04 November 2014

The Return of the Cowardly Lion

On 24 November, the Bonham’s auction house will offer a collection of Hollywood memorabilia that includes Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume from the 1939 MGM Wizard of Oz.

The auction house says:
For famed MGM costume designer Gilbert Adrian, the only option for creating a realistic lion costume in 1938 was to fashion it out of actual lion hides. He was challenged with locating several that visually matched each other so a few costumes could be made and used interchangeably throughout filming. Adrian soon discovered, however, that every available lion hide had very distinctive colors, hair patterns and scars, so he had no choice but to dress Lahr in a single costume for much of the filming.
An auction house expert told the Los Angeles Daily News states:
“According to various histories of the film, Lahr’s costume was drenched with sweat at the end of every day, and so (it) was removed and placed in drying bins overnight so it could be used again the next (day),” Williamson says.
She added that another lion costume survives which Lahr probably wore for publicity stills, and there was at least one for Lahr’s double or stand-in as well. But only this one matches the details in scenes throughout the movie.

Back in 2006, the Profiles in History company sold that other Cowardly Lion costume for over $800,000. In 2011 the owner of this costume also offered it through Profiles in History with an estimated price of $2 to $3 million. Evidently bids didn’t meet the reserve because it’s available once again, in the movie’s 75th-anniversary year.

1 comment:

Chaucerian said...

"Drenched with sweat," "drying bins." Those guys, everyone involved, earned their money.