The Wizard of Oz is one of the most iconic films of our time, so it's really no surprise that tons of myths surround it. Some of them are innocuous, others are downright deadly, but all of them are persistent. Since I'm a huge fan of the movie, and I'm sure that many of you are as well, I thought I'd debunk some of the most persistent rumors about the Wizard of Oz. Are the true or are they false?
1. Dorothy's Shirt
Have any of you ever dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween or for another kind of costume party? If so, I bet you wore a blue dress and a white shirt, right? Tsk, tsk, your costume was inaccurate! One prevailing myth about The Wizard of Oz is that Dorothy's shirt, which has become an icon in its own right, was actually pink – and that rumor happens to be true. Remember, the movie was one of the first filmed in such vibrant color. It wasn't at all perfected yet, and the production crew found that they got better results by using a pink shirt to film, and simply making it look white.
2. Those Flying Monkeys
Like Sally Field's long ago acceptance speech, certain lines from The Wizard of Oz are frequently misquoted. The prevailing rumor – or misconception at least – here is that when sending her monkeys after Dorothy and company, the Wicked Witch of the West calls out, “Fly, fly my pretties!” In truth, she sent them after the gang with a simpler cry of, “Fly, fly, fly!”
3. Margaret Hamilton Could Have Died
Speaking of the Wicked Witch of the West, that she could have died during the filming of the movie is another enduring myth – and this one is true. Her signature green makeup was copper based – not smart! Had she taken in and ingested it, it certainly would have been fatal. As a result, throughout the filming, she stuck to a diet largely made up of liquids. And if you want to know about dedication and method acting, consider this: for weeks after she finishing shooting, her face was tinted green!
4. Buddy Ebsen Nearly Died, Too
This rumor is twofold, and both parts of it are true. Buddy Ebsen, the beloved actor best known as Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies (and as Doc Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's) was supposed to play the Tin Man. However, another makeup mishap kept him from doing so – and nearly killed him! He'd been rehearsing for a month and had recorded all the Tin Man's songs when he fell ill. Specifically, his lungs failed! Turned out, this was thanks to the fact that the silver makeup applied to all visible parts of his body contained aluminum dust!
5. The Pink Floyd Phenomenon
For years, this powerful myth has been held up as mystical gospel. It states, of course, that The Wizard of Oz syncs up with Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. The phenomenon, called Dark Side of the Rainbow, is entirely false. Members of the band have claimed that it's entirely coincidental, not intended, and not at all true. However, I think this one's kind of left up to listener/viewer interpretation, don't you?
6. The Lollipop Guild Suicides
This is a really disturbing rumor. The way it goes is that there are video stills from the film which unmistakably shows a member of the Lollipop Guild hanging from a tree, in an apparent suicide. There are videos – you can see one of them here – but it's been largely proven that they're completely falsified. Still, some people are rabid in their belief of this morbid event. Can you make out the horrible footage?
7. L. Frank Baum Returns
In a manner of speaking, anyway. The director of the movie wanted Professor Marvel to look seedy but still somehow genteel, and had the members of the costume department go looking for appropriate coats. One of the ones they picked out belonged to none other than L. Frank Baum himself, the writer of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. For a while, this was just a rumor, but as it turns out, Baum's widow and his personal tailor confirmed that the jacket belonged to the author.
While there are undoubtedly tons more rumors surrounding the Wizard of Oz, these are by far the most prevalent – and the most repeated. Some of them are kind of ludicrous (like hanging members of the Lollipop Guild), while others are just mind-blowing. People really didn't know a lot about poisonous elements back in the day, did they? When you consider the masterpiece they ultimately made, however, it's almost worth it... I'm kidding, I'm kidding! So, I've shared the weirdest and most prevailing rumors about the Wizard of Oz with you. What are some of your favorite enduring movie myths?
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