There’s no place like home: the Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz
By Lia on August 24th, 2012
L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, one of the most beloved books of the 20th century, has inspired countless film, stage, and musical adaptations, not to mention prequels, sequels, and spin-offs. Perhaps the most well-known adaptation is the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland as Dorothy. August 25 marks the 73rd anniversary of the film’s release, and so, to honor the movie we so deeply love — and the book that inspired it — we’ve rounded up some fun Wizard of Oz facts. (Feel free to add others in the comments section!)
- Published in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first of 14 Oz books that Baum wrote. They were published over the course of 20 years, the last two posthumously.
- Rumor has it that Baum came up the name for Oz when looking at his filing cabinets, which were organized A-N and O-Z.
- Baum wrote the script for a musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, which premiered in Chicago in 1902 and made its Broadway debut in 1903, where it ran for 293 performances.
- Ultimately it took 14 writers and five directors to bring Baum’s story to the screen.
- In the film adaptation, Dorothy’s slippers are ruby, not silver (the head of MGM Studio suggested the change in order to take advantage of filming in Technicolor.)
- “Tigers and lions and bears, oh my!” may sound familiar, but in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, there was actually a creature called a kalidah that was half tiger, half bear. Now THAT deserves an “oh my!”
- The Cowardly Lion costume (worn by actor Bert Lahr) weighed 90 pounds.
- In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the gift given to the Tin Man is not a heart clock, but rather a stuffed satin heart put into the Woodsman’s chest and then patched over with tin.
- The Wizard of Oz won two Oscars for best original score and best original song, and was nominated for best art direction, best cinematography, and best effects.
- Before she took on the role of the Wicked Witch of the West, actress Margaret Hamilton was a kindergarten teacher.
- Terry, the dog who played Toto in the film version of The Wizard of Oz, has her own IMDB page.
Image via WarnerBros.com
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