The hourglass was also used in 1941’s ‘Babes on Broadway’, 1956’s ‘Diane’, and 1964’s ‘7 Faces of Dr. Lao’.
In terms of film history, you would be hard-pressed to find a classic more beloved than The Wizard of Oz. The film most famous for making Judy Garland a Hollywood star, has some of the best music, characters, and production design around. Now one of the key props from the 1939 classic, the hourglass, has sold at auction for $495,000.
This beautiful piece was sold through Heritage Auctions and was described as the, “most famous and recognizable timepiece in film history.” Any classic movie fan will remember that the hourglass plays a key role in a few of the film’s most memorable scenes. One of the main scenes occurred after The Wicked Witch of the West, played so iconically by Margaret Hamilton, captured Dorothy and threatened her with the hourglass. In a bit of movie magic, we would see time running out for her friends The Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion, and The Tin Man through the hourglass. Many versions of this prop were made, but the hourglass in question is the one that Hamilton holds over her head to persuade Dorothy and her friends not to escape. According to Heritage Auctions, this particular version was made out of wood and papier-mâché. They also said the hourglass’ gothic frames were made by studio artisans who included winged gargoyles on the piece. On top of that, the glass was hand-blown and filled with red glitter. It’s truly stunning just looking at the images alone, but knowing that Hamilton’s Wicked Witch touched this piece only adds to its breathtaking cool factor.
The Wizard of Oz has so many iconic elements to it. The brilliant cinematic, flawless attention to detail, and overall quality makes the film stand out, even in today’s climate. Its Technicolor dreamscape is like no other. There are so many iconic moments, performances, and props associated with it that it could fill up an entire Emerald City worth of talking points. It’s the crown jewel of Warner Brother’s vast 100-year library. While the hourglass is not as iconic as the ruby slippers or the yellow brick road, it’s such an important piece of film history as Wizard of Oz wasn’t the only film this prop appeared in. This hourglass was also used in 1941’s Babes on Broadway, 1956’s Diane, and 1964’s 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. This hourglass that was once a weapon in the Wicked Witch’s arsenal has lived a full life.
As the years have gone on, more and more horror stories have been uncovered surrounding the making of Wizard of Oz. This includes the lasting negative health effects for Garland caused by the film. However, props like this hourglass reminds us about the best side of filmmaking. The magical side of the craft that is becoming a lost art form in many major film releases today.
You can find more information regarding the hourglass sale on Heritage Auctions’ website. The Wizard of Oz is also streaming on HBO Max now. The trailer can be viewed down below: