Dorothy’s ruby red slippers were originally silver.
In L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz books, which are the original Oz stories, Dorothy’s slippers are silver in color. They turned red—and became the most iconic shoes of the century—by the time they slipped onto Dorothy’s feet in the 1939 film.
The actor who played the Wizard of Oz had five roles.
Frank Morgan, the actor who portrayed the Wizard of Oz, the fearsome figure behind the Emerald City curtain, actually appeared in the movie in five different roles. He can also be seen as Professor Marvel (in Kansas), The Gatekeeper (in Oz), The Guard (in Oz), and The Carriage Driver (in Oz).
The Emerald City “horses of a different color” got those colors thanks to Jell-O.
To turn the Emerald City horses their different colors, the production used tints made with Jell-O. This delicious and novel technique ensured that it wouldn’t be harmful to the horses and also provided vibrant colors that would show up in Technicolor.
The original Tin Man had to leave the production.
The first actor cast as the Tin Man was Buddy Ebsen. He isn’t in the final cut of the movie, though. As it turned out, Ebsen was extremely allergic to the aluminum dust used in the paint and face makeup used to turn him into the silver Tin Man. He was replaced by Jack Haley, who we see singing and dancing the part in the movie.
Dorothy’s daughter married the Tin Man’s son.
Judy Garland’s daughter, Liza Minelli, married Jack Haley, Jr.—the son of the actor who played the Tin Man—in 1974, thirty-five years after The Wizard of Oz movie had its premiere.
Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume was very heavy.
The furry lion costume that the Cowardly Lion actor Bert Lahr wore for the movie was so heavy, and the lights in the studio were so bright, that the actor had to remove it between takes while filming so as not to overheat. It was made of real lion fur and skin, and some reports say it weighed in at 90 pounds. It was auctioned in 2014 and sold for $3 million.
The Tin Man’s tears were made of chocolate syrup.
Movie magic! The early days of movies saw lots of DIY tricks and techniques for creating effects that would show up (and look realistic) on camera. While the Tin Man is said to cry oil in the movie, the tears you see on his silver face onscreen are actually made of chocolate syrup, which looked better on camera at the time.
“Over the Rainbow” almost didn’t make it into the movie.
According to accounts, some of those who participated in the movie’s editing process wanted to cut the now-iconic scene where Judy Garland sings “Over the Rainbow.” Why? They said it slowed the pace of the film and was too sad. We sure are glad they saw the light and left it in.
Shirley Temple was considered for the role of Dorothy Gale.
Before Judy Garland was cast as Dorothy, a role with which she was closely associated ever after, Shirley Temple was considered for the part. It was decided that Shirley was fine in songs like The Good Ship Lollipop, but she could not match the powerful voice of Judy Garland when singing “Over The Rainbow.”
Several directors were involved in the production.
No single director shepherded the film from beginning to end. Norman Taurog first shot test scenes for the production, then Richard Thorpe shot a section of the film in October 1938. Victor Fleming was then brought on to direct in November 1938 and an arduous and tumultuous filming process, which was riddled with injuries, commenced. Finally, King Vidor joined to help finish the film. George Cukor also participated in several creative decisions but is uncredited and had to leave because he was attached to direct Gone with the Wind.
Judy Garland died from an accidental barbiturate overdose in London on June 22, 1969, less than two weeks after her 47th birthday.