#1: The horses in Emerald City palace were colored with Jell-O crystals. The relevant scenes had to be shot quickly, before the horses started to lick it off.
#2: The House of Winston made a pair of real ruby slippers to celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary in 1989. These are valued at $3 million.
#3: Multiple styles of ruby slippers were tested by the MGM wardrobe department before they settled on the low schoolgirl-style pumps with bows. The pair in the Smithsonian are mismatched.
#4: When The Witch tries to get off the Ruby Slippers, fire strikes her hands. This “fire” was actually dark apple juice spewing out of the shoes. The film was sped up to make it look like fire.
#5: Nikko, the name of the head winged monkey, is the name of the Japanese town which houses the shrine featuring the famous Hear No Evil/See No Evil/Speak No Evil monkeys.
#6: The Tin Woodsman costume worn by Jack Haley was reportedly so stiff that he had to lean against a board to rest. Thirty-eight years later, Anthony Daniels (who played C-3PO in the Star Wars movie series) had the same problem with his costume.
#7: The famous “Surrender Dorothy” sky writing scene was done using a tank of water and a tiny model witch attached to the end of a long hypodermic needle. The syringe was filled with milk, the tip of the needle was put into the tank and the words were written in reverse while being filmed from below.
Pretty impressive what was done in the days before CGI! Just as impressive will be seeing The Wizard of Oz on giant screens at the Filene Center while hearing the score performed live by the NSO. So get out your Dorothy costume and join us!