judy garland onset of the film the wizard of oz 1939 picture

The Wonderful Vintage Posters and Illustrations of Oz

Eighty years ago, MGM announced that 15-year-old Judy Garland would play Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Adapted from the novel by L. Frank Baum, "The Wizard of Oz" — starring Judy Garland, Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton, and more — hit theaters in the summer of 1939. It would go on to win two Academy Awards — and a place in audiences' hearts for generations to come. We take a walk back down that yellow brick road ...

The classic film transported Dorothy Gale from her monochromatic Kansas life to the fantastic and music-filled Technicolor Land of Oz. Universal History Archive The classic film transported Dorothy Gale from her monochromatic Kansas life to the fantastic and music-filled Technicolor Land of Oz. Written by American author L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W Denslow, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was first published on May 17, 1900. Universal History Archive Written by American author L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W Denslow, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was first published on May 17, 1900. In numerous republishings, the title of the book has often been shortened to simply “The Wizard of Oz.” Universal History Archive In numerous republishings, the title of the book has often been shortened to simply “The Wizard of Oz.” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (a.k.a. MGM) was created in 1924 and became the leading Hollywood producer and distributor of films in the 1930s and 1940s. Though one of the first studios to experiment filming in Technicolor, MGM was the last studio to convert to “talkies,” movies with synchronized dialogue. Silver Screen Collection Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (a.k.a. MGM) was created in 1924 and became the leading Hollywood producer and distributor of films in the 1930s and 1940s. Though one of the first studios to experiment filming in Technicolor, MGM was the last studio to convert to “talkies,” movies with synchronized dialogue. “The Wizard of Oz” ended up being a critical hit, winning Best Original Score and Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow,” but didn’t wow crowds initially when it was first released in 1939. Due to its staggering $2.8 million production budget, it took 20 years to turn a profit. Hulton Archive “The Wizard of Oz” ended up being a critical hit, winning Best Original Score and Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow,” but didn’t wow crowds initially when it was first released in 1939. Due to its staggering $2.8 million production budget, it took 20 years to turn a profit. Dorothy’s iconic blue and white gingham dress was actually blue and light pink, to make shooting in Technicolor easier. Hulton Archive Dorothy’s iconic blue and white gingham dress was actually blue and light pink, to make shooting in Technicolor easier. The Cowardly Lion’s costume was made from real lion pelts and weighed 90 pounds. Between takes, actor Bert Lehr would remove his costume to cool down. Hulton Archive The Cowardly Lion’s costume was made from real lion pelts and weighed 90 pounds. Between takes, actor Bert Lehr would remove his costume to cool down. In total, three men were cast to play the Tin Man: Ray Bolger (who then swapped with castmate Buddy Ebsen for the role of Scarecrow), Buddy Ebsen (who had such severe allergic reactions to the aluminum dust in the Tin Man’s makeup that he was taken off production), and finally Jack Haley, who played the Tin Man as well as Hickory, his real life Kansas counterpart when Dorothy returns home. Donaldson Collection In total, three men were cast to play the Tin Man: Ray Bolger (who then swapped with castmate Buddy Ebsen for the role of Scarecrow), Buddy Ebsen (who had such severe allergic reactions to the aluminum dust in the Tin Man’s makeup that he was taken off production), and finally Jack Haley, who played the Tin Man as well as Hickory, his real life Kansas counterpart when Dorothy returns home. Ray Bolger, who played Scarecrow, ended up looking like his character for nearly a year after production wrapped as the prosthetics he donned left lines on his face that took longer than anticipated to fade. GAB Archive Ray Bolger, who played Scarecrow, ended up looking like his character for nearly a year after production wrapped as the prosthetics he donned left lines on his face that took longer than anticipated to fade. The actor that played the titular character actually played a whopping five roles in the film: The Wizard of Oz, the fortune-telling Professor Marvel in Kansas, the Emerald City cabbie steering the Horse-of-a-Different-Color, the snippy Wizard’s Guard, and the Doorman at the palace. Hulton Archive The actor that played the titular character actually played a whopping five roles in the film: The Wizard of Oz, the fortune-telling Professor Marvel in Kansas, the Emerald City cabbie steering the Horse-of-a-Different-Color, the snippy Wizard’s Guard, and the Doorman at the palace. Though the Munchkin actors received $50 — decent weekly wages in the 1930s — for their work in the film, Terry the dog, who played Toto, actually had a higher weekly rate ($125). Hulton Archive Though the Munchkin actors received $50 — decent weekly wages in the 1930s — for their work in the film, Terry the dog, who played Toto, actually had a higher weekly rate ($125). In 1956, CBS acquired the television rights for “The Wizard of Oz” and scheduled it to air in November. The night of its television premiere, it became the first fictional film to be aired in its entirety in one evening. Between 1959 and 1991, annual telecasts of “The Wizard of Oz” drew massive audiences, earned MGM additional profits, and helped turn the film into one of the most famous films the studio ever produced. Universal History Archive In 1956, CBS acquired the television rights for “The Wizard of Oz” and scheduled it to air in November. The night of its television premiere, it became the first fictional film to be aired in its entirety in one evening. Between 1959 and 1991, annual telecasts of “The Wizard of Oz” drew massive audiences, earned MGM additional profits, and helped turn the film into one of the most famous films the studio ever produced. Though it’s now become arguably the most famous version of the Wizard of Oz story, the 1939 film was actually the 10th screen adaptation of the 1900 book. Universal History Archive Though it’s now become arguably the most famous version of the Wizard of Oz story, the 1939 film was actually the 10th screen adaptation of the 1900 book.