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Catholic College says it owns Judy Garland Wizard of Ouncesdress

A foyer card from the movie ‘The Wizard Of Oz,’ exhibits a movie nonetheless of a scene wherein 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 Pictures

The Catholic College of America will not give up Dorothy’s gown — 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 gown 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 gown, “has no foundation in legislation or truth.”

Gilbert Hartke had been gifted the gown in 1973.

The varsity’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 concern a short lived injunction that may not less than postpone the Could 24 public sale of the gown on the college’s behalf. The gown 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 presents as his personal private property, and on the time of his loss of life didn’t have any tangible gadgets in his property,” Catholic College mentioned.

“In reality, a listing 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 presents to Fr. Hartke for the advantage of Catholic College over time. 

“Catholic College is the rightful proprietor of the gown, 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 undergo “irreparable damage” if the Bonham’s public sale is allowed to proceed earlier than the decision of her swimsuit claiming possession of the gown by the property of her uncle.

“As a result of plaintiff’s asset is in Defendant’s possession and will likely be bought to the best bidding occasion, plaintiff will successfully lose the power 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 … necessary to the American public for causes which might be articulated within the Verified Criticism. The truth that an necessary a part of Americana won’t be within the public realm and be misplaced endlessly,” Scordo wrote.

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

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

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CNBC revealed earlier this week that Barbara Hartke had sued the college and Bonham’s after she mentioned she solely just lately discovered from press studies that the gown gifted to her uncle was quickly going up for public sale after having been misplaced for many years.

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

Catholic College desires to promote the gown to lift cash for its drama faculty, which Gilbert Hartke based.

The priest was given the gown 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 gown, she was performing because the voice of the demon Pazuzu within the horror film “The Exorcist,” which was filmed in Washington.

She beforehand had gained an Academy Award for Greatest Supporting Actress in 1949 for her efficiency in “All of the King’s Males,” and was nominated in the identical class for her position in “Big,” 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 among 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 College famous in its assertion Friday stating that the college is the authorized proprietor of the gown.

“Catholic College understands the solemnity of those vows, as did McCambridge and Fr. Hartke on the time of the donation to Catholic College,” the assertion mentioned. “In keeping with these vows, the gown was a present to additional Fr. Hartke’s necessary legacy of constructing the College of Drama right here at Catholic College. 

“The College’s analysis of contemporaneous sources and the proof totally demonstrates McCambridge’s intent to donate the gown to help the drama college students at Catholic College. The criticism offers no proof on the contrary.”

The college mentioned that when the gown was found final summer season, “Catholic College didn’t attain out to the household of Fr. Hartke as a result of the gown was gifted to Catholic College for the advantage of the scholars within the Rome College.”

Barbara Hartke’s lawyer Scordo, in his movement searching for to dam the public sale, argued that delaying the deliberate sale of the gown till her lawsuit is resolved won’t hurt Catholic College 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 not argue that the delay in auctioning the property will trigger
any hurt in any way given the time that has elapsed because the loss of life of decedent. There is no such thing as a
indication that the truthful 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 occasion harmed right here ought to this public sale not be enjoined.”

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