35 Wild and Bizarre Facts about ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Published on 08/24/2017
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The Wizard of Oz is a seminal piece of entertainment for children and grown ups, no matter when they first came across the fiction. The Wizard of Oz started off as a children’s book by Frank Baum before being re-imagined on both Broadway and on the big screen with the famous 1939 film starring Judy Garland. You might think you know everything about The Wizard of Oz but we bet you don’t know everything! Listed below are 35 WILD facts about The Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy’s dress wasn’t blue!

Alright, if you have your online college degree in movie facts then you likely know this already. However, those that don’t should know: Dorothy’s iconic dress was actually a blue and light pink color which made it easier to shoot on Technicolor film.

Dorothys Dress Wasnt Blue

Dorothy’s dress wasn’t blue!

There is a second film nobody talks about!

And for good reason. Online colleges that focus on film might cover this era, but in 1925 a silent, black and white The Wizard of Oz movie was released. This version did not have any magic whatsoever. Bizarre.

There Is A Second Film Nobody Talks About

There is a second film nobody talks about!

The Cowardly Lion was pretty authentic!

In fact, the costume for the Cowardly Lion was made of actual lion skin. Yeah, you won’t see that taught for your online college degree in animal-friendly wardrobe creation. We’re not sure that is even a specialty to study in, but the point stands.

The Cowardly Lion Was Pretty Authentic

The Cowardly Lion was pretty authentic!

Don’t eat the snow!

In order to get visible snow on camera for the movie the producers decided to use asbestos. Yeah, just about all online colleges will touch on the danger of asbestos if you take even one class on construction.

Dont Eat The Snow

Don’t eat the snow!

Judy Garland needed special wardrobe to appear younger

Even though Judy Garland was only 16 when she played the role of Dorothy the producers wanted her to look younger. So, they made Garland wear a corset to shrink her frame down. This is why online college degree courses in feminism exist.

Judy Garland In The Wizard Of Oz

Judy Garland needed special wardrobe to appear younger

The famous ruby red slippers are actually inaccurate!

In the original Oz books the famous slippers that Dorothy clicks together are silver. MGM wanted something a little more colorful to show off their new cameras and ruby red was chosen. Good decision at the end of the day!

The Famous Ruby Red Slippers Are Actually Inaccurate

The famous ruby red slippers are actually inaccurate!

Judy Garland wasn’t the first choice for Dorothy

MGM reached for the stars when trying to cast Dorothy as they reached out to Shirley Temple and Deanna Durbin. Online colleges that specialize in film history can wonder how cinema would be different if a famous face like Temple had taken over!

Judy Garland Wasnt The First Choice For Dorothy

Judy Garland wasn’t the first choice for Dorothy

W.C. Fields turned down the role of the Wizard

In order to play the role of the Wizard a comedian by the name of W.C. Fields demanded $100,000 — huge money back in the ’30s. MGM countered at $75,000 and Fields walked his way out of the film and out of history.

W.C. Fields Turned Down The Role Of The Wizard

W.C. Fields turned down the role of the Wizard

Toto was paid more than the Munchkin actors

You heard that right. Toto was bringing in a whopping $125 per week of work while the Munchkin crew was getting paid just $50 for that same time span. Oh, and Toto’s real name was Terry. My mind is spinning!

Toto Was Paid More Than The Munchkin Actors

Toto was paid more than the Munchkin actors

The horses in Emerald City needed a special material for their color

In order to get the horses of Emerald City to really pop on camera they were rubbed down with Jell-O. Which the horses loved to lick off in between takes. Yeah, no amount of online colleges will be able to teach us why that was a good idea.

The Horses In Emerald City Needed A Special Material For Their Color

The horses in Emerald City needed a special material for their color

Two main actors traded parts!

Ray Bolger was initially cast to play the role of the Tin Man. However, Bolger felt drawn to the Scarecrow more so the two actors would go on to trade parts. If only it was as easy to get your online college degree as it was for Bolger to pick his favorite role.

Two Main Actors Traded Parts

Two main actors traded parts!

Bert Lahr made big money as the Cowardly Lion

Lahr racked up nearly $2,500 per week in order to play the part of the Cowardly Lion. His contracted mandated five weeks of pay, at minimum, but filming would take nearly 26 weeks to complete.

Bert Lahr Made Big Money As The Cowardly Lion

Bert Lahr made big money as the Cowardly Lion

This famous song was nearly cut from the film!

Producers almost cut the famous ‘Over the Rainbow’ from the film due to length concerns. We’re lucky and grateful that they didn’t! What else would we listen to while studying for our online college degree in classical film history? It’s a very specific field.

This Famous Song Was Nearly Cut From The Film

This famous song was nearly cut from the film!

Buddy Ebsen almost died during filming

Ebsen was cast to play the Scarecrow but he traded parts to become the Tin Man. However, only a few film dates were made before Ebsen was forced to the hospital due to a massive allergic reaction to all of the aluminum dust. Ebsen would be replaced.

Buddy Ebsen Almost Died During Filming

Buddy Ebsen almost died during filming

The Cowardly Lion’s Tail was functional!

If The Wizard of Oz were filmed in HD you would be able to see a fishing line tracking off screen to a stage hand who controlled the tail. We don’t think there are any online colleges in the world to train you for that profession.

The Cowardly Lions Tail Was Functional

The Cowardly Lion’s Tail was functional!

