Sunday 19 July 2009

10 Costume Facts for the Wizard of Oz

Everyone knows the stories about the original Tin Man ending up in hospital due to the make-up he wore, or that Dorothy’s slippers were originally silver in the book, or that the actual lion costume worn by Lahr in the film was indeed real lion, but have you heard any of the following costume stories? Here are 10 facts about the costumes in the film of the Wizard of Oz scoured from the internet!

1. There were 3,210 costumes made for the film. (Don’t tell Judith that one!!!! – we may never see her for dust!)

2. Jack Haley (Tin Man) had been filming his first scene for three days before anyone realized that he had no "rust" on his "tin" costume, even though in the story he was supposed to have been standing rusted for an entire year. The rust was immediately applied to it.

3. The "oil" used to lubricate the Tin Man was not really oil – chocolate syrup was used as it was discovered that oil would not photograph well!

4. The Cowardly Lion's tail was worked by technicians on an overhead walkway.

5. The Cowardly Lion costume was sold for a whopping $700,000 in 2006. The sale was conducted by the US-based auction house Profiles In History. The costume, which had been part of a Hollywood memorabilia sale on auction site eBay, had been estimated to bring in $590,000.

6. The scarecrow outfit is currently housed in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington DC.

7. A blue and white gingham dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard Of Oz fetched £140,000 at an auction in London in 2005. The dress, which was purchased by an unnamed phone buyer, had been expected to fetch £35,000.

8. There were actually 10 dresses made for Dorothy each with a 27-inch waist.

9. The first film version of Dorothy depicted her as a blonde with baby doll-esque makeup because that’s the way illustrator John R. Neill drew her in the books. The first person to illustrate Dorothy for L. Frank Baum was W.W. Denslow, who drew her the way we know her today: brunette pigtails and the blue-and-white Gingham dress. But Baum had a falling-out with Denslow and John R. Neill took over for the design from then on out, which amounted to more than 40 stories.

10. The Horse of a Different Colour couldn't be actually painted because of Animal Rights concerns. So they used coloured, flavoured jelly on a white horse. It was difficult to keep the horse from licking the paste, so the scene had to be shot quickly. It is reported that if you look closely at the film you can see the driver of the buggy subtly restraining the horse from licking itself. (Well 9 items would have been odd – and it was the horses costume…)

Sue x


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