Nicole Muã±oz Once Upon A Time

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From offscreen friendships and jarring pay inequality to the special effects and makeup tricks that brought some of the world’south favorite film characters to life,
The Sorcerer of Oz
(1939) had so much going on behind the emerald curtain and the Technicolor gloss of an amazing fantasy world.

In laurels of the 80th anniversary of the film, follow the xanthous brick slideshow to peek backside that drapery and acquire more than about the secrets and fun facts that make the beloved movie a timeless archetype.

Margaret Hamilton Was a Fan Before the Film

Every bit a self-proclaimed lifelong fan of L. Frank Baum’due south
Oz
serial, Margaret Hamilton was thrilled to be considered for a role in the 1939 film adaptation. Hamilton called her agent to enquire which character the producers wanted her to play, and her amanuensis famously said, “The witch — who else?”

Photograph Courtesy: Everett Collection

Hamilton, a single mother, fought MGM for an agreed upon amount of guaranteed work time. Three days before filming began, the studio agreed to a v-week deal. In the end, Hamilton was on set for three months, just many of her scenes were cut for being as well scary for audiences.

Sure, Dorothy Gale doesn’t need prosthetics or aluminum makeup, but that doesn’t mean Judy Garland wasn’t put through the costume department wringer. Although she was young at the time, the sixteen-year-sometime Garland had to wearable a corset-like device so she looked more than like a preadolescent child.

Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

Manager Richard Thorpe suggested Garland habiliment a blonde wig and loads of “infant-doll” makeup (every bit any preadolescent girl would…?). Luckily, that vision of the character inverse. Subsequently MGM fired Thorpe, the intermediate director George Cukor nixed the heavy makeup and wig. Instead, he told Garland to be herself. Smart move.

The “Skywriting” Scene Employed Some Great Moving picture Magic

The
Sorcerer of Oz
employs a lot of great film tricks, and some of the most unique were used in the skywriting scene. In it, the Wicked Witch (Margaret Hamilton) flies above the Emerald City, leaving the phrase “Surrender Dorothy” in her wake in black fume.

Photo Courtesy: MGM/IMDb

Using a hypodermic needle, the special furnishings team spread black ink across the lesser of a glass tank that was filled with a thick, tinted liquid (some speculate milk). They wrote the phrase in reverse and filmed the scene from below. Initially, the skywriting ended with the ominous “Or Die — Due west W West.”

The “Snow” in the Poppy Field Was Actually Dangerous

One of the Wicked Witch’s last-ditch efforts to impede Dorothy’s quest to run into the Wonderful Wizard of Oz involves a poppy field and some magical sleep-inducing snow. While many like to joke that the poppies and their drowsiness are the effect of opium (a component of poppies), the scene has a much more blatant toxic connexion than that.

Photo Courtesy: MGM Studios/Courtesy of Getty Images

All that magical snow? Information technology’s really 100% industrial-grade chrysotile asbestos. Fifty-fifty though the health risks associated with the textile were known at the time, it was nevertheless Hollywood’s preferred choice for simulated snow. Our advice to Dorothy? Don’t catch whatever snowflakes on your tongue.

Scarecrow’s Makeup Stuck Effectually for Awhile

In the finish, Ray Bolger (Scarecrow) was probably grateful for Buddy Ebsen (the original Tin Man’s) willingness to trade parts with him for more reasons than one. The Tin can Man’s aluminum makeup caused a huge amount of problems for Ebsen, who was replaced past Jack Haley.

Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

Although Bolger’s makeup experience was amend than Ebsen’due south, he yet had some issues. The Scarecrow’southward makeup consisted of a rubber prosthetic, complete with a woven pattern that mimicked the look of burlap. Later on the film wrapped, the prosthetic left patterns on Bolger’s face up that took more than a year to fade.

Margaret Hamilton Was Burned On Set

In a flare-up of flames and red smoke, the Wicked Witch (Margaret Hamilton) vanishes from Munchkinland. Although the scene is terrifying for viewers, it may take instilled more fright for Hamilton. On the first take, the smoke rose from a hidden trapdoor as well early.

