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Ray Bolger papers, 1923-1987, bulk dates 1940s-1980s
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ray Bolger papers
    Collection number: 1117
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 60 linear ft. (85 boxes, 2 record cartons, 39 flat boxes, 2 shoe boxes, 10 sound recording boxes)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1940-1980
    Date (inclusive): 1923-1987, (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 at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.
    Creator: Bolger, Ray

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary 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, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6953933 


    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

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