Oh My! 8 Fascinating Facts about MGM’s classic ‘The Wizard of Oz’
MGM's 'The Wizard of Oz'.
Sure, “Oz the Great and Powerful” has us brimming with excitement about Sam Raimi’s fantastical re-imagining of the enchanted land of Oz. But to be honest with you, all this talk about the new one has clamoring to revisit the original Technicolored masterpiece, “The Wizard of Oz” (1939).
Because, because, because, because of all of the wonderful things the original still does, we present these fascinating facts about “The Wizard of Oz”. There’s facts about Shirley Temple playing Dorothy, political conspiracy theories, Judy Garland and more. Oh my!
1. MGM originally met with child superstar and non-alcoholic drink inspiration Shirley Temple to play the part of Kansan Dorothy Gale. There are differing reports as to whether Temple -- the leading box office draw at the time -- turned down the role or if MGM even offered it to her in the first place. One story says 20th Century Fox refused to loan Temple out to MGM. Another says that MGM tried to swap Temple for a loan-out of its stars Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, but Harlow’s untimely death in 1937 prevented the deal from going down. And yet another story is that MGM went with Garland because she had a stronger singing voice than Temple. Any way you slice it though, Garland landed the role and skipped her way to stardom because of it.
2. While Garland may have nabbed the part, she wasn’t necessarily physically suited for the role, at least not according to one of the men who takes responsibility for finding her. “I fixed all her teeth in front. She had big wide spaces. That was the first thing I did with Judy Garland,” said producer Mervyn LeRoy. Later, when filming commenced, Garland’s breasts had to be bound so her curves wouldn't show, since Baum’s original Dorothy was supposed to be a young girl.
3. Garland got a severe case of the giggles while filming the sequence where Dorothy and her mates skip down The Yellow Brick Road. But it wasn’t an incurable case of the giggles, as apparently filming resumed after director Victor Fleming walked up to Garland, slapped her on the face, and said, “Behave.” You can see hear more about that moment in the DVD bonus clip above.
[Related: 'Oz the Great and Powerful' first look]
4. How much would you pay for Dorothy’s legendary blue and white gingham dress? If you said $480,001 then you might be able to persuade the current owner to sell, as that would be one dollar more than he/she paid at auction last year. Unfortunately, that person went unidentified by Julien’s Auctions, but they did release details about a buyer who paid more than $1,300 for a piece of Princess Di and Prince Charles’s wedding cake, purchased at the same auction.