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The Real Wardrobe

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 5, 2006 4:25PM

It’s the first week in January so most news organizations are combating the winter doldrums by gangbanging any news story that looks at them sideways. (This notion might be the only explanation why the story of the West Virginia miners—a legitimately newsworthy and tragic event—showed up on CNN’s Showbiz Today last night just before a story on Lindsey Lohan’s publicity st…er, bulimia and drug use).

ANYWAY, this is the time of year when you also see an influx of human interest stories—even ones that aren’t about humans. With The Chronicles of Narnia at the top of the box office this week, some Chicago media outlets are exploring the local connection to the aforementioned dream world of magic.

2006_01_wardrobe.jpgYesterday, the Tribune (via a synergistic LA Times story) discussed the two wardrobes—one at Westmont College in California and another at the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College—that may or may not be the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’s first published volume in the series. ABC-7 also featured a report on the same topic.

While the question of who (if anyone) has the real wardrobe, Chicagoist was surprised to see how much the disagreement illustrated the differences between Californians and Illinoisans.

While the Westmont College website touts its wardrobe as the real wardrobe that inspired the C.S. Lewis book, the director of the Wade Center told an ABC-7 reporter “I’ll leave that to you to figure out.” Aw, they're so modest. Of course, there is a sign next to it that says "We do not take responsibility for people disappearing." It’s a chilling reminder that even intradimensional portals are not a safe haven from our overly litigious times.

Literary inspiration draws from many sources. While the film was lensed in New Zealand, the geographic representations of Narnia are thought to come from Lewis’s childhood home of Belfast. Or did they?!? According to Wikipedia, his visions may have been inspired by the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Ireland.

Unfortunately for everyone born with working taste buds, Turkish Delight is very, very real.

Image via