The Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic that everyone knows. However, we bet you didn’t know these secrets about Dorothy and the gang!
The Wicked Witch Actually Melted!
During a scene where the Wicked Witch (played byMargaret Hamilton) exits from Munchkinland in a blaze of fire. The actress suffered first-degree burns on the right side of her face and second-degree burns on her right hand; the flames had risen too soon before see descended under the stage. Hamilton’s green face paint was made was copper-based and potentially toxic so they had to remove it quickly with alcohol which of course was excruciatingly painful for the young actress. It took her nearly 2 months to return to the set.
The Lion Wore A Real Lion!
The Lion Man costume was made out of actually lion skin, making him a literal lion man. The costume cost nearly $22,000 and took more than 21 artisans to create it.
Shirley Temple Almost Played Dorothy
Shirley Temple was the producer’s first choice to be cast as Dorothy, but as we know the role eventually ended up going to Judy Garland.
The Shoes Almost Weren’t Red
The famous ruby slippers were actually originally silver, but silver slippers just don’t seem to stand out as much, do they?
Follow The Green Brick Road…
Since The Wizard of Oz was amongst the first movies to film in technicolor, the crew had to figure out how how it works and adjust accordingly. For example, the yellow brick road first looked green and had to be repainted.
The Lion Was Almost A Real Lion
Remember the lion in the MGM introduction? Well, he almost was used as the cowardly lion until it was decided that they would hire an actor to portray the fearful beast.
The Tin Man Scared Toto
Terry the dog, who played Toto, was absolutely terrified of the steam that came out of the tin man’s hat. Poor pooch!
Have You Seen My Shoes?
Though it is unclear just how many pairs were created for the filming of The Wizard of Oz, only four remain in existence today.
Look Into My Crystal Ball
If the crystal ball that the Wicked Witch of the West used to spy on Dorothy looks familiar, that’s because it can also been seen in 1932’s The Mask of Fu Manchu.
Jack Of All Trades …
Frank Morgan, who played the wizard, doubled as several other parts: the horse cab driver, doorkeeper, and also a guard.
Judy Tried To Take Toto
While filming the movie with Terry the dog, aka Toto, Judy Garland became so attached to him that at the end of filming she wanted to keep him. However, his owners would not allow it.
Three Wise Wizards
Ed Wynn and W.C. Fields were some of the actors considered to play the role of the Wizard before Frank Morgan finally received the famous role.
The Tin Man Got Fired
Originally, Buddy Ebsen was cast as the Tin Man, but he apparently fell ill due to the aluminum used in his makeup. Jack Haley was then cast as his replacement. Source: Daily Disclosure
It Was Big At First …
Although the film did well initially, it became a huge hit when it was played on TV. It was released a second time in 1949 and was shown on TV in 1956 and it had its highest views then.
It Was Expensive To Make!
The Wizard of Oz cost $2.7 million to film and was the most expensive film made by MGM at that time. Upon its release, the film earned only a little over $3 million.
Did you know? The tornado featured in The Wizard of Oz had to be done creatively: they used a 35 foot long stocking along with dirt and dust.
Wicked, Wicked Witch
Many of the original scenes featuring the Wicked Witch of the West were cut out. Producers thought they might be too frightening for children to see.
4 Separate Directors Completed The Wizard of Oz
Victor Fleming is credited on-screen for directing the film but in reality, four separate directors came in to complete the film. The first, Richard Thorpe, was fired after less than two weeks. George Cukor was brought in next, but he was later summoned away and brought on to direct Gone With the Wind. Then Fleming stepped in, until he too was called over to assist with Gone With the Wind, and finally King Vidor was hired to complete the movie. Source: Mental Floss
Reportedly the prosthetics used on Ray Bolger’s face for his Scarecrow costume were placed on his face so tightly that indentations were left on his face for almost an entire year.
The Good Witch Wasn’t Dubbed
Even though it is widely believed that Billie Burke’s singing voiced was dubbed over, she really did sing all the songs when she played Glinda the Good Witch.
The Land of Oz
Ever wonder how Baum came up with the name Oz? Well apparently he was looking around for ideas when he spotted a file cabinet that was labelled “O-Z,” and thus the land of Oz was born.
Take Me Home To Aunt Em
The film’s most famous prop and line were not actually featured in the book. Apparently, instead of clicking her ruby slippers slippers and saying “there’s no place like home,” in the book Dorothy did the same with silver slippers but said, “Take me to Aunt Em!”
