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Frigid quest for Wizard of Oz ruby slippers in frozen lake relived on Expedition Unknown: Amazing Adventures

Today is the day we revisit the past with Discovery and Expedition Unknown host Josh Gates, as he reflects on all of his storied 2018 travels while examining the year that was — and the impact and production challenges the show’s episodes had on him personally.

The infamous heist of the ruby red slippers from July 10, 2018, is where we head back to in our exclusive clip!

One of the most beloved movies of all time is the Wizard of Oz. The story of a young traveler named Dorothy and her fabulous ruby red slippers, and in reality only four pairs of these famous cinematic icons, the red shoes that actress Judy Garland wore in the film have survived.

Recalling the frigid quest for the purloined kicks in Minnesota in the dead of winter, Gates underscores how important they are, he says: “And they’re worth millions!”

Those red slippers are worth millions, and someone tossed them in a lake! Pic credit: Discovery
Those red slippers are worth millions, and someone tossed them in a lake! Pic credit: Discovery

Rewind on the crime: Back in 2005 one of those pairs is stolen from a Minnesota Museum, and local investigators had a hot new lead that the stolen ruby slippers could be hidden inside an old paint can way under the ice of a frozen lake. Minnesota… in the winter, where it is minus 3 degrees outside.

So what did Mr. Gates and his cameraman Evan B. Stone do? They suited up and headed out to get that can o’ slippers.

Reliving the dream, Stone is utterly hilarious in his recollections and says: “Let’s put it in perspective here… we’re looking for women’s shoes… this isn’t the sixth floor of Macy’s here!”

Gates is laughing thinking back to their excruciating exploits in ice: “Right? We’re gonna cut a hole in a lake and go through it! This was about as tough as it gets in terms of diving conditions.”

Josh and Evan recall all their amazing adventures together - some more hairraising than others. Pic credit: Discovery
Josh and Evan recall all their amazing adventures together – some more hairraising than others. Pic credit: Discovery

Think about the fact these two were entering a frozen lake where visibility was marginal at best. Evan also laughs hard remembering how tough it all was. He says: “Really! Like, couldn’t we go in the summer? I know!”

Gates had a close call when his breathing apparatus froze up and the production team had to pour hot coffee out of a Thermos on his line to bust the crystals open. He says: “I freaked out suddenly my whole breathing apparatus up here crystallized and froze solid and this guy is dumping boiling hot coffee to try to melt the ice crystals off the edge of my exhaust valve!”

Also experiencing technical difficulties was our man Evan: “He did that on my regulator – and then it’s like… wait what are we doing?

And then the two descended into the murk. In footage that shows exactly how claustrophobic and mucky the water was, as Gates says: “It was like mud but like if mud was like a vapor.”

Agreeing wholeheartedly, Stone adds: “It felt like you just went to another dimension of movement…”

The two compared their experience to being in the ‘upside down world” of Stranger Things as they goofed around and stood upside down on the ice underwater driving their ground control monitoring team crazy with their antics.

Tune in to see all the amazing behind the scenes of your favorite episode tonight.

Expedition Unknown ‘Amazing Adventures’ premieres Wednesday, December 12, at 8 pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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