The Wizard of Oz remains one of the most captivating and enchanting films ever to come out of Hollywood. It was a marvel of technical advancement, craftsmanship and artistry at the time, and it’s rightly still regarded as one of the best movies ever made.
That level of spectacle always comes at a price, though, and in many ways, in fact, the classic feature was a nightmare to make. If you don’t want to break the spell, best look away now – but for everyone else, here are 20 things you may not have known about the journey down the yellow brick road.
20. Victor Fleming slapped Judy Garland during filming
Director Victor Fleming was reported to have been a hard taskmaster on set. And this was perhaps most evident during shooting of the scene where Dorothy attacks the Cowardly Lion. According to producer Pandro S. Berman, Judy Garland couldn’t stop laughing at the time, so Fleming took Garland to one side, slapped her and then told her to get back to work. And this is a 16-year-old girl we’re talking about, remember…
19. The original Tin Man was poisoned on set
The Tin Man you see in the film was played by Jack Haley, but Haley was actually brought in as a last-minute replacement for another actor – Buddy Ebsen. After only nine days of filming, in fact, Ebsen was hospitalized after his lungs failed. The white makeup he had been wearing was coated with noxious aluminum dust, which the unfortunate actor had breathed in to his detriment.