Monkeys Were Injured
Some of the actors who played the flying monkeys were injured when the suspension wires snapped during filming.
She’s Worn That Dress Before
Did Glinda’s sparkling dress look familiar to you? Maybe because the same gown was used in the film San Francisco from the year 1936.
Dorothy’s Hair Grew Fast
Consistency glitches! Dorothy’s hair is not the same length in certain scenes, you can see her braids are much longer in some scenes than in others.
The Lion Costume
Bert Lahr, who played the Cowardly Lion, stated that the costume was extremely hot and uncomfortable and he would sweat profusely each time he would wear the costume.
Bad Witch vs. Good Witch
Hamilton (the bad witch) used to sneak into into Billie Burke’s (the good witch) dressing room and eat her lunch! Source: Mental Floss
Toto Got Hurt
Toto, who’s real name is Terry, was stepped on by accident and it resulted in a broken foot injury. Poor pup!
They Almost Didn’t Make It Over The Rainbow
“Over the Rainbow” is arguably the most famous song of the film, but it actually was almost cut out of the movie completely in order to shorten the length of the film.
Originally, Dorothy was meant to have blonde hair and a full face of makeup, but later it was decided that she should have a more natural, youthful, and soft look.
Judy Garland Was Almost Too Old
In order to appear smaller, Judy Garland had to wear a corset under her famous dress, since she was considered to be a little too round for the part.
Medical Issues on Set
Since the paint used for his costume makeup had aluminum in it, Jack Haley ended up with a nasty eye infection from it.
The Days Were Long
The cast of the film had an early wakeup call – 4am to be on set for hair and makeup, and days ended way later at around 8pm. Talk about a tough schedule.
They Didn’t Stick To The Book
Originally, in the book, the heart given to Tin Man was not a clock but actually made of satin which was placed in his chest and eventually patched over with tin.
The Filming Wasn’t Perfect
In many scenes, including the “We’re Off to See the Wizard” scene, feature small filming mistakes, for example, seeing the shadow of the camera in the scene.
There Were Laughs
Apparently while filming the scene in which she had to slap the Cowardly Lion, Judy Garland could not stop laughing. Reportedly, after the director took her aside and slapped her, she got the scene done in one take.
The Slippers Were Stolen
Even though they were insured for $1 million, one pair of Dorothy’s slippers was stolen from a museum in Minnesota in 2005.
The Witch Was a Teacher
Margaret Hamilton worked as a Kindergarten teacher before turning to an acting career.
Garland’s Munchkin Award
When Judy Garland won an Oscar Juvenile Award for playing Dorothy, she affectionately named is her “Munchkin Award.”
The Wicked Witch’s death certificate featured a very specific date that was not random – it was L. Frank Baum’s birthday.
There Were Sequels
L. Frank Baum wrote several sequels to The Wizard of Oz, which were published posthumously.
The Reviews Were Original
“It is all so well-intentioned, so genial and so gay that any reviewer who would look down his nose at the fun-making should be spanked and sent off, supperless, to bed,” reads a review from a 1939 copy of the New York Times.
Toto Made More Than The Munchkins
Toto, aka Terry, was paid $125 a week, whereas the munchkins were only paid around $50. We wonder how this ended up happening.
Spot The Difference
The original The Wizard of Oz book and the film have around forty major differences in the story. Think you can spot them all?
Staying in the Family
Liza Minnelli, daughter of Judy Garland, ended up marrying the son of the actor who played Tin Man.
MGM vs. 20th Century Fox
Metro-Goldwyn Meyer beat out 20th Century Fox in the bid to produce The Wizard of Oz.
The Coroner of Munchkinland
The actor who portrayed the Coroner of Munchkinland was actually the shortest trained and licensed pilot at the time, and he flew during WWII.
It Snowed Asbestos
The snow in the famous poppy scene is made out of asbestos, which showed that filmmakers completely disregarded the safety and health of the actors.
Little Care for the Actors
Because the “Wizard of Oz” calls for the Scarecrow played by Ray Bolger to have several close run-ins with fire, his straw-filled costume is reported to have been flame-proofed with asbestos.
Escape From Nazi Germany
The actors who portrayed the “Singer Midgets”, the munchkins who serenade Dorothy, escaped to the U.S. from Nazi Germany after being under of threat of being labelled undesirable.