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Caren Marsh

Caren Marsh

  • Night and Day (1946) August 12 (ET) - Reminder REMINDER
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Pease ( 2007-09-14 )

Source: The Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop & Oz Fantasy Museum

Handprint Ceremony at Yellow Brick Road . . . Chesterton, IN – On the grounds of The Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop & Oz Fantasy Museum there is a small garden and fountain that was officially dedicated last year as the Jean Nelson Munchkinland Garden Fountain. Nelson is, of course, the founder of the Yellow Brick Road, Oz Fantasy Museum, The Wizard of Oz Festival and of Munchkinland Market Days. So, the new name was fitting. Making the new name even more fitting is what surrounds that small garden and fountain – the handprints and signatures in cement of fifteen actors and one author who are affiliated with MGM’s 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz.” Most of the actors actually appeared in the beloved Judy Garland film. The last handprint and signature placed in cement at the shop two miles south of downtown Chesterton was done more than a decade ago. On Friday, September 14, 2007, the tradition will be revived when two more handprints are put in place in a ceremony scheduled for 1 p.m. The two being honored are Caren Marsh-Doll who served as Judy Garland’s stand-in for “The Wizard of Oz” and Donna Stewart Hardway who, as a child, appeared in the film as a Munchkin. The ceremony is free and open to the public. It will be conducted by Marilyn Zengler, proprietor of The Yellow Brick Road; Megan Thwaites, the 2007 Miss Duneland’s Outstanding Teen and Nelson. Marsh-Doll, then known as Caren Marsh, began acting and dancing right out of high school. One of her earliest films was 1937’s “Rosalie” with Eleanor Powell. In 1938 she was the same size as Judy Garland and familiar with a movie set, which landed her the job of being Garland’s stand-in. She followed that up with a string of westerns, romances and musicals including “That Night in Rio,” “Hit Parade of 1943” and “Hands Across the Border” with Roy Rogers. She also appeared in such dramas as “Cry Havoc” and “The Human Comedy.” As a co-star, she scored solid hits in “The Navajo Kid” (1945) opposite Bob Steele and 1947’s “Wild Harvest” opposite Robert Preston and Lloyd Nolan. She also appeared with Kirk Douglas in “I Walk Alone.” The 1950’s through 70’s saw her make several more movie musicals, marry prominent publicist Bill Doll, raise a child, appear on Broadway and in Las Vegas, model and become a sought after dance instructor. She continues dancing, teaching and has recently written a book. Stewart-Hardway, then known as Donna Jean Johnson, was an up and coming child actress in 1938 when talent scouts couldn’t find enough adult little people to fill all the roles required. Donna and 11 other children who performed as Munchkins supported the 124 little people who had been cast. By the age of three, she was an accomplished swimmer, horseback rider, acrobat and model. Hardway appeared in many plays and on screen was featured in several early episodes of “Our Gang” as a little rich girl. She tells one and all that being in “The Wizard of Oz” remains the highlight of her career. Hardway and her husband live in West Virginia and enjoy coming to Porter County every year to attend Munchkinland Market Days and the Oz Festival in order to catch up with old friends and make new friends. Handprints and signatures already in place are Mickey Carroll, Munchkin Town Crier; Stephen Cox, author of “The Munchkins of Oz;” Lewis Croft, Munchkin soldier; Anna Cucksey, wife of Frank Cucksey who played a Munchkin Townsman; Ruth Duccini and Emil Kransler, Munchkin villagers; Jerry Maren, Lollipop Kid; Dona Massin, Emerald City Lady (and assistant choreographer); Nels Nelson, Munchkin Townsman; Margaret Pellegrini, Munchkin lady and Sleepyhead; Meinhardt Raabe, Munchkin Coroner; Mary Ellen St. Aubin, wife of Parnell St. Aubin who played a Munchkin Soldier; Karl Slover, Munchkin trumpeter; Clarence Swensen, Munchkin Soldier; Betty Tanner, Munchkin lady and Gus Wayne, Munchkin soldier. Munchkinland Market Days is located at The Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop & Oz Fantasy Museum at 109 E. Yellow Brick Road (Indiana Toll Road and St. Rt. 49), two miles south of downtown Chesterton. They can be reached at (219) 926-7048 or check the website at www.yellowbrickroadonline.com

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