… that MGM wanted a big name star for the movie and tried very hard to get Shirley Temple for the part and eventually "settled" for Judy Garland.
… that Director Victor Fleming did not direct ALL of The Wizard of Oz. In the last few weeks of shooting, he was pulled off the movie to direct Gone with the Wind. King Vidor was brought in to finish up and it was he who directed all of the entire opening black and white segment.
... The sliver slippers that Dorothy wore in the book were changed to ruby slippers to take advantage of the vibrant Technicolor of the movie. These slippers have become a part of American history. And we know this because you will find a pair of them in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Watch as the slippers are carefully placed in their case for the reopening of the exhibit
... The story of the slippers has taken on a life of its own. It is believed that seven pairs were made for the movie. Besides the pair on permanent display at the Smithsonian (which are not a matching pair) four other pairs are owned by privates parties including one which belongs to actress and movie memorabilia collector Debbie Reynolds. The stories of the slippers are so interesting (including a pair stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota which have never been recovered) that a whole book has been written about them called The Ruby Slippers of Oz. The last time a pair of the slippers were sold at auction the price they fetched was $666,000. As part of the 70th anniversary festivities famous shoe designers were invited to design spectacular ruby red shoes which would become part of a touring exhibition and then auctioned off for charity. Here are some of the gorgeous designs. Wow.
... The Wizard of Oz gave us one of the most famous if not the most famous little dog in movie history. Toto was a female Cairn Terrier named Terry. She had many other roles and even has her own Imdb page.
... Did you know that one of the Munchkins committed suicide and you can see his body hanging from a tree at the end of the Tin Woodsman sequence? FALSE. We'll leave it to our favorite rumor patrol website snopes.com to prove to you that although this ghastly story refuses to go away it is not true.
... There's also plenty of untrue stories about what the witch's guards the Winkies are really chanting. For the record here's what they say: O-Ee-Yah- Eoh-Ah.
... In 1990 The Wizard of Oz was honored on a United States Postage stamp.
... A scene that did not make it into the completed film was the Jitterbug song. The Wicked Witch sends the mosquito like bug to bite Dorothy and her friends and send them into a dancing frenzy. In this video you can hear the song and see clips of the deleted scene.
... Buddy Ebsen was originally cast in the role of the Tin Man but suffered a severe allergic reaction to the aluminum dust in the silver makeup used as part of the costume. He was rushed to the hospital when his lungs failed and replaced by Jack Haley in the role. It's his voice that can be heard in the song We're Off to See the Wizard.
... Kindly Mr. Rodgers heard that children were being very frightened by the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of the Oz so he invited that lovely lady Margaret Hamilton to come on his show and talk about the role and try on her costume so the children could see that it was only a character in a movie.
... A wonderful treat for everyone who loves The Wizard of Oz: Harold Arlen the composer of the movie's music took home movies on the set. These are treasured glimpses of our beloved characters.
... In the 1930's a man called Leo Singer put together a group of little people to perform in vaudeville shows. The group was called the Singer Midgets. MGM contracted with Singer to use his diminutive performers to fill the roles of 124 Munchkins. When more people were needed during production 12 children were hired to fill in.
... In 2007 the seven surviving Munchkins were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Wizard of Oz On Location
Grauman's/Mann's Chinese Theater Footprints
Judy Garland is just one of the many legendary celebrities to leave hand and footprints outside the famous Grauman's (now Mann's) Chinese Theater.
Judy Garland Prints Mann's Chinese Theater
6925 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA SEE MAP
Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
In the early 1960's, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce developed the idea of the "Hollywood Walk of Fame." The sidewalks of the most famous streets in the heart of Hollywood were lined with "stars" recognizing celebrities' life-long contributions to the entertainment industry. Receiving a star is still to this day considered a huge honor. Here's where you can find Judy Garland's stars:
Judy Garland Walk of Fame Star (Motion Pictures)
1715 Vine St.
Judy Garland Walk of Fame Star (Recording)
6764 Hollywood Blvd.
Ray Bolger Walk of Fame Star (Motion Pictures)
6788 Hollywood Blvd.
Ray Bolger Walk of Fame Star (Television)
6834 Hollywood Blvd.