Beloved actor is missed

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Katharine Hepburn, Judy Garland, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy are Hollywood royalty whose names are on the Walk of Fame – cinema icons in whose movies Karl Slover had the pleasure to play roles.

Karl was born 93 years ago with a short stature. By age 21 he measured in at just over 4 feet tall. His Slovakian family was of normal height and his dad was more than 6 feet tall. Numerous drastic attempts were made by his father to help Karl reach a growth spurt, even by placing him in a device that would stretch his small-frame body.

Nothing worked, and when Leo Singer, manager of the Singer Midgets, passed through Karl’s hometown searching for little people to play roles in movies being made back in America, Karl’s dad quickly replied, “Take him. I can’t do anything with him, and he will never be able to follow in my footsteps.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Karl Slover in 2009 while searching to determine if any original cast members from The Wizard of Oz were still living. I located Karl living in Dublin, Ga. The idea was introduced to him of visiting Augusta and taking part as we re-premiered the 1939 classic movie. Karl quickly replied, “Yes!”

The evening of July 17, 2010, will definitely be a highlight in Augusta’s history book, as Karl took the stage of the Paul Simon Theater and shared his memories with emcee Ashley Campbell of making what eventually became the most watched movie of all time.

The sold-out crowd hung on to every word Karl uttered and in keeping with tradition he concluded his interview by singing We’re Off to See the Wizard. By the end of the song, the crowd had joined in reciting every word in unison.

In a recent conversation, Karl shared with me how he was originally selected to be the second trumpeter in that now famous Munchkinland scene, but the first trumpeter kept falling asleep while standing and missed his cue to walk out. After nudging the first trumpeter to wake Karl asked the director to let him go first and the rest is history. That was one of four roles Karl Slover had in the timeless movie.

Augusta rolled out the red carpet during Karl’s 2010 visit, and Commissioner J.R. Hatney presented him with a plaque commemorating July 17, 2010, as Karl Slover Day.

Because of Karl’s short frame, for 93 years he was always looking up to people. With his passing, Karl Slover is one individual we as friends will always look up to. In my office hangs an autographed Wizard of Oz photo that reads “Follow The Yellow Brick Road – Karl Slover.” I find inspiration in that message.

We have lost a dear friend and will always remember Karl Slover, his connection with Augusta and his proud walk down the Yellow Brick Road.

Michael Deas

Augusta

(The writer is president and CEO of Augusta Amusements.)

Comments (10) Add comment
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Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 11/30/11 - 07:54 am
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What a nice letter that

What a nice letter that brings back fond memories. When the Wizard of Oz came to Augusta I was allowed to take my high school sweetheart to see it. I was not old enough to drive so we took the bus. It was an afternoon date. After the show we decided to walk home rather than spend the money on the bus so we could have a banana split at a drugstore at the corner of 15th and Walton Way. We got to her house just before dark. Six years later we were married and had 54 wonderful years together. Please forgive the ramblings but I cannot help myself today.

Jake
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Jake 11/30/11 - 12:26 pm
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Hey scooby, thanks for the

Hey scooby, thanks for the trip down memory lane and giving us personal insight about a time that will never be seen again. I am sure you saw a cartoon and newsreel as well. Rialto Theater perhaps?

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 11/30/11 - 01:53 pm
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The Rialto was the Saturday

The Rialto was the Saturday morning hang out for kids. There would be a main attraction followed by a serial. The Imperial was for first run movies and there is where the Wizard was shown. The Mojeska (spelling). usually ran b grade movies and then there was the Dreamland, hang out for Harrisburgers. Later came the Miller which brought Augusta to the big time with the rising organ player. He actually came out of the floor.

harley_52
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harley_52 11/30/11 - 01:57 pm
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Scoobydo, I showed your post

Scoobydo, I showed your post to Mrs. Harley and it made her cry.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 11/30/11 - 02:12 pm
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Harley-52, Tell Mrs. Harley

Harley-52, Tell Mrs. Harley that I cried as I wrote it. After a 60 year relationship, which includes the courting days, it is difficult not to cry when I think of her.

harley_52
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harley_52 11/30/11 - 02:23 pm
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My parents, who are no longer

My parents, who are no longer with us, would have been married 69 years last Saturday. Mrs. Harley and I are working on 44. I guess we're relative newlyweds by comparison.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 11/30/11 - 02:37 pm
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Hang in their Harleys. The

Hang in their Harleys. The first 40 are the toughest. After that the sledding gets easier. Your parents, Harley, were married three years before me and my dear wife.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 11/30/11 - 03:55 pm
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scooby, you are the coolest

scooby, you are the coolest man I know.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/30/11 - 04:07 pm
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Way cool for sure!

Way cool for sure!

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 11/30/11 - 04:26 pm
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The word cool meant when I

The word cool meant when I was coming along that one needed to put his sweater on. LOL. Thank, folks. You are just too kind. You have raised my opinion of the human race several notches.

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