“The Wizard of Oz” remains to be charming viewers practically 80 years because it first premiered in theaters. In reality, in line with a latest analysis carried out worldwide, the traditional musical has had essentially the most influence in audiences than another Hollywood masterpiece, together with 1960’s “Psycho” and 1977’s “Star Wars.”

Historians and collectors Jay Scarfone and William Stillman aren’t stunned by the findings. They’ve written a number of books on “The Wizard of Oz” and earlier this 12 months 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 Ozexperts spoke with Fox Information about among the stunning details they discovered as they researched for his or her new e-book:

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple was the folks’s alternative

Whereas Judy Garland was the perfect alternative for the position of Dorothy Gale, it was youngster star Shirley Temple who received the favored vote by followers of the unique 1900 e-book. “Judy Garland was not the favored alternative amongst e-book followers,” mentioned Scarfone. “She was 15 years previous, which was thought of too previous for the position. She was vivacious and excessive. The Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ has a really completely different persona from what’s seen within the movie. However there was by no means a critical contender aside from Judy Garland.”

However Judy Garland had some competitors

When Garland was solid within the “The Wizard of Oz,” MGM put beneath 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 really did some assessments 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 refined method of threatening [their stars] if anybody’s head bought too huge.”

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 principle director of “The Wizard of Oz,” to Garland’s delight, who had a crush on him. Nevertheless, 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 alternative for such a image,” added Stillman.

The misplaced tune

Whereas “Over the Rainbow” is called one among Garland’s most iconic hits, the tune wasn’t particularly written together with her in thoughts. And it wasn’t precisely an authentic. The emotional ballad was impressed by a 1915 kids’s operetta titled “Over the Rainbow.” It turned out the tune 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 throughout the enhancing course of,” defined Scarfone.

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“That was extra within the fashion 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 totally completely 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 crew finally had Garland sing “Over the Rainbow” — a sensible alternative that contributed to the movie’s lasting success.

The burden loss battle

Although Garland was simply 15 years previous when she took on the position of Dorothy, the studio was decided to have their teen star shed the surplus child fats. “They strongly steered that she dieted, which was hit and miss,” mentioned Scarfone. “In addition they assigned her a private coach, who was additionally her digicam double for ‘Oz’ named Barbara ‘Bobbie’ Koshay. That particular person additionally served as an after-hours spy. MGM was infamous for assigning folks to shadow their greatest stars as a result of that they had 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 lady was about 30.”

Barbiturates had been allegedly prescribed

A delusion has lengthy existed that Garland was prescribed medicine 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 crew to remodel Garland into Dorothy from the consolation of dwelling to make use of each second they had been allowed to movie. Nevertheless, Scarfone and Stillman imagine Garland was given barbiturates throughout filming. “It’s believed she was prescribed Dexedrine, specifically,” claimed Scarfone.

“We had been advised this by a lady who was an additional on Emerald Metropolis. She was a cousin of the movie’s producer. She mentioned, ‘Effectively, it was a method of giving her additional power to assist her drop pounds.’” Scarfone added Garland was additionally allegedly given sleeping tablets to assist her dose off from the Dexedrine at evening. “At the moment, these medicine had been new to {the marketplace},” he mentioned. “There was little or no details about their unintended 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 approach to give a facelift was to attach 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 digicam, however she was really 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 nicely. “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 concerning the on-set suicide of a Munchkin – or a disgruntled worker – which was inadvertently captured by the cameras and ended up on the large display. Nevertheless, Scarfone and Stillman insisted the reality is way much less horrifying and no precise hangings occurred throughout the making of “The Wizard of Oz.” “Within the authentic e-book, the writer talks about birds of uncommon and strange plumage that populated the countryside,” defined Scarfone. “So MGM leased various unique birds from the Los Angeles Zoo.

“Amongst them had been cranes, which you’ll be able to see within the movie because the characters dance out of the yellow brick street and exit the scene. As they’re passing by, I believe [the actors] could have startled one of many cranes. So it unfold its wings open and flaps them briefly. And that’s the motion you see… In case you look intently, you’ll be able to 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 imagined to be an important magnificence

The Depraved Witch of the West was meant 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 solid because the movie’s villain, finally handed on the chance after filmmakers determined the character wanted to look extra like a conventional green-faced witch, warts and all. The position was then recast with character actress Margaret Hamilton. “You may hear within the movie among the witch’s dialogue that was really not written for Margaret Hamilton, however for Gale,” mentioned Scarfone. “Like when the witch is melting and says, ‘Who would have thought little woman like you would 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, bathrooms 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 resulting from her efficiency not being an authentic 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 together 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 among the actors who performed the Munchkins within the traditional musical — a declare they denied through the years. “They’d make Judy’s life depressing on set by placing her arms beneath her costume,” wrote the producer and enterprise supervisor, who died in 2005. “The lads 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 bought smashed each evening 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 liked to get amusing,” mentioned Stillman. “She liked to inform a narrative. She was a humorous particular person.  And we by no means got here throughout something to instantly recommend that there was nothing apart from mutual respect between Garland and the little folks.” Stiltman shared it will have been practically unattainable for a mishap to occurred as a result of Garland was accompanied by her mom. “I don’t assume a variety of the little males would have had the audacity to pinch her rear or put their arms up her costume,” he mentioned. “It’s past comprehension.”

The Munchkins loved get together 

Stillman added a lot of the little folks weren’t skilled actors and had been decided to be on their greatest habits in Hollywood. Nonetheless, that didn’t cease them from having time as soon as they accomplished filming for the day. “There was some partying and consuming 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 bought to any suggestion that there was something happening got here from a gentleman we had identified 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 received’t let me.’ Effectively, 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 varsity 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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