’s political and social elite, The Washington Post famous in his 1986 obituary when he died at age 79.

Hartke additionally was one of two Catholic clergymen requested by the widow of President John Kennedy to stick with his physique on the White Home earlier than his funeral after his 1963 assassination.

However regardless of his excessive profile, Hartke as a priest was sure by his vow of poverty, Catholic University famous in its assertion Friday stating that the college is the authorized proprietor of the dress.

“Catholic University understands the solemnity of these vows, as did McCambridge and Fr. Hartke on the time of the donation to Catholic University,” the assertion mentioned. “In line with these vows, the dress was a present to additional Fr. Hartke’s essential legacy of constructing the Faculty of Drama right here at Catholic University. 

“The University’s analysis of contemporaneous sources and the proof absolutely demonstrates McCambridge’s intent to donate the dress to assist the drama college students at Catholic University. The grievance supplies no proof on the contrary.”

The college mentioned that when the dress was found final summer time, “Catholic University didn’t attain out to the household of Fr. Hartke as a result of the dress was gifted to Catholic University for the profit of the scholars within the Rome Faculty.”

Barbara Hartke’s lawyer Scordo, in his movement in search of to dam the public sale, argued that delaying the deliberate sale of the dress till her lawsuit is resolved is not going to hurt Catholic University or Bonham’s financially.

“Entry of an injunction right here is warranted and can place no undue burden on the defendants,” Scordo wrote.

“Defendants can’t argue that the delay in auctioning the property will trigger
any hurt in any respect given the time that has elapsed for the reason that dying of decedent. There is no such thing as a
indication that the honest market worth will expertise any actual change ought to the public sale be
postponed pending decision of this litigation.”

However Scordo mentioned Barbara Hartke “would be the social gathering harmed right here ought to this public sale not be enjoined.”

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