Friday, September 10, 2010
STRANGE FACTS ABOUT THE WIZARD OF OZ
One memory all of us seems to have is watching "The Wizard Of Oz" as a kid. Gathering on the couch with the family and waiting for those first notes of the opening music to start, sharing a bowl of popcorn and getting kernels in the couch cushions, pushing your feet under your mom to get them warm, ..the memories go on and on. But there are many interesting things you might not have known about one of the world's best-loved movies. Be ready to say "I never knew that!" quite a lot as you read the following fascinating facts and trivia!
1- Judy Garland had a bad case of the giggles while filming the scene where she slaps the Cowardly Lion. Take after take, director Victor Fleming's patience wore thin. Taking Judy quietly to the side, and without saying a word he suddenly slapped her! She then returned to her place with the cast and did the scene in one take.
2- Judy Garland was a well-developed 16 yr. old when she was filming "The Wizard Of Oz". To disguise this fact, the costume department design a tight-fitting corset-type device to give her a more child-like figure.
7- The white blouse and blue/white checkered skirt Judy Garland's character wore in the movie wasn't white and blue..it was pink and blue. White doesn't film well. So what looked like white was actually a pale pink.
1- Margaret Hamilton received second- and third-degree burns when filming the sequence where she disappeared in a cloud of smoke after first meeting Dorothy. As she was dropping through the trap door, the timing was off and part of her costume caught fire. Her burns caused her to miss six weeks of filming.
2- When Margaret Hamilton returned to the set after recovering from her burns, she was to do the scene where she flies on the broomstick that spews smoke. She refused to do the shot, saying it was too dangerous. Stand-In Betty Danko did the shot instead, getting seriously injured in the stunt.
3- Before becoming an actress, Hamilton was a kindergarten teacher.
Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion & Tin Man
1- Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion's costume weighed 90 lbs.
2- Part of Bert Lahr's make-up consisted of a brown paper bag. Not being able to eat while in make-up he had to have only soup and milkshakes for lunch and dinner when filming. This got old. One day he had enough of "liquid meals" and enraged the director by taking a full lunch, eating whatever he wanted. He then insisted all of his facial make-up be reapplied which was very time consuming. Lahr won the battle and had his make-up redone each day after eating.
3- Ray Bolger was a smoker. Twice while filming he was smoking during a break; cigarette ash fell onto some of the straw of his costume, catching him on fire!
4- Buddy Ebson (Jed Clampett of "The Beverly Hillbillies") was the original Tin Man. Due to a severe allergic reaction to the make-up, he was replaced with Ray Bolger.
5- Tin Man, Jack Haley had a slight problem with his stiff-limbed costume. It seems he would occasionally fall while in costume and would lay on his back like a turtle until someone could help him up!
Odds & Ends
1- When the movie script was being adapted from the book, the role of the Wizard was written with W.C. Fields in mind for the part.
2- For the shot of Dorothy's house falling out of the sky, a miniature house was positioned and dropped onto a painting of the sky that had been placed on the stage floor and filmed from above. It was then reversed to make it appear the house was falling towards the camera.
3- If you'll look closely at the wallpaper in Dorothy's bedroom wallpaper, you'll see the design is of poppies.
4- Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM is responsible for coming up with the the famous ruby red slippers. In the book, the slippers were silver.
5- Louis B. Mayer's motivation for doing"The Wizard of Oz" was to trump Walt Disney's award-winning movie "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
6- Two white palomino ponies were painted with thicken Jell-O powder to get the beautiful effect for "The horse of a different color" shots as Dorothy and her friends are taken through the Emerald City. Shooting had to be done quickly because the horses would constantly try to lick their fur to get a sweet treat!
7- The shot where sparks and fire comes from the ruby slippers when the witch reaches for them was filmed by having apple juice spew from the slippers and then speeding up the film and adding some lighting effects.
L.Frank Baum (the author)
1- The name OZ came to author L. Frank Baum while looking at his file cabinets, organized A-N and O-Z.
2- When looking for a coat for Professor Marvel, the costumers found quite a few old jackets they felt might work while in old thrift stores. The coat worn throughout the movie was picked from these coats. It was during the filming a name tag was found within the coat. The name was "L.Frank Baum", the author of "The Wizard of Oz". It was confirmed by Baum's widow the coat was indeed his!
3- As a child, author L. Frank Baum had a recurring dream where he was being chased by a scarecrow.
Article courtesy of L.A. Stewart
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