15 Surprising Facts About The Wizard Of Oz

Posted Jun 25, by Val Liarikos

It’s called “Return to Oz” and not surprisingly was much less successful than the original. The story goes that six months after returning, Dorothy has trouble sleeping and is obsessed with her adventures from Oz. Her aunt and uncle are extremely disturbed because they see their niece as closer to insane than creative.

They take Dorothy to a doctor where she is treated by various techniques, including electric shock therapy, before she almost drowns and wakes up in Oz once again. Oz is in ruins and a war of sorts is going on. Dorothy and a fellow mental patient traverse the lands and meet a host of new characters before setting things right and returning to Kansas.

The movie received mixed reviews, but was generally labeled as more dark and creepy. However, like most strange movies, it has since gained a cult following.


The Cowardly Lion costume, auctioned at 3 million dollars last year, has been preserved for decades in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The original costume had a mask included that was modeled to Bert Lahr’s face (Lahr played the lion). 

Unfortunately, the mask didn’t stand the test of time, and had begun to wear down. Bert Lahr’s son Herbert Lahr volunteered to have a mask molded of his face as replacement, for the closest possible resemblance. The crazy thing is that the mask almost never made it to the place where it is today. 

After filming was done, it was thrown out in the trash and was found by a trash collector. The sad part, many felt, was that it was being sold at all. Several other articles from the movie like the ruby slippers and Tin Man suit have been preserved in museums and never sold. 

At the same auction where it was sold was Bela Lugosi’s cape from the original Dracula, the DeLorean from Back to the Future III, Marilyn Monroe’s wedding ring from her marriage to Joe DiMaggio, and a painting of Marilyn by Earl Moran. 


Turns out Dorothy's faithful companion in the Wizard of Oz also had some pretty good incentives to stick with her. When they filmed the 1939 movie, Terry, a Cairn Terrier was cast as the tiny companion to play against Judy Garland. For being next to her, the dog was paid $125 per week. The actors who played the Munchkins were paid $100 per week.

To give you some context, in 2012 Dollars, the little dog would've been paid about $2,000 per week, while Munchkins were paid about $1,600 per week. Terry actually suffered an injury on the set. One of the Winkie guards stepped on it, and had to be replaced for a bit. She became really popular after the film, and was officially renamed Toto by its owner. Terry, or Toto, appeared in 13 different films, and lived to be either 10 or 11 years old.


Well... kinda. Frank Oz voices both characters (No he doesn’t voice Wizard of Oz). Frank Oz was born on May 25, 1944 at Hereford, England. Frank Oz works as a puppeteer and motion picture director. He starred in voices from the muppets, and voiced Yoda from Star Wars.

Oz was child of puppeteer parents who used puppets to help Frank learn new things. Oz started starring his own puppet shows at the age of 12, and accomplished High School amateur puppeteer. Oz studied Journalism at Oakland City College and has had a life filled with success.


The actor who played the Powerful Oz in the movie played various other characters in the film, including the role for Professor Marvel, who lives in Kansas and appears in the beginning scenes of the film.

The costumes for the characters changed a lot, including those of Professor Marvel. At some point, they decided that they needed an old and shabby looking jacket for the professor. 

The producers went to a second-hand clothing store on Main Street and bought an entire rack of coats. The wardrobe manager and the director decided on one they liked. When they looked inside the coat, they noticed that it said "L. Frank Baum" the name of the author of the Wizard of Oz book!


\"\" The voice of Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was also in The Wizard of Oz!

Remarkably, she wasn’t credited in either movie! After performing as the lead in Snow White, Adriana Caselotti was barred from lending her voice talents ever again; Disney didn’t want to spoil the image of Snow White by having her voice appear in anything else. She even wasn’t allowed to be on the radio! You’d think that starring in an Academy Award winning film would be a huge break for an actress, but Disney instead destroyed her career by keeping her out of work with her contract, and not even crediting her for her work! We actually have talked about this before here on OMG Facts. If that wasn\'t bad enough, she made less than $1000 for Snow White.

If you look at her IMDB page you’ll notice that she didn’t get a chance to have a lot of work, and almost everything she did was uncredited, including uncredited appearances in The Wizard of Oz (she had one line and was paid $100) and It’s a Wonderful Life. The majority of Caselotti’s career was spent working for Disney, making public appearances as Snow White, complete with an official Snow White costume.

Here\'s a video of Caselotti when she was much older. She\'s still able to sing all the songs!

Another fun fact: Caselotti reportedly had a fling with the actor who voiced Grumpy. Learn more about her on her obituary.

