The Wizard of Oz remains one of the most captivating and enchanting films ever to come out of Hollywood. It was a marvel of technical advancement and creative storytelling at the time, and it’s still regarded as one of the best movies ever made. But that level of spectacle always comes at a price, and in many ways, the classic feature was a nightmare to make. If you don’t want to break the spell, best look away now – but for everyone else, here are 40 secrets about the journey down the yellow brick road.
50. A fire was created using apple juice
The Wizard of Oz may have boasted some of the most groundbreaking special effects of its time. But some of the tricks the film’s producers used to create its magic were very simple. The fire that suddenly erupts when Dorothy’s red slippers are yanked by the Wicked Witch was created by speeding up a shot of apple juice.
49. The Wicked Witch of the West was too scary
The Wicked Witch of the West was played by Margaret Hamilton, who by all accounts was a lovely woman in real life. On screen, though, she apparently played the role a little bit too well. Studio execs were concerned over whether her appearances in the movie would prove just a bit too terrifying for children. And as a result, her screen time ended up getting cut down.
48. Toto got paid more than the Munchkins
Toto is undoubtedly one of the most iconic dogs in cinematic history, but did that part warrant a higher wage than actual human actors? Well, the people behind The Wizard of Oz certainly thought so. That’s because Terry, the brindle Cairn Terrier who played Toto, earned $125 per week; by contrast, the actors who played the Munchkins were paid between $50 and $100 a week.
47. Frank Morgan played several parts
Frank Morgan could never be accused of slacking on The Wizard of Oz’s set. Not only did the actor take on the important role of the Wizard himself, but he also portrayed several other characters, including the Emerald City gatekeeper, Professor Marvel, the horse carriage coachman, and the guard who originally doesn’t allow Dorothy and co. access to the Wizard.