The Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic, cherished by generations, but what you might not know are the intriguing secrets hidden in the film’s production. These behind-the-scenes stories of The Wizard of Oz shed light on the incredible efforts and sacrifices made by the cast and crew to create a cinematic masterpiece! Here are they!
Toto’s Big Paycheck
The actors who portrayed the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz were not treated as well as their canine co-star, Toto—at least not when it came to payday.
Each Munchkin received a meager $50 weekly for six days of work. In contrast, the adorable dog playing Toto earned a generous $125 weekly. Do you remember a time when dogs were paid almost three times as much as their peers? Now you do.
Dorothy’s Ever-Changing Hair
If you pay close attention, you’ll notice a peculiar detail about Judy Garland’s magical haircut.
Throughout the film, her hair mysteriously changes length. At times, it’s barely brushing her collarbone, but by the end, it cascades down to her chest. How did the editors manage such an incredible feat?
Toto’s Gender Swap
Toto was originally portrayed by a female. But a behind-the-scenes injury meant a desperate casting decision needed to be made.
During the production, the real Toto got hurt, leading to a temporary replacement with a male stunt double for two weeks while she recovered. The stun-double was named, apparently, Terry.
The Lion’s Heavy Costume
The actor behind the Cowardly Lion, Bert Lahr, had his fair share of challenges—after all, his costume was made out of real lion skin! Talk about an expensive outfit.
Alas, the lion skin made the outfit uncomfortably hot, and weighed nearly 100 pounds. It’s no wonder that he might not have felt like much of a “king” in that attire. We’d lack courage too.
Judy Garland’s Secret Corset
As for Judy Garland, she wore a tight corset beneath her iconic dress to make her look younger and smaller.
The purpose of this unusual choice was to give her a more childlike figure. At the time of filming, she was 16 years old, but the filmmakers wanted her to portray a character between the ages of 12-14. So, 13.
The Technicolor Dress
Dorothy’s iconic blue and white dress isn’t exactly what it appears. The white in the dress was actually pale pink!
The reason for this was the film’s use of technicolor, where pink appeared as a brighter white. It’s a fascinating secret hidden in plain sight.
Wicked Witch’s Liquid Diet
Margaret Hamilton, the actress behind the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, also had her share of challenges. Her makeup was copper-based and a bright green color, which made it toxic if ingested. So, she couldn’t eat while in makeup!
Consequently, she couldn’t eat food during filming and was restricted to consuming only liquids. Her infamous green makeup not only kept her from enjoying a regular meal but also caused severe skin burns during a harrowing on-set incident. While filming the scene where the witch departs Munchkinland amid smoke and fire, something went wrong, resulting in the actress sustaining painful burns.