Homer Glen man collects $1 million of Wizard of Oz memorabilia

HOMER GLEN, Ill. (WLS) -- Judy Garland's famous line "There's no place like home," rings true as can be for Walter Krueger, whose Homer Glen house is covered with one word: Oz. Dorothy, Toto, the Tinman, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow can be found almost everywhere you turn as miniature figurines, painted on a tea set, as puppets hanging from the ceiling and even on a peanut butter jar.

"Anything that they could find marketable to put the Wizard of Oz title on I have," said Krueger of his ever-growing collection that currently totals 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 "an actual piece of the Yellow Brick Road."

The collection fills two rooms plus 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.

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

Part of that passion, the life lessons guiding Krueger 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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