Photo Courtesy: MGM

For the second have, Hamilton stood on the trapdoor as planned, but her cape snagged on the platform when the fire flared upwardly. Her copper-containing makeup heated upwardly instantly, causing 2d- and tertiary-degree burns on her easily and face. To make matters worse, the coiffure tried to remedy her burns with (an even more painful) acetone solvent.

The Flying Monkeys Became Falling Monkeys

The Wicked Witch’southward legion of flying monkeys — or Winged Monkeys as they’re called in the source material — have certainly been a source of terror for generations. Nearly as scary every bit the Witch herself, these henchmen soar onto the scene to kidnap Dorothy and Toto — thanks to the magic of piano wires.

Photograph Courtesy: Everett Collection

However, the aerial stunt went awry when several of the pianoforte wires snapped, sending actors plummeting a few feet to the soundstage floor. To create such a vast troupe of monkeys (and cut down on human marionettes), filmmakers made miniature rubber monkeys to assist populate the sky.

“Over the Rainbow” Was Nigh on the Cutting Room Floor

To no one’s surprise, the American Film Institute ranked “Over the Rainbow” #1 on a list of 100 Greatest Songs in American Films. But what may surprise y’all? The (arguably) most iconic song of Judy Garland’s career was nearly cut from the picture.

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Studio execs at MGM thought the song made the Kansas scenes too long. Moreover, filmmakers were concerned that children wouldn’t understand the song’s significant. Luckily, this unfounded business concern melted like lemon drops. Unfortunately, Garland’due south tearful reprise of the vocal was left on the cutting room floor.

The Tin Human being Costume Didn’t Allow Jack Haley to Rest Easy

Although Bert Lahr had to schlep around in a 90-pound lion costume, Jack Haley didn’t have it like shooting fish in a barrel either. From the lingering concerns almost the aluminum paste-based makeup on his face and easily to the minimal flexibility of the “tin” torso and arms, Haley faced some challenges.

Photograph Courtesy: Everett Drove

Reportedly, his costume was and then strong that he had to lean against a board to residual properly. Many years later, actor Anthony Daniels, known for playing the protocol droid C-3PO in the
Star Wars
films, had the same issue with his rigid costume. It seems fifty-fifty fantasy and sci-fi can’t help folks escape all their problems.

The Original Tin Man Was Rushed to the Hospital

Initially, Buddy Ebsen was bandage every bit the Scarecrow, merely traded parts with Ray Bolger. All the same, Ebsen’s new character, the Tin Man, acquired him a slew of problems. Namely, the character’s silver makeup contained a harmful aluminum dust that coated Ebsen’s lungs.

Photo Courtesy: John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

To make matters worse, Ebsen had an allergic reaction, and, unable to breathe, he was rushed to the hospital. MGM recast the part with Jack Haley (and changed upward the makeup), but didn’t explain why Ebsen “dropped out.” Although Ebsen didn’t appear in the final moving-picture show, his vocals can exist heard in “We’re Off to Run across the Wizard.”

A Stocking & Some Miniatures Gave United states the Tornado

The tornado that strikes the Gale homestead is total of applied special effects that really agree up. The funnel itself was actually a 35-foot long stocking fabricated of muslin. The special effects team spun it around miniatures that resembled the farms and fields of Kansas. Against the painted backdrop, the tornado looks menacing.

Photo Courtesy: IMDB

The Gale house, which falls from the sky and into Oz, is merely a miniature house that was dropped onto a sky painting. Filmmakers then reversed the footage to make information technology look similar the house was falling out of the clouds.

Hollywood Didn’t Pay Up And so Either

Pay inequality has always been an event in Hollywood. For example, Adriana Caselotti, voice of the titular character in Walt Disney’s
Snowfall White and the Seven Dwarfs
(1937), made $970 for her functioning, though the moving picture went on to make roughly $8 meg.

