The Wizard of Oz

Trivia: Professor Marvel, the Cabbie, the doorman, the guard, and the wizard himself are all the same actor, Frank Morgan.

Trivia: "Over the Rainbow", which the American Film Institute recently named the greatest movie song of all time, was nearly cut from the film.

Trivia: The "tornado" was a thirty-five foot long muslin stocking, photographed with miniatures of a Kansas farm and fields.

rabid anarchist

Trivia: During filming, Toto was accidentally stepped on by one of the Witch's guards, and had to be replaced for several days with a look-alike. Other on-set accidents included two winged monkey actors who fell when their support wires snapped, and Margaret Hamilton being severely burned when the elevated platform that made her disappear from Munchkinland in a puff of smoke malfunctioned.

Jean G

Trivia: According to lead Munchkin Jerry Maren, the "little people" on the set were paid $50 per week for a 6-day work week, while Toto received $125 per week.

rabid anarchist

Trivia: The "oil" that was used to lubricate the Tin Man was not really oil. It was discovered that oil would not photograph well, so they used chocolate syrup instead.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Trivia: The horses in Emerald City palace were colored with Jell-O crystals. The relevant scenes had to be shot quickly, before the horses started to lick it off.

rabid anarchist

Trivia: Margaret Hamilton, who plays the Wicked Witch of the West, was a kindergarten teacher before becoming an actress.


Trivia: The coat that Frank Morgan wears as Professor Marvel was bought second-hand for the film. It was only discovered later that it once belonged to L. Frank Baum, the creator of the Oz stories. The name sewn into the garment was shown to his widow, who confirmed that the coat did indeed once belong to the author.


Trivia: Buddy Ebsen, the original actor hired to play the Tin Man, became very ill from the metallic makeup and was not able to appear in the movie, but his voice can still be heard singing "We're off to see the wizard," when Dorothy and her friends are dancing down the yellow brick road after the forest scene.

Trivia: In the original book by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy's slippers were not Ruby but Silver. The color was changed in the movie for Technicolor purposes.

Trivia: Margaret Hamilton proved too authentic as the wicked witch as it was reported that mothers throughout the country had to carry their children out of movie theaters because the children were horrified by her make up.

Leonard Hassen

Trivia: Liza Minelli, the daughter of Judy Garland, was once married to TV producer Jack Haley Jr., the son of the Tin Man.

Trivia: In L. Frank Baum's books, Dorothy was actually about 11 years old. As Judy Garland was in her mid-teens when she was cast, MGM pulled out all the stops to make her look as young as possible. Already on a chicken soup-only diet and appetite suppressants (as she was a little too chubby for the studio's liking), MGM upped her dosage and had a corset made to flatten any signs of a womanly figure. Garland had to have special lessons on how to walk, talk and dance normally as the corset was so tight. The costume department dressed her in a childish pinafore dress and gave her little girl plaits too. Even with these efforts it's still clear to see that Garland looks older than 11 in the film.

Lucy Reeves

Trivia: The Scarecrow was unable to say the correct Pythagorean Theorem (right after he got his brains), so after multiple attempts, the director simply selected the best take and used it.

Trivia: The method used to make the house fall: Paint the sky on the floor, hold a toy house up against the camera which is elevated over the floor, film the house falling, then reverse the film. Voila.

Trivia: Some of the more minor mistakes in the film may have been left in because there was no time to shoot more accurate takes. This picture wasn't expected to be as big of a hit as it was, and when it went over-budget and took longer than expected to shoot, a lot of pressure was put on the crew and director to finish it. MGM wanted to put Judy Garland in a film with Mickey Rooney, as he was a bigger star than she was (and the studio thought starring with him would help her career), so the crew of the film had to rush to get it all shot and edited so Garland could be released. There was also pressure as every Technicolor camera in existence at the time was needed for Gone with the Wind, which had already started filming.

Lucy Reeves

Trivia: The steam shooting from the Tin Man's cap startles Toto, who runs out of the shot.

rabid anarchist

Trivia: Originally, the Wicked Witch of the West recorded a lot more scenes. Most of these scenes were cut because the director thought it would scare the children too much. You can see evidence of this when the foursome are surrounded by her guards and the witch comes and says something like Ring around the Rosie and it cuts to a different scene with her in it. (01:28:00)

Trivia: When the Wizard is getting ready to take off in the balloon, while most people watch Dorothy climb out of the basket and go after Toto, the Tin Man is unravelling the thing holding the hot air balloon down, then he "accidentally" lets go. (01:34:55)

Trivia: At least eleven pairs of ruby slippers were removed from the Wizard of Oz movie set. One of them is now displayed in the Smithsonian Museum.


Trivia: The Cowardly Lion's facial makeup included a brown paper bag.

rabid anarchist

Trivia: When The Witch tries to get off the Ruby Slippers, fire strikes her hands. This "fire" was actually dark apple juice spewing out of the shoes. The film was sped up to make it look like fire.

rabid anarchist

Trivia: A Russian writer adapted "The Wizard of Oz" for Russian children. Dorothy was re-named Allie, and Toto could talk. He later wrote 5 more books about the adventures of Allie, her sister Annie, Toto, Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion. The book is titled "The Wizard of the Emerald City", by Alexander Volkov. It has been translated into English along with the sequels.