\"\" None of the munchkins committed suicide on the set Wizard of Oz.

You’ve probably heard this one a bunch of times. Supposedly one of the little people hired to portray a munchkin for the film was feeling heartbroken and decided to hang himself on the set. You’re supposed to be able to see him as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man skip down the yellow brick road.

However, one of the last surviving munchkins, Mickey Carroll, was asked about this in the 1990s and he insisted that the rumor was untrue. There were only 124 munchkins in total, and they worked together for 2 months, so he said he would certainly have heard about this. Also, according to Snopes, the scene in question was shot before the munchkin scene, and none of the munchkins were on the set yet.

The mysterious object? It was a BIRD. MGM had a bunch of exotic birds running around the set to make the background look more interesting. Some people saw something that appeared to be hanging in the background and they let their imaginations get carried away.

While there were no suicides, according to Judy Garland, the munchkins did get involved in all sorts of drunken debauchery backstage.

\"\" The Wizard of Oz gets its math wrong.

The poor Scarecrow went all the way to Emerald City to see the Wizard for a brain. In lieu of a brain, the Wizard gives the Scarecrow an honorary degree. The Scarecrow then immediately misquotes the Pythagorean theorem. *facepalm*

We can only assume that the Scarecrow meant “the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the remaining sides”. To be fair, it’s a common mistake. The same thing has happened to Homer Simpson. Unknown still, is whether the mistake was intentional as a joke at the Scarecrow’s expense, or if the Wizard of Oz’s writers really just didn\'t know their geometry.


The Horse of A Different Color is a horse that changes colors in the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. Legend has it that creators of the movie had trouble deciding how best to color the horses without violating animal rights laws by using paint.
They devised the ingenious method of covering six different white horses in Jell-O! In fact, if you watch closely you can see the driver of the horse trying furiously to stop the horse from licking itself because of the Jell-O!
The song "Over the Rainbow" was nearly cut from The Wizard of Oz.

After a test screening of the The Wizard of Oz in San Bernadino, CA, many studio executives seriously discussed cutting the number from the picture altogether! The reason for their criticism was that "Over the Rainbow," a ballad, tended to slow the film down, especially in comparison to the rest of the score, which consisted of much faster tunes that were instantly catchy.

Fortunately, the film's director was convinced the song would be a hit and finally persuaded MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer to keep it in the movie. It's a good thing he listened too; "Rainbow" went on to take home the 1939 Academy Award for Best Original Song and has since been voted the greatest movie song of all time by the American Film Institute!
In the original Wizard of Oz novel, Dorothy wore silver slippers.

The color of the shoes was changed from silver to ruby by screenwriter Noel Langley in order to take full advantage of filming in Technicolor! When trying to design an appropriate pair to film, Oz's costuming department experimented with several different types of slippers. The most vivid-looking looking ones turned out to be a pair adorned in bright red sequins. The cost of producing the gaudy-looking slippers was estimated to have been about $15.

These shoes now are a beloved Hollywood icon, but they lay forgotten in a MGM storage room for several years! An estimated 6-10 pairs were originally produced, of which only four now remain. What are thought to be Judy Garland's original shoes were purchased at a studio auction in 1970 and are now housed at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
While filming The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland was slapped by her director for failing to complete a scene.

During the scene in which Dorothy slaps the Cowardly Lion, Garland got a case of the giggles and could not stop laughing. Unable to get his lead actress to focus, director Victor Fleming brought her off the set and slapped her across the face! After returning, Garland was able to successfully complete the scene in just one take. (More weird Wizard of Oz trivia)

He later felt terrible and apologized for it. Years later, Judy Garland said that she still admired him as a director. Learn more about Victor Fleming in this
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy\'s hair changes length!
In \"Smooth Criminal\" Michael Jackson uses the same dance move that the Tin Man uses in The Wizard of Oz.

Michael Jackson actually learned a lot of his dance moves, including this one, from singer/dancer Jeffrey Daniel.

Strangely enough, Michael Jackson was in a musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz called The Wiz. But, instead of the Tin Man, he played the Scarecrow.

Pretty good, but I\'d like to see him Moonwalk...
(Sources: 1, 2, 3)
The lion costume in the film Wizard of Oz was made from real lions.

The costume for the Cowardly Lion in the popular Wizard of Oz film was made from two real lion skins, and it weighed in at over 50 pounds. To ensure the actor didn\'t suffocate, the lights would be turned off and the soundstage doors opened for fresh air every half hour while he was on set. He claimed it was like \"working inside a mattress.\"

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