Photograph Courtesy: Everett Drove

According to the Los Angeles Times, Judy Garland’south pay was meliorate than Caselotti’s — playing Dorothy earned her $500 a calendar week — but it still didn’t reflect the film’s success. Even more discouraging, the folks who portrayed the citizens of Munchkinland were paid a mere $50 per week. (Meanwhile, Terry the dog earned $125 per calendar week as Toto. A real yikes.)

Bert Lahr’s Lion Costume Was Taxing

Originally, MGM thought it might bandage its mascot — the actual king of beasts used in the studio’southward title card — as the cowardly graphic symbol. Fortunately, for the safety of the actors and the animal, the filmmakers decided to cast actor Bert Lahr as the anthropomorphic character instead.

Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

To brand a convincing creature, the costume department fashioned Lahr a 90-pound outfit made from existent king of beasts peel. Still, the arc lights used on set made things a steamy 100 degrees during filming, which meant Lahr did a lot of sweating unrelated to his character’s nerves. Each night, two stagehands dried the costume for the next solar day.

The Initial Box Office Returns Were Uneven

The film started shooting in October of 1938 just didn’t wrap until March of 1939, racking upwards an unheard of $2,777,000 in costs. That’south about $50 million adjusted for aggrandizement. Upon its initial release, the pic only earned $three million at the box role — about $51.viii million by today’due south standards.

Photograph Courtesy: Everett Collection

Although that seems impressive for a Depression-era picture show, think that Disney made $eight million with
Snowfall White and the Seven Dwarfs
(1937).
The Wizard of Oz‘s small-scale success in the U.S. barely covered product and film rights’ costs — MGM paid $75,000 to the publisher for those — only success overseas fortunately bolstered the picture show’s returns.

The Dark Side of Oz in a Time Before “Me Likewise”

Judy Garland was simply xvi years onetime when she was cast as Dorothy. Insecure and lonesome, she became addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates, which were frequently given to immature actors to help them sleep after studios shot them up with adrenaline so they could work long hours.

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

The spotlight — and her dissentious contract with MGM — didn’t assist, leading to lifelong struggles with an eating disorder and alcoholism. According to a writer for Limited, “[Garland] was molested by older men, including studio chiefs [and head Louis B. Mayer], who considered her little more than their ‘belongings.’” Moreover, MGM forced Garland to stick to a wildly unhealthy diet of cigarettes, coffee and chicken soup.

The Voice of Snowfall White Had a Cameo

A few years before
The Wizard of Oz
debuted, Walt Disney’southward characteristic-length blithe film
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
(1937) became a smash-hit. Not only did the film revolutionize the blitheness industry, information technology besides reinvigorated the fantasy genre.

Photo Courtesy: Everett Drove

Disney wanted to follow up
Snow White
— then the most successful film of all fourth dimension — with an adaptation of
The Wizard of Oz, just MGM endemic the rights. By happenstance, Adriana Caselotti, who voiced Snow White, had an uncredited role in
Oz. During the Tin can Man’southward “If I Only Had a Centre,” Caselotti speaks her sole line, “Wherefore art g Romeo?”

The Ruby Slippers Are Props & Treasured Artifacts

Keeping in line with the volume, Dorothy’s iconic footwear was originally argent, but screenwriter Noel Langley felt the red color would actually pop in glorious Technicolor. Designed by MGM’s principal costume designer Gilbert Adrian, the shoes are each covered in nearly 2,300 sequins.

Photograph Courtesy: Larry Marano/FilmMagic/Getty Images

One of the remaining pairs is on view in the Smithsonian Institution’southward National Museum of American History. Since the display is so heavily trafficked, the museum has replaced the carpet at that place several times. Another pair were stolen from Minnesota’south Judy Garland Museum in 2005, just the FBI recovered the slippers for the institution in 2018.

