5 Bizarre Facts About The Wizard Of Oz Set

The Wizard of Oz is considered one of the greatest Technicolor films of all time, but the classic still had its fair share of bizarre mishaps.

The 1939 film adaptation by L. Frank Baum The Wizard of Oz is considered the most successful of the various films that hit the big screen based on his classic novel. The frequently referenced film plot was expanded and reimagined in the Broadway musical Bad and the 1978 film The scholar, but nothing beat the effortless talent of the original cast members. And this fact would make one think The Wizard of OzThe filming process would have been rather joyful and without dangerous risks for its actors. However, that was far from the case.

Asbestos was a common material on the Wizard of Oz set

When Dorothy and the gang saw the Emerald City in the distance, the Wicked Witch of the East threw poppies to put them to sleep before they arrived. Glinda the Good Witch countered the spell by summoning snow, which awoke Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, and Toto. However, actual snow was far from helpful as the production used chrysotile, better known as white asbestos, in the scene. Inhaling asbestos can be extremely dangerous and cause fatal lung disease, and Wizard of Oz wasn’t the last time the dangerous substance was used on set.

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Professor Marvel May Have Done the Mantle of L. Frank Baum in The Wizard of Oz

Dorothy talks to Professor Marvel in The Wizard of Oz

Frank Morgan played many roles in the film, including the wizard and Professor Marvel, a money-hungry fortune teller who convinced Dorothy to return home before a tornado destroyed the farmhouse. And to prepare for the seedy character, the costume team found a jacket at a thrift store for the actor, which coincidentally belonged to L. Frank Baum himself. However, this startling information was only discovered after filming, when his badge was discovered inside the coat.

The Wicked Witch actor suffered while filming The Wizard of Oz

Asbestos wasn’t the only hazardous material used on set. The Wizard of Oz, like sSeveral costumes were constructed from other poisonous substances, including the Wicked Witch of the East’s clothing. The actor playing the character, Margaret Hamilton, had it tough because the iconic green makeup she sported was copper-based, preventing her from eating while she wore it and causing her third-degree burns on his hands and face when his character disintegrated in flames at the end of the film.

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Toto made more money than the Munchkins on Wizard of Oz

Movies The Wizard of Oz Dorothy Toto

Toto, who was actually a dog named Terry, is one of cinema’s most recognizable canine companions. Considering Toto was one of the stars of the film, Terry is expected to have a high salary, but she earned even more than some humans. The Munchkin cast only made about $50 a week, while Terry and his coach made $125 a week, or about $2,100 in today’s financial conversion. However, the dog may have fared better than the Munchkins, who were rumored to be absolute terrors on set.

The Original Tin Man Actor Nearly Died While Working on The Wizard of Oz

The near-deadly makeup tragedies didn’t stop at the Wicked Witch of the East. Buddy Ebsen, best known for his role as Jed Clampett on the CBS sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, was originally chosen to portray The Tin Man. However, things quickly escalated when, nine days into filming, Ebsen was sent to hospital with lung failure. Inhaling the aluminum dust present in her make-up caused breathing difficulties, which prevented her future involvement in the film. Jack Haley was hired to replace Ebsen, and although he didn’t end up in the hospital with lung failure, the actor still contracted an eye infection from the newly formulated makeup.

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