10 Pretty Strange and Dark Facts About The Wizard of Oz

Some folks don’t want to hear that one of their favorite childhood movies has anything but positive facts to be revealed, but there are those times when certain rumors turn out to be true and are less than flattering when it comes to the actors and those that worked on the movie. The downside of learning these facts is that some people might take them to heart and let them ruin their image of the movie and even the actors at times. But otherwise, it’s the knowledge that things weren’t always one hundred percent kosher on a set that a lot of people felt was possibly one of the best movies ever made and even likely to be a fun time for all those involved. Those that have read up on the facts have been privy to quite a few things that happened during The Wizard of Oz both on and off the set, but some people are still willing to state that things couldn’t have been as bad as they’ve been made out to be since it’s the responsibility of the studio and the director take care of their actors as much as possible and ensure that they’re not harmed in any way.

Here are a few dark and somewhat disturbing things that happened during The Wizard of Oz.

10. The original Tin Man, Buddy Ebsen, nearly died due to aluminum powder that entered his lungs

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night thinking that you’re going to die and being told later on it’s due to the makeup you had to wear while on set. Then imagine that your bosses told you to get back to work instead of caring about your condition. These are the kind of facts that make it obvious that Hollywood runs on money and not on the need to take care of its people.

9. The ‘snow’ that was used in the poppy fields was asbestos

It’s simply amazing to hear about certain practices that were used back in the day that would horrify people today. Once asbestos was linked to serious health problems people avoided it like the plague, but at one time it was considered as just another prop.

8. Since the munchkins were refugees fleeing Nazi Germany their lines had to be dubbed

Apparently it wouldn’t have gone over too well if their real voices had been used considering that people wanted them to sound as American as possible given that this was an American movie.

7. The munchkins were paid less than the dog

It sounds as though the munchkins were only paid $50 for a six-day workweek while Toto was paid well over $100 for the same amount of time. Imagine being paid less than a dog, that might almost be insulting enough to make it less than worth it.

6. The Cowardly Lion’s costume was made from real lion skin

Animal rights activists would have had a heyday with this type of fact had anything like this been done today, but it does sound as though the suit was quite stuffy and weighed around 100 lbs., so it’s likely that the actor needed to rest every so often in order to avoid passing out.

5. The original Toto was stepped on at one point

While it’s hard to say who stepped on the poor pooch it is evident that another dog was brought in to fill the role until the star could heal up and make his return.

4. Judy Garland had to wear a tight corset to make her look younger

There were plenty of things that happened with Garland during her career that were suspect, but being made to look younger was perhaps one of the most common as her popularity as a child star was kept for as long as possible.

3. The Wicked Witch wore copper-based makeup that was dangerous to ingest

She had to subsist on mostly liquids during filming since anything touching her fingers could have possibly forced her to ingest the makeup that she used and possibly made her violently ill in the process.

2. Ray Bolger’s face was permanently scarred from his Scarecrow prosthetics

Obviously the makeup practices back in the day weren’t perfect and the director and studio heads didn’t much care so long as the film was shot on time and with the budget in mind. That’s a tough break for anyone that incurs any real damage on the set though.

1. While filming a scene the director actually took Judy Garland aside and slapped her

During the slapping scene with the Cowardly Lion, it sounds like Judy couldn’t stop giggling, so the director took the initiative and pulled her aside, slapping her to get her in the right frame of mind. Obviously, if someone tried that in this day and age there would likely be an assault charge filed.

There’s usually a darker side to a lot of projects that people don’t want to see.


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