“The Wizard of Oz” continues to be fascinating viewers almost 80 years because it first premiered in theaters. In actual fact, in accordance with a latest analysis carried out worldwide, the traditional musical has had essentially the most influence in audiences than every other Hollywood masterpiece, together with 1960’s “Psycho” and 1977’s “Star Wars.”

Historians and collectors Jay Scarfone and William Stillman aren’t shocked by the findings. They’ve written a number of books on “The Wizard of Oz” and earlier this yr they launched “The Highway to Oz,” which options interviews with a number of of these concerned with the manufacturing of the 1939 movie and stunning anecdotes from private archives.

The Ouncesexperts spoke with Fox Information about a few of the stunning details they discovered as they researched for his or her new ebook:

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple was the folks’s selection

Whereas Judy Garland was the perfect selection for the function of Dorothy Gale, it was little one star Shirley Temple who gained the favored vote by followers of the unique 1900 ebook. “Judy Garland was not the favored selection amongst ebook followers,” mentioned Scarfone. “She was 15 years previous, which was thought of too previous for the function. She was vivacious and excessive. The Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ has a really totally different character from what’s seen within the movie. However there was by no means a severe contender aside from Judy Garland.”

However Judy Garland had some competitors

When Garland was forged within the “The Wizard of Oz,” MGM put below contract a 12-year-old newcomer named Janice Chambers who possessed highly effective pipes like Garland and will dance. “The studio was grooming her… and he or she truly did some exams in costume with the opposite actors from ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” mentioned Stillman. “This was a time when MGM was very controlling… That they had different B-lists actors that vaguely resembled their A-list actors and they’d use them as a delicate approach of threatening [their stars] if anybody’s head received too large.”

Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz."

Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz.”

The unique director was ‘Gone with the Wind’

Victor Fleming served as the primary director of “The Wizard of Oz,” to Garland’s delight, who had a crush on him. Nonetheless, he would finally depart the manufacturing to take over a struggling “Gone with the Wind” which starred his pal Clark Gable. Garland was livid. “It apparently wasn’t secure to say Vivien Leigh’s title round her for a time frame,” chuckled Scarfone. ”However he was an odd selection for this kind of image,” added Stillman.

The misplaced music

Whereas “Over the Rainbow” is called one among Garland’s most iconic hits, the music wasn’t particularly written along with her in thoughts. And it wasn’t precisely an unique. The emotional ballad was impressed by a 1915 youngsters’s operetta titled “Over the Rainbow.” It turned out the music that was meant for Garland was an upbeat dance quantity titled “The Jitterbug” based mostly on the dance craze on the time. “It was recorded and shot, however then discarded in the course of the enhancing course of,” defined Scarfone.

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“That was extra within the model of Judy Garland… However the press had gotten whiff of it and principally mentioned, ‘You see? We advised you — that is going to be a very totally different ‘Wizard of Oz’ from what we’ve gotten to know.’ One critic even mentioned, ‘Perhaps they’ll change the title to ‘The Wizard of Jazz.’ The manufacturing staff finally had Garland sing “Over the Rainbow” — a clever selection that contributed to the movie’s lasting success.

The load loss battle

Although Garland was simply 15 years previous when she took on the function of Dorothy, the studio was decided to have their teen star shed the surplus child fats. “They strongly recommended that she dieted, which was hit and miss,” mentioned Scarfone. “Additionally they assigned her a private coach, who was additionally her digital camera double for ‘Oz’ named Barbara ‘Bobbie’ Koshay. That individual additionally served as an after-hours spy. MGM was infamous for assigning folks to shadow their largest stars as a result of they’d a clause of their contracts with respect to how they carried out themselves. Judy was 16 by means of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and this girl was about 30.”

Barbiturates had been allegedly prescribed

A fantasy has lengthy existed that Garland was prescribed treatment to assist her work longer hours — a rumor Scarfone and Stillman debunked. They defined that as a juvenile, Garland was solely allowed to work 4 hours a day. The studio even despatched their hair and make-up staff to rework Garland into Dorothy from the consolation of house to make use of each second they had been allowed to movie. Nonetheless, Scarfone and Stillman imagine Garland was given barbiturates throughout filming. “It’s believed she was prescribed Dexedrine, particularly,” claimed Scarfone.

“We had been advised this by a girl who was an additional on Emerald Metropolis. She was a cousin of the movie’s producer. She mentioned, ‘Properly, it was a approach of giving her further vitality to assist her drop a few pounds.’” Scarfone added Garland was additionally allegedly given sleeping tablets to assist her dose off from the Dexedrine at night time. “At the moment, these medication had been new to {the marketplace},” he mentioned. “There was little or no details about their negative effects, not to mention long-term results.”

Billie Burke had a ‘facelift’ for the movie

“Earlier than beauty surgical procedure grew to become so commonplace, a fast and straightforward strategy to give a facelift was to connect these small items of chiffon in entrance of an actress’ ears after which pull them up tight with string,” defined Scarfone. “A wig was then put over to cowl it. The jowls and the sagging neckline can be magically rejuvenated.” Billie Burke, who performed Glinda the Good Witch, endured simply that to look ageless on digital camera, however she was truly 54 years previous.

