Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Judy Garland collection on display

What started with a postcard has grown into what has been recognized as one of the largest Judy Garland collections in the world.

Michael Siewert became fascinated with the actress after watching The Wizard of Oz, and when he was 6 years old, he bought a postcard.
That led to buying dolls and plates and other things he could afford.
"As I got older, it just got out of control," he said. "She's just amazing."
He now owns 18 dresses and other articles of clothing Garland wore throughout her career as an actress and a singer.
The dresses and other memorabilia are on display noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday through Nov. 14 during Rosemary Inn's Designer Showcase in North Augusta.
The dresses are displayed on mannequins around the room. At the foot are photographs of Garland wearing the item. A television plays a succession of video clips of Garland performing in each displayed dress.
Memorabilia on display during the showcase includes original sheet music from her television show, books with her photograph on the cover, concert programs and her high school diploma.
Siewert has also displayed some of her hand-signed Christmas cards.
"The Christmas cards are interesting because you can see the transformation of her family," he said. "There's one that says, 'Merry Christmas, Judy Garland.' Then you can see 'Judy Garland, Vincent Minnelli' and then 'Judy, Vincent, Liza Minnelli,' when Liza came along. And then a new husband altogether."
Siewert's collection has allowed him to meet many interesting people. He purchased some pieces, such as the diploma, from Garland's family members or actors who worked with her.
He displays his collection around the country six or seven times a year. He enjoys sharing his collection with other fans and giving people who knew her only as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz the opportunity to learn about the rest of her career.
"This is American musical history," he said.

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