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Bolger (Ray) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement

  • Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Ray Bolger papers
    Creator: Bolger, Ray
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.1117
    Physical Description: 60.0 Linear Feet (85 boxes, 2 record cartons, 39 flat boxes, 2 shoe boxes, and 10 sound recording boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1923-1987
    Date (bulk): 1940s-1980s
    Abstract: Among his many roles on stage, screen and television in a career that spanned sixty years, American comedian and dancer Ray Bolger was best known for his role as the Scarecrow in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz. In addition to his work in film and television, he continually returned to the stage, often appearing in one-man shows. The collection consists of script material, contracts, clippings, correspondence, photographs, music, and ephemera related to Bolger's lengthy career.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site. All requests to access special collections material must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical objects belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. All other rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ray Bolger papers (Collection 1117). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Processing Information

    Collections are processed to a variety of levels depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived user interest and research value, availability of staff and resources, and competing priorities. Library Special Collections provides a standard level of preservation and access for all collections and, when time and resources permit, conducts more intensive processing. These materials have been arranged and described according to national and local standards and best practices.
    Processed by Lauren Jung with assistance from Vanessa Villavicencio, Michele James, Alexandra Apolloni, and Julie Graham, 2013.
    We are committed to providing ethical, inclusive, and anti-racist description of the materials we steward, and to remediating existing description of our materials that contains language that may be offensive or cause harm. We invite you to submit feedback about how our collections are described, and how they could be described more accurately, by filling out the form located on our website: Report Potentially Offensive Description in Library Special Collections.  

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 9969539333606533 


    Raymond Wallace Bolger was born on January 10, 1904, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. As a teenager, he danced on street corners in Boston and began his acting career performing in amateur theatricals. He made his stage debut with the Bob Ott Musical Comedy Repertory Company in 1922 and was soon appearing in vaudeville with Gus Edwards. Not long after, he appeared in Broadway productions of By Jupiter, George White's Scandals, Keep Off the Grass, Life Begins at 8:40, and On Your Toes, in which he won praise for his dancing skills in a number choreographed by George Balanchine. In time, he began appearing in musical films such as The Great Ziegfeld, Rosalie, Sunny, Sweethearts, and his most well-known film, The Wizard of Oz. During World War II, he helped organize U.S.O. shows that toured American military and naval bases around the world.
    In 1948, he returned to Broadway and starred in a three-year run of Where's Charley, which catapulted his stage career and lead to a film version of the story, starring Bolger, in 1952. That same year Bolger made his television debut with The Colgate Comedy Hour, and from 1953-1955 he starred in his own television show The Ray Bolger Show on ABC. Originally titled Where's Raymond in the first season, the show cast Bolger as Raymond Wallace, a Broadway star living in suburbia. Bolger and his wife Gwen were the owners of their own production company, B&R Enterprises, which produced Where's Raymond/ The Ray Bolger Show. In 1957, he starred in Washington Square and made numerous guest appearances on television shows, such as Hollywood Palace, The Jimmy Durante Show, The Judy Garland Show, and The Red Skelton Hour. During this time, he continued to work in motion pictures, appearing in films such as April in Paris, Babes in Toyland, and The Runner Stumbles. In between his work in film and television, Bolger continued to perform on the stage, appearing in one-man shows and song-and-dance concerts as well as stage musicals such as All American, Come Summer, and The Happy Time.
    Bolger was involved with a number of philanthropic causes, including the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association, and in political advocacy, appearing and performing at numerous events. He was also an avid golfer, often competing in celebrity tournaments; and he was also involved in various business ventures, including real estate. Ray Bolger died of cancer on January 15, 1987 in Los Angeles, California.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of material related to the career of comedian, dancer, and actor Ray Bolger. Included in the collection is script material, contractual documents, correspondence, clippings, photographs, music, and ephemera related to Bolger's career. Notably absent are original materials relating to the production of the 1939 film Wizard of Oz.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Biographical and Personal
    2. Television Projects
    3. Motion Picture Projects
    4. Stage Projects
    5. Radio Projects
    6. Audio Recording and Short Film Projects
    7. Sound Recordings
    8. Armed Services Entertainment
    9. Appearances and Events
    10. Unidentified Projects
    11. Correspondence
    12. Photographs
    13. Clippings
    14. Ephemera
    15. Awards, Honors, and Certificates
    16. Business, Financial, and Legal
    17. Music
    18. Scrapbooks
    19. Writings By or About Bolger
    20. Publications

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Actors -- United States -- Archives
    Bolger, Ray--Archives.