'Hollywood Treasure' dances with 'The Wizard of Oz's' ruby slippers

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Maybe some of that movie storytelling magic is rubbing off, because Syfy's "Hollywood Treasure" launches its new season on Tuesday, May 22, by spotlighting the Holy Grail of Tinseltown collectibles: Dorothy's ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz."

As most "Oz" fans know, there actually is a handful of known pairs of these slippers, including an Arabian-style pair never used in the film that were auctioned off last season as part of Debbie Reynolds' collection. But the footwear that Joe Maddalena, owner of Profiles in History, auctions in this new episode is the pair shown when Judy Garland's Dorothy clicks her heels together to go home.

"They arguably are the most important pair, because the pair in the Smithsonian and a pair that were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum were mismatched," Maddalena tells Zap2it. "I've done this 26 years now, and a couple of years ago when my son asked me if I have any regrets, I told him no, but the ruby slippers were the one thing that had eluded me my entire life. And then last year I sold two pairs of them. I'll never have another year like that!"

The episode also includes an incredibly touching segment in which Maddalena restores the football helmet his friend Sean Astin wore in the movie "Rudy" and in doing so, helps Astin realize for the first time how much that movie meant to countless fathers and sons.

Maddalena himself backed into the Hollywood collectibles game when he was collecting rare manuscripts and became fascinated with the process by which a literary classic became a film. That led in turn to his collecting costume sketches, props and the occasional costume.

"I think it's mainly about nostalgia," Maddalena says. "When you buy a painting, unless you're doing it strictly as an investment, you're doing it because something about that piece speaks to you or moves you. In my opinion there is no difference between a painting and a Hollywood prop."
Photo/Video credit: Syfy