Just Ane Sequence Was Filmed “On Location”

The Wizard of Oz
is your archetype adventure story, and Dorothy’s quest leads her from a Kansas farm to some other world — complete with corn fields, poppy-filled meadows and forests. Still, despite all these breathtaking locations, about all the scenes were shot on a soundstage.

Photo Courtesy: IMDB

Every bit was customary at the time, immense, detailed backdrops were painted past studio artists, making it possible for filmmakers to ship audiences to far abroad places without filming on location. In fact, the only location footage in the motion-picture show is the opening title sequence — those clouds are 100% the existent bargain.

A Second Toto Was Brought In

Toto, played primarily past Terry, is one of the about beloved dogs in flick history. Terry was famously not a huge fan of special effects and can often exist seen running out of a shot when something loud or alarming happens — like when the Tin Man spouts out all of that steam.

Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

After one of the Witch’s guards accidentally stepped on her, Terry was on bedrest for two weeks. Filmmakers went through two doubles to find i that resembled the original canine actor more than closely.

Fun fact: Judy Garland was so fond of Terry that she wanted to adopt the dog.

Margaret Hamilton “Mourns the Wicked” Witch

In improver to beingness a huge fan of the Oz books, Margaret Hamilton also believed her character was more than just your run-of-the-manufactory evil villain. More than than 35 years after the motion picture debuted, Hamilton, donning her Witch’s costume to show kids it was make-believe, appeared on
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, where Fred Rogers interviewed her nigh the grapheme.

Photograph Courtesy: Everett Collection

According to Hamilton, the then-called Wicked Witch relished everything she did, but she was also a sad, lonely figure. In curt, things never went well for the frustrated Witch. Oddly enough, the Broadway musical
Wicked
too takes this approach to the Witch’due south character.

The “Horse of a Different Color” Was Made Possible Cheers to a Food Production

In 1939, audiences were merely equally amazed as Dorothy, Scarecrow, Can Homo and the Cowardly Lion when the horse in Emerald Urban center took on a rainbow of colors. This “horse of a unlike color” was made possible thanks to a surprising food item…

Photograph Courtesy: MGM/IMDB

Jell-O crystals were used to color the horses, which meant filmmakers had to move quickly — the animals were eager to lick up the sugariness care for. But the colorful steed isn’t the only interesting component in this fan-favorite scene. The horse-drawn carriage was in one case owned past President Abraham Lincoln and now resides at the Judy Garland Museum.

The Makeup Department Hired Extra Easily

From the citizens of Munchkinland and Emerald Metropolis to the Witch’s flying monkeys, and so many actors had to undergo a makeup transformation in order to give life to this fantasy film. To keep up with the daily demands, MGM chosen upon workers from the studio mailroom and courier service to manage makeup stations.

Photograph Courtesy: Everett Drove

Since virtually of the Ozian ensemble required prosthetics, makeup artists — and “makeshift” artists — formed a kind of costuming assembly line. Most actors had to arrive before v:00 in the morn — half-dozen days a week! — to brainstorm the intensive process.

Memorable (& Often Misquoted) Lines Fill the Film

The flick is clogged of iconic, memorable songs, and it has the great fortune of existence responsible for some of the well-nigh quoted lines in movie history likewise. In 2007, Premiere compiled a listing of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” and placed a whopping 3 of the motion picture’s lines on the list.

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“Pay no attending to that homo behind the curtain” was voted #24, while “There’s no place like abode” nabbed the 11th spot. Finally, the frequently misquoted “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” landed in the 62nd spot.

The Witch’s Fire Employed Some Technical Wizardry (& Juice)

Conspicuously, the technical wizardry — or witchcraft — in the movie is incredible. Like the “equus caballus of a different color” sequence, another iconic, special effects-heavy scene harnessed the power of everyday household items to pull off fun tricks.

Photo Courtesy: Everett Drove

Shortly after Dorothy arrives in Munchkinland, the Wicked Witch tries to snatch the cerise slippers from the immature daughter’southward feet. However, fire strikes the Witch’south hands, repelling her. This “fire” is actually apple juice spouting from the slippers in a sped-up prune to make it look more than flame-like.

