Illinois man collects $1 million of 'Wizard of Oz' memorabilia

HOMER GLEN, Ill. -- Judy Garland's famous line "There's no place like home" rings true for Walter Krueger, whose house in Homer Glen, Ill., can be summed up in one word: Oz.

Dorothy, Toto, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow can be found almost everywhere you turn: as miniature figurines, as puppets hanging from the ceiling, painted on a tea set and even on a peanut butter jar.

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"Anything that they could find marketable to put the 'Wizard of Oz' title on, I have," Krueger said. His ever-growing collection currently contains more than 10,000 pieces of memorabilia.

The mélange of merchandise includes dolls, a pinball machine, books from across the globe and a few pieces Krueger said are authentic props from the 1939 classic film. They include an Emerald City guard's coat, which he called "very Art Deco for the time the movie came out," plus "one of the spears from the movie," and a piece of the Yellow Brick Road.

The collection fills two rooms and portions of his basement and still spills into the hallways. There's also a hidden section behind a bookcase door, Krueger's homage to the man behind the curtain. Krueger walks through all of the displays in his very own pair of ruby sneakers to match Dorothy's slippers.

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He recently had the collection appraised at more than $1 million. For anyone thinking this is over the top: "Everybody's different and my collection reflects what I love," he said.

"The Wizard of Oz" has imparted life lessons Krueger has carried with him since his mom first introduced him to the story.

"Love and having courage to stand up for yourself and what you believe ... and always having a sense of home that you could always return back to where you started in order to find yourself," he explained.

For Walter Krueger, home is in the "Merry Old Land of Oz."

Want more Oz? Check out extra behind-the-scenes video from Krueger's house below.

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Not Oz-ed out yet? Here's a look at more of Krueger's memorabilia!

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