(PCM) Talk about making a pop culture pay day, the infamous Cowardly Lion costume worn by actor Burt Lahr in the classic film “The Wizard Of Oz” sold for over $3 million dollars at a recent Bonham’s auction in New York City.
Auctioned off at Bonhams’ Turner Classic Movie Presents… There’s No Place Like Hollywood, the Cowardly Lion costume is verified as the same costume worn by Bert Lahr during the 1939 production of the classic, The Wizard of Oz.
Made of real lion hides, the costume was discoverd folded and tucked away in one of the oldes buildings on MGM’s lot and was aqcuired by The Comisar Collection and owned by Los Angelos TV founder James Comisar.
Several lion costumes were created for the production of The Wizard of Oz but the costume department ran into issues with consistency; most lion hides have distinct swirls and patterns, making it hard to have a uniform lion costume.
As a result, Lahr had to wear the same costume for every day of production, requiring the costume department to dry the costume every night in an industrial sized dryer in order to dry out all of the sweat produced by Lahr under the bright Technicolor production lights.
According to the New York Daily News, the face is sculpted to the likeness of the late actor and according to a spokesperson for costume owner James Comisar, there was a secondary costume that was used in the film that also recently sold at auction for over $1 million dollars.
Comisar says that he plans to use the money that he received from selling the Cowardly Lion costume to further invest in his exhibit and collection of TV memorabilia that includes items from “I Love Lucy” and “Lost” to name a few.