Based on L. Frank Baum’s popular 1900 children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the iconic movie The Wizard of Oz has captivated and is still captivating audiences since 1939. It has been a part of everybody’s childhood. From their classical song and dance numbers, the lovable protagonist and antagonist, and especially the story line that will make you ball your eyes out. You will always remember their catchphrases like “There’s no place like home” and “It’s a twistah! It’s a twistah!”
It has been remade several times but let’s admit, nothing will ever compare to the first ever Wizard of Oz movie. No one can top that first moment when a farm girl named Dorothy Gale opened the door to Munchkinland and decided to trade her boring Kansas life for the colorful and exciting land of Oz. But aside from the magical scenes you’ve seen from the movie, there’s a lot more things to know about Wizard of Oz. So keep on reading because we are here to tell you some interesting facts about Wizard of Oz.
1. Bringing Dorothy Back to Kansas was Easier than Having a Stable Director
Believe it or not, The Wizard of Oz had gone through four directors before finishing the movie. It was first directed by Richard Torpe but he got fired after two weeks. Then, George Cukor stepped in but he was assigned to work on another movie entitled “Gone with the Wind”. It was when Victor Fleming was assigned to direct the movie but he then too was assigned to work on “Gone with the Wind.” And King Vidor was hired to be fourth and last director for the movie.
2. The Tin Man Cried Chocolate Syrup
Yes, he is supposed to cry machine oil but that didn’t register well on the camera so they have to make the Tin Man cry chocolate syrup.
3. The movie made its TV debut in 1956
Although viewers didn’t get the Wizard of Oz full Technicolor experience, it was still watched by an estimated forty-five million viewers. It was then aired again in 1959 by CBS as a Christmas special. CBS reportedly paid MGM a whopping $225,000 for each airing.
4. MGM Spent $2.78 Million for the Movie
It was the most expensive movie production of that time.
5. The Munchkins Were Played by 124 Little People
Their heights were ranging from 2’3 to 4’8. And they were paid $100 per week.
6. The Cowardly Lion’s Costume was Made from Real Lion Pelts
The Cowardly Lion’s costume weighed 60 pounds and his makeup took two hours to apply.
7. Bert Lahr Who Played the Cowardly Lion Was Paid $2,500 Per Week
His contract originally stated that he has to work for a minimum of five weeks. But the shoot lasted for 26 weeks.
8. Judy Garland was 16 years old when she filmed the Movie
Although Dorothy’s age was not mentioned in the book, it illustrated that she is a child. So, Judy Garland, who played Dorothy, had to wear a corset so she will look young and flat-chested.
9. Dorothy’s Dog, Toto, earned $125 Dollars per Week
Talk about a dog making more money than you. The shoot lasted for twenty-six weeks that makes Toto’s pay check a total of $3,250.
10. It Took 22 People to Hand Make Over 40,000 Flowers for the Poppy Field Scene
One of the most mesmerizing scenes of the movie was the Poppy Field scene, where it magically started to snow. All the flowers you’ve seen on that scene was handmade by 22 people and took an entire week to finish. They also used asbestos flakes as fake snowflakes for that scene. Asbestos is a substance that can cause different health issues like lung cancer and mesothelioma.
11. Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers
Everybody who has read the book know that Dorothy’s shoe was supposed to be silver, not ruby red. But the movie’s director and MGM’s studio head Louis B. Mayer wanted to show off their Technicolor technology and thought that the ruby red slippers complement the bright color of the Yellow Brick Road.
12. In the Trailer of Wizard of Oz, They Did Not Show Any Kansas Scene.
The executives of MGM wanted to show the audience that the movie was in full Technicolor so they did not include the sepia toned scenes.
13. When the Wicked Witch Wrote “Surrender Dorothy” with her Broom in the Sky.
A production designer wrote it using a hypodermic needle that is filled with dye on a tank filled with cloudy water. The designer had to write it backwards for the camera. Talk about creativity!
14. Frank Morgan Played Not One, but Five Characters in the Wizard of Oz.
We know most of the actors played two roles, their Kansas role and their Oz counterpart. But Frank Morgan, who played Professor Marvel on the Kansas scenes, showed up in Oz as the Wizard, the Doorman to Emerald City, the Wizard’s Guard, and Cabbie who owns the horse of different color.
15. The Classic 1939 Wizard of Oz was not the First Movie Adaptation of L. Fraum’s Book
A thirteen minute silent film was produced back in 1910 entitled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The silent film shows that Dorothy and the Scarecrow were already friends even long before they were swept by a tornado and towards their journey on Oz. The movie ended with Dorothy opting to stick around the magical place of Oz.
These are some interesting facts about The Wizard of Oz. Though technology wasn’t that advanced during those times, the people behind the production, as well as its cast truly made great efforts to make it a wonderful movie.