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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.