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|Plot element from The Wizard of Oz|
|First appearance||The Wizard of Oz (1939)|
|Created by||Gilbert Adrian (costume design)|
|Function||Able to send Dorothy Gale back home to Kansas after clicking the heels three times|
The ruby slippers are the magic pair of shoes worn by Dorothy Gale as played by Judy Garland in the classic 1939 MGM musical movie The Wizard of Oz. Because of their iconic stature, the ruby slippers are now considered among the most treasured and valuable items of film memorabilia. As is customary for important props, a number of pairs were made for the film, though the exact number is unknown. Five pairs are known to have survived; one pair was stolen in August 2005 and has never been recovered.
In L. Frank Baum's original novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), on which the film is based, Dorothy wears Silver Shoes. However, the color of the shoes was changed to red in order to take full advantage of the new Technicolor film process being used in big-budget Hollywood films of that era. Film screenwriter Noel Langley is credited with the idea.
In the MGM film, an adolescent farm girl named Dorothy (played by Judy Garland), her dog Toto, and their farmhouse are swept away from Kansas by a tornado and taken to the magical Land of Oz. The house falls on and kills the Wicked Witch of the East, freeing the Munchkins from her tyranny. Glinda the Good Witch of the North arrives via magic bubble and shows Dorothy the dead woman's two feet visibly sticking out from under the house wearing the ruby slippers. When the Wicked Witch of the West comes to claim her dead sister's shoes, Glinda magically transfers them to Dorothy's feet. Glinda tells Dorothy to keep tight inside of them and never take them off, as the slippers must be very powerful or the Wicked Witch would not want them so badly. Throughout the rest of the film, the Wicked Witch schemes to obtain the shoes. When she captures Dorothy, she tries to take the slippers, but receives a painful shock. The Wicked Witch then realizes that the slippers will only come off if the wearer is dead, so she decides to kill Dorothy. Before she does, however, Dorothy accidentally splashes her with a bucket of water, causing her to melt away. At the end, it is revealed that Dorothy can return home by simply closing her eyes, clicking the heels of the slippers together three times and repeating the phrase, "There's no place like home."
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