American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz, 1949
Color lithograph poster
Lester Glassner Collection of Movie Posters
Prints & Photographs Division (154.10b)
Digital ID # ppmsca-09889

M.G.M. Presents the Wizard of Oz
Thomas A. Johnstone, Comic Art Studio
M.G.M. Presents the Wizard of Oz
Photomechanical print with ink and graphite, ca. July 27, 1939
Prints & Photographs Division
Copyright deposit, 1939 (187.4)
Digital ID# ppmsca-12394

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released their Oscar winning film version of L. Frank Baum's celebrated 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1939. Victor Fleming is credited with directing the film, which introduced Judy Garland (as Dorothy) and made her a star. The film, totaling three million dollars to make, was nominated for six Academy Awards. Judy Garland was presented with a special award for her "outstanding performance as a screen juvenile." The first run in theaters did not quite cover production costs, so it was re-released in 1949 and was a great success at the box office.

As part of its $250,000 promotional campaign for the 1939 film of The Wizard of Oz, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) ran full-page, color advertisements in the Sunday comic sections of newspapers to generate excitement in advance of the opening of The Wizard of Oz. These drawings, showing principal scenes from the movie, are believed to be the preliminary artwork for the campaign. By placing the ads in an estimated twenty-nine newspapers in twenty-one large cities in August 1939, publicists reached an audience in the millions. In addition to the newspaper campaign, MGM placed advertisements in large-circulation national magazines.

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