No Place Like Home: A charming but unsatisfying tale for Garland lovers

C13 Originals

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Have you either spent time daydreaming about Judy Garland‘s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz? Did you wonder where they are now, who owns them, and how you might one day get to see them up close and in person? No, me either. And yet No Place Like Home does an excellent job of convincing it’s listeners that they’re the most coveted and admired artifact on earth.

Step aside the Mona Lisa, the Rosetta Stone, and Crown Jewels of England. Make way for a smelly old pair of shoes from the 1930s (of which there are at least four versions…).

But even if you’re a Judy Garland agnostic, there is some genuine intrigue to be had with this “who dunnit?” romp, which is whimsically narrated by Seyward Darby and Ariel Ramchandani. The story kicks off with a heist in Garland’s home town of Grand Rapids, where a single pair of the apocryphal slippers are stolen from a dedicated Judy Garland museum. From here we learn about the folks in the frame, as well as some truly charming history of both the slippers themselves and the beginnings of the movie memorabilia movement.

And, of course, there’s lots and lots of background on Judy Garland, the movie, and it’s unrivaled position in American cultural history.

Where this beautifully woven 8-parter falls down, however, is the pay-off. After doing such an admirable job of impressing the importance of the ruby slippers, introducing us to the cast of characters that may be responsible for the dastardly crime, and taking us down memory lane to emphasize their monetary worth as a original piece of cinematic history, we ultimately learn nothing about the resolution of the case.

Or nothing really of note.

An unnamed famous person may or may not be involved, there’s likely involvement from a reasonably well-known local crook, the FBI has the shoes in a lock-up somewhere and there’s a fair amount of wrangling over who might acquire them once they’re re-released into the world….but that’s it. We don’t learn how it was done, or why in any detail and that’s deeply disappointing.

If you’re a big fan of the movie — or the slippers themselves — then this is a must listen, but for a broader audience I can’t help but get the feeling that this podcast could’ve waited until a more satisfying resolution was available.

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