EPISODE 108: 10 HORRORS OF OZ

Even though the 1939 Academy Award-winning film “The Wizard of Oz” is remembered today as one of the greatest classics of all-time, some consider it to be the most dangerous movie ever made.

Because during the six-month, exhaustive filming of the Wizard of Oz, there were countless accidents and special effects gone wrong that nearly resulted in the deaths of a few actors on set…

And by far, most horrifying of all- some believe that one of the actors portraying a Munchkin- committed suicide on the set of the film and can still be seen today in the final cut of the movie.

Let’s explore what are in my opinion the TEN MOST HORRIFYING HORRORS OF THE WIZARD OF OZ FILM..

EPISODE 108: TEN HORRORS OF OZ (HYSTERY) CRACKPOP

Episode Contents:

  • #10: Someone stepped on Toto!
Terry the (female) terrier earned $125 a week on the set of The Wizard of Oz, more than many of the human actors in the film. But during filming, one of the extras jumped on Terry’s foot, putting her out of work for a few weeks.
  • #9: The set was dangerously hot!
Because shooting in Technicolor required hundreds of burning bright lights to capture the vivid colors in the film, the set would regularly reach temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, leading many to pass out or suffer from heat stroke.
  • #8: The costumes were uncomfortable.
Not only was the Cowardly Lion’s real lion-hide costume so uncomfortable weighing nearly 90 pounds, but the Tin Man’s costume was as well as it was made of real metal. These leaning boards were used to give actors a rest in between takes without requiring the actors to remove their costumes.
  • #7: The Munchkins were drunks!
Some of the 125 Munchkin actors were known to get rowdy by frequenting bars near the Culver City Hotel where they were housed during filming; some of the wild stories include a little person getting stuck in a toilet and even the Munchkin actors having orgies..
  • #6: The actors were exposed to asbestos!
Real asbestos fibers were used to resemble snow in the film, a practice common in 1930’s cinema.
  • #5: The special effects malfunctioned.
Several pyrotechnic devices led to actual explosions and injuries on set; in the above scene, Margaret Hamilton who played the Wicked Witch was caught in flames when the trapdoor she was supposed to be lowered into got stuck, resulting in first degree burns to the entire right side of her face.
  • #4: The makeup was poisonous!
Active metal elements were found in both the Wicked Witch’s copper-based green makeup, as well as the silver, metallic makeup used on the Tin Man. The original Tin Man actor (Buddy Ebsen) suffered from a severe allergic reaction and a collapsed lung from the aluminum dust in the makeup; he was eventually replaced.
  • #3: Judy Garland was sexually harassed by some of the Munchkins.
Though it has never been proven or disproven, Garland’s ex-husband of 13 years wrote in a memoir that she admitted to him that she was sexually harassed on the set as some of the Munchkin actors would put their hands up her dress.
  • #2: The Wizard of Oz led to Judy Garland’s spiraling addictions.
16-year-old Garland was put on a cycle of uppers and downers during filming to maximize her productivity on set. The producers also heavily monitored her weight by only allowing her to consume soup and black coffee, and pushed her to smoke cigarettes to suppress her appetite. They also bound her chest very tightly to portray the 12-year-old Dorothy Gale. Many believe this set Garland up for a life full of battles with addiction, eating disorders and depression.
  • #1: The alleged Munchkin suicide.
The ORIGINAL footage from the 1939 film; you can see what appears to be a hanging, swinging body in between the trees in the background.
The 1989, re-released and digitally remastered version of the film. In THIS version, you can clearly see a crane in the background, which is what the studio says was mistaken in the original film for the hanging body. BUT compare the two and you’ll probably notice that the body in the original and the crane in the newer version aren’t even in the same spot.

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