Photo credit: MGM
"Somewhere, over the rainbow..."
Today marks the 75th anniversary of the "Wizard of Oz." Dorothy (Judy Garland), the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley) and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) set out to find the great and powerful Oz (Frank Morgan) on this day in 1939.
"The Wizard of Oz" is ranked the No. 1 Fantasy film of all time by the American Film Institute and the flick comes in at No. 10 on AFI's 100 Greatest American Films of All Time.
MGM paid $75,000 for the rights to L. Frank Baum's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, so that the studio could make the picture. The film was produced for just under $3 million and it has grossed over $23 million worldwide. And in 1939, you could have seen this iconic classic for about .23 cents.
Many scenes featuring the Wicked Witch (Margaret Hamilton) were cut from the film, because they were deemed too scary for audiences by the standards of the time. And the Wicked Witch's crystal ball had already been used a couple of times as a prop in "The Mask of Fu Manchu" (1932) and "Chandu the Magician" (1932). The 25-inch diameter crystal ball was sold at auction for $126,500 in May of 2011.
The ruby red slippers were actually silver in the book, as well as the film, until MGM chief Louis B. Mayer realized that the Technicolor production would benefit from the slippers being colored red. Those iconic red slippers can now be viewed at the Smithsonian Institution. They have been a very popular attraction over the years, so much so that the carpet leading to them has been replaced a number of times to compensate for the wear and tear.
"The Wizard of Oz" was nominated for a number of Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but lost the top honor to "Gone with the Wind." However, the great and powerful Oz did win Best Song for "Over the Rainbow" and Best Original Score for Herbert Stothart.
My SEE or SNUB Recommendation: