Once upon a time, there were no tornados, and nothing on either side of the rainbow. Then 1900 tornados were invented and L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Shortly thereafter preteen girls began reading the entire series. Longly thereafter your mother (who is old, but not quite that old) read the entire series. I can still tell you where in the library the books were kept.
Somewhere in between the first set of preteens and your mama as a preteen, The Movie was made. The Wizard of Oz (the movie) premiered August 12, 1939, in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. This is important because Oconomowoc is fun to say. Try it, I’ll wait.
In honor of August 12th, here are several a bunch lots some fun facts you probably don’t know (unless you’re my friend Judy L who knows everything and then some about TWoO).
The Cowardly Lion’s costume was made of real lion pelts and weighed about 100lbs. For the record, it is not easy to schelp around 100 pounds of fur. It is also not easy to continue as a real lion when you have been deprived of your skin.
Speaking of costumes, in the book, Dorothy’s slippers were silver. Ruby red slippers were more interesting to look at in Technicolor. When the Wicked Witch of the West tries to take the slippers (you remember that part, right?), fire erupts (it was actually an effect done with apple juice).
Dorothy’s dress (the blue and white one) was actually blue and pink (pink looked better on film). Speaking of things that didn’t work on film, the Tin Man’s “oil” was actually chocolate sauce.
The Horse of a Different Color was actually several white horses that were covered in (wait for it) Jell-O! Being smart equines, the horses kept trying to lick the Jell-O. No one else tried to eat their costume, especially WWW since her makeup was toxic (she lived on a liquid diet to avoid accidentally eating any).
The Tornado was made using a 35 foot muslin stocking. They spun it around while dirt, dust, and wind blew against it. You can see this recreated in our house on pretty much any windy day.
Remember the sweet snow that Glenda sent to wake our heroes in the poppy field? It was made out of asbestos. Yup, the stuff that causes cancer. Talk about oxymorons.
L. Frank was paid $75,000 for the movie rights. In those days, that was HUGE money. If anyone wants to pay me HUGE money for the movie rights to this blog, I’ll be happy to entertain offers.