Dorothy (Judy Garland) lives on a Kansas farm with Aunt Em (Clara Blandick) and Uncle Henry (Charley Grapewin). After the evil neighbor, (Margaret Hamilton), tries to take Dorothy's dog away from her, the teenager runs away. When her farmhouse is caught up in a cyclone she's knocked out and whisked away.
When Dorothy finally hits land again, she discovers she is no longer in Kansas, but in the land of Oz. Trying to get back home, Dorothy finds three companions, a Tin Woodsman, a Scarecrow, and a Cowardly Lion who go to the Wizard to ask for help. The wizard tells them that before he can help any of them, they must seize the broom from the evil Wicked Witch of the West. They return with the task completed, after an arduous struggle, but learn a shocking secret about the Wizard of Oz.
Within 8 days it would have been Frank Morgan`s (The Wizard of Oz) 123th birthday.
* June 1, 1890
† September 18, 1949
Within 11 days it would have been Clara Blandick`s (Auntie Em) 133th birthday.
* June 4, 1880
† April 15, 1962
Within 17 days it would have been Judy Garland`s (Dorothy Gale) 91th birthday.
* June 10, 1922
† June 22, 1969
Release date: August 12, 1939
Bert Lahr’s original cowardly lion costume has been sold at a Memorabilia auction for $700,000 (€528,000 / £357,000). Source / More (Web)
In 2000 one of four pairs of ruby red slippers worn by Dorothy was sold for $666,000.
The song Somewhere over the rainbow was nearly cut out of the final version of The Wizard of Oz, because producers felt that it was too slow and boring. Studio boss Louis B Mayer put the song back in. Source / More (Book)
Richard Thorpe -> 12 days
George Cukor -> 3 days
Victor Fleming -> most of the production (4 months), until he was called away to finish up Gone with the Wind
King Vidor -> finished the production.
First the producers didn’t think Garland was a big enough star to play Dorothy, so they tried Shirley Temple. That fell through, though, launching Judy Garland as a big star. Source / More (Book)
The song Somewhere over the rainbow was named the most loved song from a movie by the American Film Institute. Source / More (Web)
Samuel Goldwyn (the G in MGM) bought the rights to the book, but had left the studio in 1922. So Louis B. Mayer (the M in MGM) had to buy the book from him in 1938 for $75.000.
The other 13 Oz books are owned by Walt Disney. Source / More (Book)
The Munchkins are portrayed by The Singer Midgets. They were called that way because it was their manager’s name (Leo Singer). They couldn’t sing and their voices were dubbed. Source / More (Book)
The film has been deemed “culturally significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry
In 1985 the unofficial sequel Return to Oz was released. It’s a combination of the novels Ozma of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz. The movie was not well received.
The American Film Institute has released a new list of the top 25 movie musicals of all time. The wizard of Oz came in third.
1. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN - 1952
2. WEST SIDE STORY - 1961
3. THE WIZARD OF OZ - 1939
4. THE SOUND OF MUSIC- 1965
5. CABARET - 1972 Source / More (Web)
Judy Garland is in the USA an icon of the gay community. They nicknamed themselves friends of Dorothy. Two of her husbands, Vincente Minnelli and Mark Herron, were gay. Herron had an affair with Peter Allen, who was married to Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli.
Buddy Ebsen who played the Tin Man suffered a near-fatal reaction to the makeup of the Tin Man costume and was replaced by Jack Haley. Ebsen would later say that it was the most disappointing moment of his career. Source / More (Book)
The book The wonderful Wizard of Oz has been translated into well over 40 different languages.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a children’s story written by L. Frank Baum and first published in 1900. Source / More (Book)
Judy was married five times:
David Rose (1941-1943)
Vincente Minnelli (1945-1951)
Sid Luft (1952-1965
Mark Herron (1965-1967)
Mickey Deans (1969-her death in 1969)
June 10, 1922
Frances Ethel Gumm
June 22, 1969
Born in Minnesota (USA) Frances was the child of vaudeville performers. She made her stage debut at the age of two, at her father's movie house and theatre.
In 1934 Frances and her two sisters performed in Chicago as the Gumm Sisters during the World's Fair. That is where Frances Gumm was advised to change her name to Judy Garland.
A few years later MGM boss Louis B. Mayer signed her to a contract after a personal audition.
Judy's first screen appearance was in short called Every sunday (1936) but she stole the show in Broadway melody of 1938 when she sang “Dear mr Gable” to a photograph of the star.
After a string of unsuccessful films, she landed the role of Dorothy in the classic film The Wizard of Oz (1939). Garland became a major star and she appeared in a long string of classic musicals, including Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Easter Parade (1948) and several (nine times in total) with her friend, Mickey Rooney.
In 1945, she married the now famous director Vincente Minnelli, with whom she had a daughter, Liza.
Judy became a drug addict because of the amphetamines and barbiturates the studio provided and in1950 she attempted suicide for the first time.
In 1954 she acted in George Cukor's remake of A Star Is Born but the comeback was short lived and a long period of inactivity started.
In the early sixties Garland began the weekly “The Judy Garland Show” but the show was cancelled after a year.
In 1969 Judy died by an accidental overdose of sleeping pills.
1962 Nominated Best Actress for: Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1955 Nominated Best Actress for: A Star Is Born (1954)
1940 Juvenile Award for her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile during the past year.