The lobby card for the movie The Wizard of Oz is a still image of American actress Judy Garland (1922-1969) (as Dorothy) wiping tears from the eyes of actor Bert Lahr (1895-1967). Shows (as a timid lion), Jack Haley (1898-1979) (as Tinman) (left), Ray Bolger (1904-1987) (as a sword), seen in 1939. The film was directed by Victor Fleming.
Halton Archive | Moviepix | Getty Images
The Catholic University of America will not surrender Dorothy’s dress without a court battle.
The university claims to CNBC not the property of the late priest or theater professor, but the “legitimate owner” of the once-lost dress worn by Judy Garland in the classic movie The Wizard of Oz. bottom. .. “
Universities in Washington, DC A new proceeding filed by Rev. Gilbert Hartke’s nieceThe aim is to block future auctions of blue and white gingham dresses, but “there is no basis for the law or facts.”
Gilbert Hartke was given a dress in 1973.
A school statement called on Hartke’s 81-year-old niece lawyer to issue a temporary injunction to a federal judge in New York City to at least postpone the May 24 auction of dresses on behalf of the university. It was issued in the same way as. .. The dress is expected to sell over $ 1 million at an auction held by Bonhams in Los Angeles.
Hartke, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Dominican Order, said in a statement that he had “taken a vow of poverty.”
“He vowed not to receive or receive gifts as his personal property, and did not have any tangible items in his property at the time of his death,” said the Catholic University. ..
“In fact, the 1987 inventory of Father Hartke’s property includes personal property and personal property, despite many other documented gifts to Father Hartke for the benefit of the Catholic University. Nothing of value was listed for all types of tangible assets.
“The Catholic University is the legitimate owner of the dress, and Father Hartke’s property has no property rights to it,” the school said.
In a court motion filed Friday seeking a temporary injunction banning the auction, Hartke’s niece lawyer Barbara Ann Hartke allowed Bonham’s proceedings to continue prior to the resolution of her proceedings. If so, the Wisconsin woman claims ownership of the dress by the property of her uncle who said she would suffer “irreparable injuries.”
“Plaintiff’s property is the property of the defendant and is sold to the highest bidder, so when an auction takes place, the plaintiff effectively loses the ability to reclaim her property, or property property. Barbara Hartke’s lawyer, Anthony Scord, also claimed in his submission to the US District Court in Manhattan.
Scordo also wrote that “the court has a strong public interest in entering an injunction here.”
“This property is … important to the American people for the reasons clearly indicated in the confirmed complaints. The fact that an important part of Americana is not in the public territory and will be lost forever,” Scordo wrote. increase.
This dress is one of two dresses known to still exist, out of several dresses created for Garland to wear in The Wizard of Oz in 1939.Other dresses It was auctioned by Bonham’s in 2015 for over $ 1.5 million.
Judge Paul Gardef has not yet ruled on the motion for a temporary injunction. Neither Bonham’s nor Scordo are responding to requests for comment.
CNBC announced earlier this week that Barbara Hartke has sued the university and Bonhams. She recently learned from press reports that she would be auctioned soon after the dress given to her uncle had been lost for decades.
This dress was found in a garbage bag in the drama department of the university last July.
The Catholic University wants to sell dresses to raise money for the drama school founded by Gilbert Hartke.
The priest was given a dress in 1973 by his friend, actress Mercedes McCambridge. He acknowledged his achievements in helping her deal with alcoholism.
When McKenbridge gave him a dress, she played the voice of the devil Pazuzu in the horror movie The Exorcist, shot in Washington.
She previously won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “The Men of All Kings” and was in the same category for her role in “Giants” starring Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson. I was nominated.
Gilbert Hartke He himself was a celebrity in the Washington Theater “I was a townsman,” spending comfortably at the White House and DC’s power restaurants, rubbing his elbows with the political and social elite of the capital. Washington post It is mentioned in his 1986 obituary when he died at the age of 79.
Hartke was also one of two Catholic priests asked by the widow of President John Kennedy to leave his body in the White House before the funeral after the assassination in 1963.
However, despite his name recognition, Hartke as a priest was bound by his vow of poverty, the Catholic University said in a statement on Friday that the school was the legitimate owner of the dress. ..
“The Catholic University understands the solemnity of these vows, as did McCambridge and Father Hartke at the time of the donation to the Catholic University,” the statement said. “In line with these vows, the dress was a gift to promote Father Hartke’s important legacy of building a drama school here at the Catholic University.
“A contemporaneous college study of sources and evidence fully demonstrates McKambridge’s intention to donate dresses to support Catholic University theater students. Complaints do not provide evidence of opposition. “
The university said when the dress was discovered last summer, “the Catholic University did not contact Father Hartke’s family because the dress was given to the Catholic University for the benefit of Roman school students.” ..
Barbara Hartke’s lawyer Scordo argues that delaying planned sales of dresses until her proceedings are resolved does not harm the Catholic University’s or Bonham’s finances in his move to thwart the auction. bottom.
“The entry of the injunction here is guaranteed and does not overwhelm the defendant,” Scordo wrote.
“Defendants cannot argue that it is due to a delay in the auction of real estate.
Given the time that has passed since the death of the deceased, there is no harm.is not
When an auction is held, it indicates that the fair market value will experience a real change.
The pending resolution of this proceeding has been postponed. “
But Scordo said Barbara Hartke “if you don’t participate in this auction, you’ll be the victim here.”