Trivia: Judy Garland was 16 when she did the film and under California law she was a minor. She could only work four hours a day and had to go to school on the lot every day.


Trivia: Early in pre-production, Shirley Temple was considered for the role of Dorothy, who would have been on loan out from 20th Century Fox, but the truth as to why she did not get the part remains uncertain. One reason offered is that MGM's head of production, Mervyn LeRoy, was under pressure to cast Shirley (who was a popular child star at the time), but during an unofficial audition he decided that her singing was not what he envisioned for Dorothy and wanted an actress with a different style. Another reason is that they thought it to be too big a role for such a young actress (she was 11 at the time). Yet another possible reason is that 20th Century Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck was offered double Shirley's salary to star her in the film, but Zanuck declined, and the offer was raised to MGM's budget limit that the film could afford, but once again Zanuck declined. In addition, a rumored story exists that there was a deal that MGM's Jean Harlow and Clark Gable were going to be on loan to 20th Century Fox in return for Shirley's loan out to MGM, but after Harlow's death (from uremic poisoning brought on by acute nephritis) in 1937 the deal ended. However, Harlow died in 1937, which was before MGM had even purchased the rights to the story.

Trivia: The album "Dark side of the moon" by Pink Floyd seems to be in sync (by accident or design) with the Wizard of Oz if you start it right after the MGM lion roars the third time. Examples: the smoke turns black and blue when they are visiting the wizard as the words "black and blue" are sung. When the tone of the movie changes as Dorothy falls in the pigpen, the music picks up, becoming somewhat "panicky." When Auntie Em is "gripping" at the Uncles, the music has a nagging woman's voice that matches Auntie Em perfectly. The Tin Man's dance to a track called Speak to Me/Breathe. This has to be done with DVD/CD, and bear in mind that PAL format DVDs play back 4% faster due to differing frame rates, so for a 101 minute film like this it'll be 4 minutes apart from the NTSC version by the end, potentially messing up any synchronisation.

Trivia: Buddy Ebsen was originally slated to play the Scarecrow, with Ray Bolger originally the Tin Woodman; Bolger asked to switch places since his dancing style was much closer to how a scarecrow would dance than to a tin woodsman.

Trivia: The original head of Oz that appeared in front of the columns was a flat piece of painted plywood for the actors to look at during filming. It is visible as such in an often-published studio still. For the film version, they filmed Frank Morgan in the large head make-up and superimposed it on the footage of the empty set.

Leonard Hassen

Trivia: One of the most popular quotes from the movie is "Fly, My Pretties, Fly" which Wicked Witch of West tells Winged Monkeys when she sends them for our heroes. There is one problem with this - this line DOESN'T exist in the movie. What Wicked Witch actually says, and it is very well obviously heard, is "Fly, Fly, Fly".


Trivia: Although in the film the main characters get on well, the actors who played the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Lion actually resented Judy Garland as they were convinced that she was trying to up-stage them. This wasn't true, but Garland had a very hard time when making the film as she was only friendly with Margaret Hamilton and her musical director, Roger Edens. Actually at the time, Garland was on a much lower salary than most of the stars. She received $500 a month, with $200 of that for her mother Ethel's services.

Lucy Reeves

Trivia: More than a dozen writers worked on various versions of the Oz script. Some of their "original" ideas that were (thankfully) scrapped: an opera-singing Princess Betty of Oz; a stupid son for the Wicked Witch with ambitions to be King of Oz; and a budding romance between Dorothy and one of the farmhands. For a while, the Wicked Witch was to be glamorous (a la Disney's witch in Snow White), but fortunately, saner heads prevailed and kept her as L. Frank Baum had originally written her.

Jean G

Trivia: Contrary to common belief, "The Wizard of Oz" is not based on Populism (a mostly rural movement in the 1890s that challenged the interests of the railroads and big business) and its ideals. This myth originated from the fact that writer L. Frank Baum had been the editor of a Populist newspaper in Kansas prior to writing the Oz books.


Trivia: Walt Disney wanted to make an animated version of The Wizard Of Oz, which could have come after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but MGM bought the film rights before Walt Disney could.


Trivia: Gale Sondergaard didn't want to play the Witch of the West because she thought the make-up made her look ugly.

rabid anarchist

Trivia: The falling snow in the poppy field was actually made from industrial grade chrysotile asbestos, despite the health hazards already being known at the time.

Trivia: The Wicked Witch of the West appears for only 12 minutes in the entire film.

Trivia: The good witch Glinda's gown was originally used in the 1936 musical "San Francisco." It was modified slightly for use in "The Wizard of Oz."

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Trivia: At the start of the first technicolor scene where the camera pans across the vegetation to reveal Oz, a pink splodge appears for a single frame, due to a technicolor fault in one of the 3 strips. It is covered up by a single note played on a xylophone to make it appear a deliberate special effect. Faults in the black and white film used to shoot in technicolor always show as vivid color faults in the print.

Join the mailing list

Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.