December 4, 2021

The Dark Truth Behind “The Wizards Of Oz”

Wonderful Wizard of Oz' Remake in the Works at New Line - Variety
pictured: Bert Lahr, Judy Garland, Jack Haley and Ray Bolger

In 1939 “The Wizards Of Oz” was released and soon became a hit. However, the true history behind this film is much darker than you think. Judy Garland, who played Dorothy, was one of the most mistreated cast members on set. Judy was 16 when she started on the movie and in order for her to look “young” she was forced to only have chicken noodle soup, coffee and 80 cigarettes a day as a diet as well as bind her chest and wear a corset to appear more childlike.  

Best Kids Movies - The Wizard of Oz
Judy Garland and Margaret Hamilton

Garland wasn’t the only one that was abused on set. Surprisingly, the only castmate that was nice to Judy was Margaret Hamilton who played the wicked witch of the west. For Hamilton, what she endured wasn’t well either. The green paint that was put on her stained her face and was flammable so in the fire scene she actually got burned. 

The Wizard Of Oz
Judy Garland and Ray Bolger

Originally, Buddy Ebsen was going to play the role of the tinman but he was poisoned by the makeup which consisted of pure aluminum dust. He then was then hospitalized because he was allergic to the paint, nearly killing him and Jack Haley took over the part. As for the scarecrow, actor Ray Bolger’s face was scarred and he had permanent lines on his face due to the mask that he wore on set. The cowardly lions costume weighed roughly 100 pounds and in between shots his face would have to be wiped because of how hot it was. When they were done filming for the day, the costume would have to be placed in an industrial drying bin to be used again. 

This goes to show that directors and filmmakers mistreats their actors as much as they can just to have a good film.

On the bright side, here are a few fun facts: the ruby shoes are at an estimated worth of $3 million and are the most expensive shoes in the world. In the scenes that the tin man would cry, it was actually chocolate syrup. The song “Over The Rainbow” was almost cut from the film.