There was a proverbial Munchkin army

The Wizard of Oz went on to cast 124 actors to play the cumulative part of the Munchkins in the film. Heights ranged from 2’3 to 4’8. In total the production spent $322,400 on their Munchkin actors.

There Was A Proverbial Munchkin Army

There was a proverbial Munchkin army

Margaret Hamilton had a fitting job before acting

Our favorite Wicked Witch was actually a kindergarten teacher before she jumped into acting. Can you imagine walking into her classroom?

Margaret Hamilton Had A Fitting Job Before Acting

Margaret Hamilton had a fitting job before acting

The Tin Man cried a hilarious material

Being as the Tin Man wasn’t actually a real tin man, we shouldn’t be surprised that they didn’t use machine oil for his tears. Instead, production assistants would squirt chocolate syrup down his cheeks in order to capture the famous crying scene.

The Tin Man Cried A Hilarious Material

The Tin Man cried a hilarious material

MGM put all of their eggs in one basket for this film

When production wrapped on The Wizard of Oz MGM would have spent almost $3 million on the film. This was easily the most money MGM had ever spent on a project. Times have surely changed.

MGM Put All Of Their Eggs In One Basket For This Film

MGM put all of their eggs in one basket for this film

The Cowardly Lion costume was heavy

In order to wear the lion costume, which was made of real pelts by the way, the actor would have to carry 100lbs right on his shoulders all day. What a heavy costume!

The Cowardly Lion Costume Was Heavy

The Cowardly Lion costume was heavy

None of the Munchkins killed themselves

A popular urban legend went around in the early days of the internet saying that one of the Munchkin actors killed themselves on set. This obviously never happened and the famous scene everyone is talking about was actually an exotic bird in the distance.

None Of The Munchkins Killed Themselves

None of the Munchkins killed themselves

Competition was fierce for the role of Toto

Toto had over 100 dogs come in for auditions. The winner would be Terry, a five year old Cairn Terrier. Terry was trained as a military police dog by owner Carl Spitz.

Competition Was Fierce For The Role Of Toto

Competition was fierce for the role of Toto

The tornado was REAL, kind of..

CGI obviously didn’t exist back then so the production team had to get clever. The tornado at the beginning of the film was a muslin stocking that was 35 feet in length.

The Tornado Was REAL Kind Of..

The tornado was REAL, kind of..

There’s no place like home – isn’t quite right

Wasn’t actually the real phrase from the original book. In the original Oz book Dorothy clicks her heels and says, “Take me home to Aunt Em!” Just doesn’t have the same ring to it!

Theres No Place Like Home Isnt Quite Right

There’s no place like home – isn’t quite right

Margaret Hamilton was roughed up during filming

Our favorite Wicked Witch had a tough time on set. She was severely burned in one scene and forced to bedrest for almost six weeks. She also couldn’t eat once her paint was on and it often let her paint stained green for weeks thanks to the copper basis of the paint.

Margaret Hamilton Was Roughed Up During Filming

Margaret Hamilton was roughed up during filming

Ray Bolger had facial scars from his make up

The facial prosthetics that Bolger had to wear for the Scarecrow would leave a mark on his face for nearly a year after filming wrapped. We don’t want to know how much that hurt.

Ray Bolger Had Facial Scars From His Make Up

Ray Bolger had facial scars from his make up

There were five pairs of slippers on set

You just can’t trust a 16 year old not to scuff up their shoes, eh? Judy Garland went through five pairs of ruby red slippers during filming. Now each pair is worth around $3 million as a collectible.

There Were Five Pairs Of Slippers On Set

There were five pairs of slippers on set

Leonardo DiCaprio owns a pair of the slippers

A-List heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio pulled money with a couple of other buyers in order to get his hands on a pair of the limited and rare red slippers.

Leonardo DiCaprio Owns A Pair Of The Slippers

Leonardo DiCaprio owns a pair of the slippers

The Wicked Witch was largely cut from the film

Apparently the producers thought that her scenes were simply too scary for children. As a result a majority of her scenes were cut from the film.

The Wicked Witch Was Largely Cut From The Film

The Wicked Witch was largely cut from the film

There are 17 sequels to The Wizard of Oz

To say that author Frank Baum stayed busy with his Oz series would be an understatement.

There Are 17 Sequels To The Wizard Of Oz

There are 17 sequels to The Wizard of Oz

Technicolor filming required extensive lighting

In order to keep up with the new technology sets would routinely surpass 100 degrees! Now imagine wearing those heavy costumes under those hot lights. Yikes.

Technicolor Filming Required Extensive Lighting

Technicolor filming required extensive lighting

The flying monkeys were almost cartoons!

MGM played with the idea of animated the flying monkeys like cartoons but they hated how it looked. Instead rubber monkeys were brought in and suspended on wires.

The Flying Monkeys Were Almost Cartoons

The flying monkeys were almost cartoons!

There were 40,000 fake flowers on set

For the famous poppy field scene there were over 40,000 fake flowers hand created by 22 men. It took them a week.

There Were 40000 Fake Flowers On Set

There were 40,000 fake flowers on set

The entire film was made indoors

65 of 67 scenes were filmed indoors. The other two scenes? The clouds in the intro and outro of the film. Well then.

The Entire Film Was Made Indoors

The entire film was made indoors

Wizard of Oz tanked in theaters

Despite its status as an all-time classic film, The Wizard of Oz struggled out of the gate. MGM had to re-release the film in 1949 in order to finally start raking in ticket sales.

Wizard Of Oz Tanked In Theaters

Wizard of Oz tanked in theaters

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