Technicolor Required Some Ingenuity in the Props Department

Experimenting with Technicolor was part fun and office problem-solving for filmmakers. In gild to properly capture scenes with the Technicolor photographic camera, the soundstage needed to be lit with arc lights, which often heated the set up to a toasty 100 degrees.

Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

After the lights were gear up, the experts experimented with what would look best on film, peculiarly in colorized form. For instance, the white part of Dorothy’s wearing apparel is actually pink — simply because it filmed better. And the oil the Tin Man is so excited about? It’due south actually chocolate syrup.

The Wicked Witch of the East Makes More Than One Appearance

Role of the Wicked Witch of the W’southward beef with Dorothy is that the young girl dropped a firm on her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, who was the brusque-lived owner of the ruby slippers. Although Margaret Hamilton already plays both the Wicked Witch of the West and her Kansas counterpart Almira Gulch, she also plays the Wicked Witch of the East — if only briefly.

Photo Courtesy: Everett Drove

During the tornado sequence, an addled Dorothy looks out her bedroom window and watches Gulch transform into a witch, her shoes shimmering. For fans, this glint indicates the witch outside the window is wearing the ruddy slippers. The restored version of the film makes that shimmer even more noticeable.

The Film’south Running Time Was Cut Down Several Times

The offset cut of the picture show clocked in at a running fourth dimension of 120 minutes. Although that seems like cipher by today’s Curiosity movie standards, producer Mervyn LeRoy felt information technology was long and unwieldy and wanted to chop off 20 minutes.

Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

Subsequently cutting the famed “Jitterbug” number and an extended Scarecrow trip the light fantastic toe sequence, the film was 112 minutes long. LeRoy held a second preview screening, and, afterwards, nixed Dorothy’s “Over the Rainbow” reprise, an Emerald Urban center reprise of “Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead,” a scene where the Tin Homo becomes a homo beehive (Yikes!) and a few Kansas sequences.

Then Much for a “Wicked” Witch

Filmmakers accounted Margaret Hamilton’southward Wicked Witch of the Westward functioning also frightening for audiences and cut or trimmed many of her scenes. Only not everyone idea her performance was terrifying — namely Judy Garland, who played the Wicked Witch’south nemesis, Dorothy Gale.

Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

Off-screen, the moving-picture show’s starring foes were actually friends. 1 story that emerged from the set described Garland excitedly showing off a dress to Hamilton, declaring she was going to wear it for her graduation. Unfortunately, MGM’s Louis B. Mayer sent Garland on a press bout the day of her graduation. Upset, Hamilton phoned Mayer and chewed him out.

Giving Credit to Technicolor

In the opening credits, the text reads “Photographed in Technicolor,” as opposed to the more apt “Colour Sequences past Technicolor.” The phrasing of the credits makes it seem as though the entire flick was shot in color. Was this washed deliberately, or was it a pocket-size syntactical faux pas?

Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

It’s widely believed this was a bit of a stunt washed to enhance the surprise of the picture show turning into full three-strip Technicolor when Dorothy arrives in Oz. Posters made at the time of the pic’due south debut made no mention of sepia tint (or “blackness-and-white”), adding credence to this theory.

One of History’s Well-nigh-Watched Films

Although
The Wizard of Oz
proved popular in theaters, some other moving-picture show released the same year, also directed past Victor Fleming, actually topped the box role. (Yous may have heard of that little motion-picture show — it’s called
Gone with the Wind.) However, MGM’s musical fantasy may accept more staying power than other films of the era, thanks in part to re-releases.

Photograph Courtesy: Everett Collection

The flick was kickoff circulate on tv set on November 3, 1956, and garnered an impressive 44 1000000 viewers. It’s believed that
The Wizard of Oz
is 1 of the 10 most-watched characteristic-length movies in film history, largely due to the number of annual tv screenings, theater viewings and various format re-releases.


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