October 24 - 31, 1938: The original Ruby Slipper design (glass beaded pumps) is discarded, allegedly because they were too heavy to dance in. Adrian orders two sample pairs to be made: 1 sequined curled toed Arabian style pair accented with glass jewels, and one plain sequined pair of high heeled pumps. The latter design is chosen, jeweled bows are added, and multiple pairs (most likely 5 pairs) were ordered. The initial pair of pumps tested would be marked #6, and the proper left shoe of this pair would later end up in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
November 4, 1938: Filming resumes. At least two pairs of slippers are complete at this point: the #6 thin heeled pair, and the #1 thick heeled pair. Most likely, all five pairs were completed by this time. The #1 pair would first be used as Judy Garland's primary non-dancing pair, until the #1 and #6 pairs were intermixed. The mix-up most likely happened when the slippers were being repaired. Both pairs of slippers show evidence of the felt on the soles being replaced, as well as repairs made to the rhinestones on the bows.
December 1938: The three additional pairs were used in the Munchkinland scene: The size 5 pair without felt on the soles is visible on the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East as well as on Dorothy's feet when she first receives the shoes; A size 6 dancing pair with orange felt on the soles is visible as Dorothy takes her first steps down the Yellow Brick Road, and a pair (most likely a 2nd size 6 dancing pair) with yellow felt on the soles is visible as Dorothy skips towards the camera out of Munchkinland.
January - March 1939: Judy Garland continues to wear the primary pair comprised of one #1 shoe and one #6 shoe in non-dance scenes. In certain re-shot scenes and publicity photos taken in February 1939, Judy can be seen wearing the size 6 pair with orange felt on the soles. This pair was sent to New York to, most likely, be used on the feet of a life-sized Dorothy to promote the film. The remaining pairs, including test pair(s), were put into deep storage on the top floor of the Ladies' Character Wardrobe building. Most of the "Oz" costumes could not be used again as they were unique and recognizable, but remaining in deep storage may have saved them from destruction, as the former head of MGM's Mens' Wardrobe said that during the 1960's many costumes were shredded and sent away in trucks.
Early 1970: Preparations began for the famous MGM Auction. A costumer named Kent Warner was hired to work on the auction, and it has been stated that Kent accepted this job for the sole purpose of finding Dorothy's Ruby Slippers. He would search high and low for them, but given the incredible number of costume and props stored across the lot, the process was too daunting. Eventually Kent sought out the help of the head of Ladies' Wardrobe who had worked at the studio since the early 1940's. Two versions of the story have been told: in one story, Kent approached the woman who agreed to tell him where she believed the shoes were, but in exchange for the information, Kent had to give one of the pairs of slippers to the woman's daughter. In the other version, Kent approached the woman's daughter who was also working the auction, and in exchange for the information she would obtain from her mother, Kent had to promise her a pair of slippers. Kent searched the top floor of the Ladies' Character Wardrobe as instructed, and found 6 total pairs of slippers. At least one of those pairs was a test pair.
Kent took the 6 pairs of slippers home in a burlap or leather satchel. There he would examine them and choose which pair to keep for himself and which to give to the auctioneers. The female costumer was allowed to choose which pair she wanted, so she chose the pair that varied from the others in that they had yellow felt on the soles.
May 1970: Sometime before May, the costumer brought her pair of slippers home, along with at least one pair of felt Munchkin shoes. She showed the costumes to her children, who were allowed to examine and play with them, including trying them on. From here, the costumer put the slippers in a shoe box and placed them in her closet. Three of her four children remember the slippers - the fourth child was not living in the home at the time that the slippers arrived.
1972/1973: By this time, the costumer and her partner (they never married, but would refer to each other as husband and wife until they passed away) had begun a lifestyle of living as transients. This lifestyle began when they couldn't afford the mortgage on the costumer's Venice home, which resulted in them moving out and renting the house to a married couple. Even with the rental income, the couple couldn't afford the mortgage, and so they sold the house to the renters. This lifestyle would continue until around 2010. From 1972 - 2010, the couple would move from property to property, facing eviction after eviction for not paying their rent. During this time the husband was also, allegedly, according to the costumer's children and family friends, arranged a number of "burglaries" to collect insurance money, as well as going to jail for forgery and collecting multiple deposits on a house sale. I suspect that around this time the couple invested in a storage unit for their more valuable possessions so they didn't risk losing them during evictions. The costumer's son said the shoes were "long gone" by the time the family moved back to Venice after living in multiple houses in different cities around the Los Angeles area.
1975: The costumer's godson saw her pair of slippers on display in her house in Woodland Hills, prior to the family moving back to Venice..
1986: The costumer's husband boasts that he has a pair of the shoes, while his wife states they were stolen in a burglary.
1980's, 1990's, early 2000's: The costumer and her husband continued to live as transients, but during this time, they continued to beg the costumer's children for money to pay for their storage unit. One daughter stated "I never did understand that. Why would you beg for money to pay for a storage unit when you don't have money to live?" Another daughter stated that "There was a storage unit that held items my mother had inherited from my grandmother that were from the studio. I wasn't privy to any more information."
2004: The costumer was brought to court for breach of contract from a storage and moving company. No additional information is available, as the case file was destroyed, and the company is no longer in business.
Late 2000's/Early 2010's: The costumer told the story of the slippers to a man who volunteered to drive her to and from doctor's appointments. This man states he was told that the slippers had yellow on the soles.
2010: The costumer and her husband move near Palm Springs and live with a friend who doubles as their caretaker. Neighbors reported that the costumer and her husband fought a lot, and the talk around town was that the costumer moved east to live with one of her children, however, this was not the case.
2012: I began corresponding with the costumer's daughter who agreed to forward my questions about the slippers to her mother. She never received a response to her phone call, so she wrote the questions down and mailed them to her mom. There was still no response. Her daughter believed that the pair of slippers was sold at her mother's antiques and collectibles store that she shared with her previous partner. No evidence can be found that this store existed after late 1969, so it is unknown if she had the store when she had the shoes. Her son said they were never there because she and her ex had split up before she got them, and the store had closed.
2013: The costumer passes away in Palm Springs. Her children and partner were at her side, and she passed away peacefully.
2015: I speak to the costumer's partner a number of times. Knowing that I was dealing with a con-artist, I was skeptical of most of his claims, except for the ones I was able to verify later on. It took me almost a year and a half to decipher what was fact and what was fiction. Among the information he gave me was a fabricated story of how the costumer got the shoes, and that she took a pair with yellow felt on them instead of orange.
2017/2018: While testing out a new TV, I watched the 3D version of "The Wizard of Oz" while sitting on the floor in front of the television. It was at this time that I discovered that one pair in production did indeed have yellow felt on the soles. The pair can be clearly seen as Dorothy skips out of Munchkinland towards the camera.
2022: I've continued to run online, print, and billboard ads in areas relevant to the slippers' location. I have been in contact with a vintage textile specialist who was approached to help design a case for the unaccounted for yellow felt shoes that would help preserve them. While the project was never completed, she did still have the name of the person who owned the slippers at the time she was approached, and I am now pursuing that lead. While the