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 and is rightly still regarded as one of the best movies ever made.
That level of spectacle always comes at a price, though, and in fact in many ways 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. This was perhaps most evident when, while shooting the scene when Dorothy slaps the Cowardly Lion, Judy Garland couldn’t stop laughing. According to producer Pandro S. Berman, 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, Ebsen was hospitalized after his lungs failed. The white makeup he had been wearing was coated with aluminum dust, which Ebsen had breathed in.