The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is a children’s novel that has seen many adaptations since its first publication in 1900. Today is the anniversary of the 1939 musical film adaptation of the novel, named The Wizard of Oz, starring the amazing Judy Garland. To celebrate, here are some fun facts about the book and movie you might not know:
1. Judy Garland was cast as Dorothy because of contractual issues with the other two starlets considered for the part (Shirley Temple and Deanna Durbin).
2. Dorothy was originally imagined as a blonde, so Garland had to wear a wig for the first two weeks of filming until the execs changed their minds and instead gave her a henna rinse and made her wear extensions to lengthen her hair.
3. In the movie, the Wicked Witch has a bigger role than she does in the book (where she also wears an eye patch).
4. Thanks to the success of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the author wrote thirteen sequels including Ozma of Oz, Tik-Tok of Oz, Rinkitink of Oz, and Glinda of Oz.
5. In the book, the slippers were originally silver, but they were changed to ruby in the movie because it was believed that the brighter color would look better in the new technology, Technicolor.
6. The Cowardly Lion’s (Bert Lahr) makeup took 2 hours to apply, and his tail could move because it was connected to a fishing line and controlled by a stagehand.
7. About 100 dogs were tested for the role of Toto. The dog who ended up playing the role, named Terry, was later renamed Toto permanently.
8. The original title of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was The Emerald City.
9. The author, Lyman Frank Baum, hated the horrors of the classical children’s tales (such as those of the Brothers Grimm), so he set out to write The Wizard of Oz in an attempt to provide children with a horror-free fairy tale.