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Lifestyle

October 17, 2013

Oh my! Flying monkey coming to Maine as part of Oz exhibit

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Maine resident Hamilton Meserve, son of the late Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West, said his mother would be thrilled to see the exhibit.

Hamilton bought a seasonal home on an island near Boothbay Harbor in 1961, which came to be locally known as “the witch’s island.” Meserve, who lives in a mainland home overlooking the island, still has vague memories of being on the set as a 3-year-old while the movie was made, he said at the museum last week.

“This exhibit is a celebration of a great movie that Mother was privileged to be part of,” he said. “To have it up here in my backyard is kind of exciting. And the Farnsworth is a prestigious name, so that validates what they’re doing.”

Items from Carroll’s collection have been exhibited only once, back in 2000 at the Los Angeles Public Library when he lived in California. He said he’s not aware of any other Oz material exhibition for the movie’s 75th anniversary.

The collection brings back memories for anybody who’s watched the movie.

The Wicked Witch’s hourglass is filled with red sand, but during the movie, it was filled with strawberry Jell-O because the sand couldn’t be dyed red at that time, Carroll said. The flying monkey is made of hard rubber and is only 9 inches or so tall. It was among the monkeys that appeared in the movie at a distance, flying toward or away from the Wicked Witch of the West.

The Lollipop Guild munchkin outfit is the most complete costume from the movie to survive. The ruby slippers came from the 1985 Disney movie “Return to Oz.”

Michael Komanecky, the museum’s chief curator, expects that people will feel nostalgia when they see the munchkin outfit and Dorothy’s dress, which stand at the entrance to the exhibit. The movie was shown annually on television for more than three decades, creating memories for generations of Americans.

“It was probably the most popular film ever shown on TV,” he said. “Ever.”

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