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Casablanca Piano, Oz Witch’s Hat Sold At Auction

December 17, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ A Japanese trading company outbid developer Donald Trump for a piano that was a centerpiece in the classic movie ″Casablanca,″ paying $154,000 Friday for the ivories once tickled at Humphrey Bogart’s request.

″It’s because many Japanese are fans of the old ’40s movies,″ said Mashahiro Kanaoka of C. Itoh & Co., who bought the piano on behalf of an anonymous ″Casablanca″ buff in Japan.

Trump was in the audience bidding himself, but he went home without the piano - and without comment - immediately after the piano sold at Sotheby’s auction house in Manhattan.

The green and beige upright piano, from the 1942-43 Warner Brothers classic, had a presale estimate of $75,000 to $100,000 - bench included - by Sotheby’s.

Clark Gable’s script from the 1939 movie ″Gone With The Wind″ went for $77,000 to a telephone bidder - well over its presale estimate of $3,000- $4,000.

The script, its worn leather cover embossed in gold with Gable’s name, was given by the actor to an MGM studios secretary who was a ″close personal friend,″ the auction catalog said.

A pointed, black witch’s hat from the ″Wizzard of Oz,″ circa 1939, went for $33,000 - it had been estimated at $30,000 to $50,000. At the end of ″Oz,″ the hat was all that remained of the melted Wicked Witch of the West, who had shrilly warned Dorothy and Toto, ″I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too 3/8″

Disney also had a niche at the sale. An oil panel depicting Donald Duck trying to hit a golf ball had an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. It did not sell. And a celluloid, showing Lady carrying Scamp past a proud Tramp as three other puppies romp around him, was estimated at $16,000 to $20,000 and sold for $44,000.

Bidders also had a shot at nine stemware glasses from Rick’s Cafe in ″Casablanca,″ estimated at $1,000 to $5,000, with the winner paying $3,020. A Masonite advertising board used at the movie’s 1943 premiere, estimated at $5,000 to $7,000, was sold for $22,000.

The ″Casablanca″ piano was from the famous Paris flashback scene at Le Belle Aurore Cafe, where Rick (Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) discuss love, marriage and the impending German occupation while Sam (Dooley Wilson) plays ″As Time Goes By.″

Later, Rick and Ilsa meet again at Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca, where Sam plays an encore on another piano.

″You played it for her. You can play it for me,″ Rick said. To which Sam replied, ″But I don’t think I can remember.″

″If she can stand it, I can. Play it 3/8″ Rick commanded, in a line that has since been widely misquoted as ″Play it again, Sam.″

While many famous props, such as the ruby slippers from ″The Wizard of Oz″ and the sled from ″Citizen Kane″ were made in multiples, ″This piano from the Paris scene is truly unique in that it was actually used throughout the entire Paris cafe sequence,″ the auction catalog said.

The piano also was used in 1943 in a U.S. Savings Bond drive featuring Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and Lucille Ball.

On Wednesday, an anonymous buyer paid $143,000 at Sotheby’s for the original ″War of the Worlds″ radio script by Howard Koch, who later shared an Oscar for his work on ″Casablanca.″

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