The Wizard of Oz: Haley, Bolger, Garland and Lahr
On February 24, 1938, the entertainment trade newspaper Variety reported that the film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) had bought the rights to adapt L. Frank Baum’s beloved children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for the screen, and that the studio has cast 16-year-old Judy Garland in the film’s central role, Dorothy Gale. the role would make her a star.
1900 first edition cover, George M. Hill, Chicago, New York.
Judy Garland reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Production of The Wizard of Oz was beset by challenges from the beginning.
- The script went through numerous rewrites,
- The film went through four directors (Richard Thorpe, George Cukor, Victor Fleming and King Visor)
- Casting problems: Buddy Ebsen as the Tinman suffered a near-fatal allergic reaction to the aluminum dust used in his Tinman makeup. Jack Haley replaced him.
Buddy Ebsen – Original Tinman
Jack Haley as the Tinman
- The all-important role of the Wicked Witch of the West was also recast, as the original actress, Gale Sondergaard, objected to playing such an ugly, evil character; Margaret Hamilton replaced her.
Margaret Hamilton (The one in green) with Judy Garland
The Wizard of Oz emerged from these challenges as one of history’s most enduring and best-loved films, ranking sixth on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest films of all time (compiled in 1999). The Wizard of Oz was especially honored for its pioneering use of the film process known as Technicolor, as well as for its now-iconic soundtrack. “Over Rainbow” would become Judy Garland’s signature song.
In 2015, Comcast has asked us to re-imagine the Wizard Oz through a visually impaired child. A truly wonderful world of oz for everyone.