Glinda the Good Witch was showbiz royalty

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Earlier than Billie Burke charmed audiences as Glinda the Good Witch, she was a reigning Broadway stage star in New York Metropolis who had appeared in quite a few silent movies as properly. “Billie Burke additionally constructed her profession by taking part in these actually zany, motherly characters,” mentioned Stillman. “Previous to ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ she performed Judy Garland’s mom [in 1938’s ‘Everybody Sing’].”

Billie Burke — Getty

The notorious city legend

For many years a grim rumor has circulated in regards to the on-set suicide of a Munchkin – or a disgruntled worker – which was inadvertently captured by the cameras and ended up on the massive display screen. Nonetheless, Scarfone and Stillman insisted the reality is way much less horrifying and no precise hangings occurred in the course of the making of “The Wizard of Oz.” “Within the unique ebook, the creator talks about birds of uncommon and weird plumage that populated the countryside,” defined Scarfone. “So MGM leased quite a few unique birds from the Los Angeles Zoo.

“Amongst them had been cranes, which you’ll see within the movie because the characters dance out of the yellow brick highway and exit the scene. As they’re passing by, I feel [the actors] might have startled one of many cranes. So it unfold its wings open and flaps them briefly. And that’s the motion you see… Should you look intently, you may see that crane strutting across the set.”

Elisabeth Bergner (1898 - 1986) with Eduardo Ciannelli (1887 - 1969) and Gale Sondergaard (1899 - 1985) in a scene from the film "Paris Calling." — Getty

Elisabeth Bergner (1898 – 1986) with Eduardo Ciannelli (1887 – 1969) and Gale Sondergaard (1899 – 1985) in a scene from the movie “Paris Calling.” — Getty

The Depraved Witch was alleged to be an excellent magnificence

The Depraved Witch of the West was supposed to be glamorous, just like the evil queen in Disney’s 1938 animated movie “Snow White,” which was a field workplace sensation. Gale Sondergaard, who was initially forged because the movie’s villain, finally handed on the chance after filmmakers determined the character wanted to look extra like a standard green-faced witch, warts and all. The function was then recast with character actress Margaret Hamilton. “You’ll be able to hear within the movie a few of the witch’s dialogue that was truly not written for Margaret Hamilton, however for Gale,” mentioned Scarfone. “Like when the witch is melting and says, ‘Who would have thought a superb little woman like you can destroy my stunning wickedness?’ Margaret made it work, however that line and so many others weren’t written for her.”

‘The Wizard of Oz’ loved a resurgence

The movie was proven on tv for the very first time in November 1956 and 45 million folks throughout the nation tuned in. “Native water departments had been reporting that as quickly because the film ended, bogs had been flushing and toilet water was working,” mentioned Stillman. “The next February, Judy Garland was virtually nominated for an Emmy Award for her efficiency. That was how far-reaching the printed was. It was shortly retracted as a result of there have been protests attributable to her efficiency not being an unique for the tv medium. However there was that early nomination.”

Lorna Luft as a baby with her mother, Judy Garland and father, Sid Luft on the set of "A Star Is Born."

Lorna Luft as a child along with her mom, Judy Garland and father, Sid Luft on the set of “A Star Is Born.”

Judy Garland molested by Munchkins?

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In a posthumous memoir, Garland’s ex-husband Sid Luft claimed his well-known partner was repeatedly molested by a few of the actors who performed the Munchkins within the traditional musical — a declare they denied over time. “They might make Judy’s life depressing on set by placing her palms below her costume,” wrote the producer and enterprise supervisor, who died in 2005. “The boys had been 40 or extra years previous. They thought they might get away with something as a result of they had been so small.” In a 1967 interview with Jack Paar, Garland herself mentioned, “They had been little drunks… They received smashed each night time they usually picked them up in butterfly nets.”

Scarfone and Stillman are skeptical by the allegations made by Luft as they couldn’t discover any documented proof that supported his claims. “Judy in her later years beloved to get amusing,” mentioned Stillman. “She beloved to inform a narrative. She was a humorous particular person.  And we by no means got here throughout something to immediately counsel that there was nothing apart from mutual respect between Garland and the little folks.” Stiltman shared it might have been almost unimaginable for a mishap to occurred as a result of Garland was accompanied by her mom. “I don’t suppose a number of the little males would have had the audacity to pinch her rear or put their palms up her costume,” he mentioned. “It’s past comprehension.”

The Munchkins loved a superb occasion 

Stillman added a lot of the little folks weren’t skilled actors and had been decided to be on their greatest conduct in Hollywood. Nonetheless, that didn’t cease them from having a superb time as soon as they accomplished filming for the day. “There was some partying and ingesting that occurred,” he mentioned. “However these had been the times when everyone drank and smoke.”

Judy Garland had a date with a Munchkin

“The closest that we received to any suggestion that there was something happening got here from a gentleman we had recognized for a few years earlier than he handed — he portrayed the Munchkin coroner,” mentioned Stillman. “Judy had at all times contended that one of many little males had requested her out and he or she declined. She mentioned, ‘Sorry, however my mom gained’t let me.’ Properly, apparently that occurred. He requested her to dinner. He was younger himself. It was a time when she was questioning whether or not she ought to go to school and he was a school grad. The date did happen, nevertheless it wasn’t a romantic date. It was extra of a pleasant chat.” The actor, Meinhardt Raabe, wrote about his expertise years later. In 1941, Raabe advised The Lock Haven Categorical that the dinner was “the excessive spot” of his life.


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