18 Dark Secrets About The Wizard Of Oz
1. Most on the munchkins’ voices were dubbed in the film because the majority of them had fled from Nazi Germany to seek refuge in the U.S.
2. The snow used in the poppy field where Dorothy and the scarecrow fall asleep was actually potent chrysotile asbestos, which has well-known health hazards.
3. The munchkins were only paid $50 for a six-day work week said Jerry Maren, who played one, while the dog who played Toto was paid $125 a week!
4. Dorothy’s hair length actually changes during the film – at one point it only reaches her collar bone, but towards the end of the film it’s past her shoulders.
5. The production team achieved the effect of the coloured horse by actually changing the colour of it’s fur with a Jell-O tint – they made sure to consult the ASPCA, so it was 100% safe for the animals.
6. Bert Lahr’s lion costume was made from real lion skin – it was incredibly hot to wear, and weighed about 100 pounds.
7. Believe it or now, the twister wasn’t actually a twister. They actually created the effect using a 35-foot muslin stocking was used and swirled with dirt and dust.
8. The original dog playing Toto, Terry, was accidentally stepped on during filming, and was replaced by a doggy double for two weeks while she recovered from her injuries.
9. There’s a famous rumour that the shadow seen in the background of one scene was an actor who had committed suicide – however MGM has said that that’s false and that it was actually a large bird spreading it’s wings.
10. Judy Garland was 16 when she played the character of Dorothy, so she wore a tight corset underneath her dress to make her look more youthful.
11. The dress she wore wasn’t actually white, it was a pale pink colour because it showed up better in technicolour.
12. The Wicked Witch, played by Margaret Hamilton, had to wear copper-based green makeup to achieve her iconic skin tone, which was highly dangerous to ingest, so she only could consume liquids during filming.
13. The makeup even caused Hamilton severe skin burns during a failed take of a scene where she leaves Munchkinland in a blast of smoke and fire.
14. On the same note, the Tin Man’s aluminum-based makeup caused an infection in Jack Haley’s eyes, and Scarecrow actor Ray Bolger’s face was permanently scarred from wearing prosthetics.
15. While filming the slap scene with Dorothy and the Lion, Judy Garland couldn’t stop giggling. So director Victor Fleming took her aside and actually slapped her, and then she nailed the scene in one take.
16. The Tin Man’s tears were actually made from chocolate sauce.
17. The film’s most iconic song, ‘Over the Rainbow’ was almost cut from the song – the producers thought that it was too long and too slow for younger audiences.
18. L. Frank Baum, who wrote the original book, invented the name “Oz” when looking at an alphabetical filing cabinet label, “O-Z.”