The Horrible History of Oz: How Offscreen Disasters Created Onscreen Magic - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The Horrible History of Oz: How Offscreen Disasters Created Onscreen Magic

Image: Pixabay

The fantastical world where Dorothy and Toto go to escape the canine-hating Kansans isn’t as playful as you might think. Sure, if you listen to a talking lion, a man made of tin, and a scarecrow, Oz is a wonderful place where wizardry can make anyone’s dreams come true. However, when you peel back the layers and examine the subtext, the Wizard of Oz isn’t quite as whimsical as it first appears. Of course, fans of urban legend will already know about the 1939 movie’s links with Pink Floyd.

Somewhere Over the Prism-Shaped Rainbow

Source: Unsplash

According to musical conspiracy theorists, Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album is based on the Wizard of Oz. The theory states that, if you play the album while watching the movie, the two mirror each other in terms of visual/lyrical content. Coincidence? Perhaps. However, it’s a tale that’s helped turn the Wizard of Oz into something of a cult hit.

From a seemingly inexplicable link to Dark Side of the Moon, Oz has found its way into some unexpected places. Indeed, if you’re a gaming geek, you can now even spin dozens of similarly themed slots online. Just as game developers have based slots on the top three Stars Wars movies, you can now spin your way along the yellow brick road.

For example, online slot database,VegasSlotsOnline, has seven Wizard of Oz games; from the original, to follow-ups such as Not in Kansas Anymore, these WMS creations are an extension of the Oz legend. However, they say the truth is often stranger than fiction and that may well be the case with this movie.

Truth is Stranger than Fiction
Yes, urban legends and gaming offshoots create a nice story surrounding the Hollywood production but, if you take a look behind the scenes, you’ll discover there’s a lot more to this movie than meets the eye. In reality, it wasn’t the happy, all that ends well, fantasy land you might expect. For example, the Wicked Witch of the West actress, Margaret Hamilton, was badly burnt during a scene. Then, as if the production was cursed, her stunt double, Betty Danko was also hospitalized after another pyro malfunction. From unexpected burns, poison also tainted the filming of the Wizard of Oz.

After Ray Bolger made the switch from Tin Man to Scarecrow, his replacement Buddy Ebsen found himself in hospital. Apparently, aluminum powder in the silver paint used to coat Ebsen’s body caused quite a severe allergic reaction. At the time, he was bundled into an oxygen tent for initial treatment before he was taken off set. Jack Haley stepped into the role but he too run into issues when the aluminum paste (used instead of powder) caused an eye infection. Finally, the most heart-breaking tale from the movie set involved Toto (played by Terry the dog).

Just as it seemed like nothing else could go wrong, a Winkie guard stood on the dog’s paw and broke it. Although it was an accident, it’s yet another unfortunate event from what was a torrid time on set. Indeed, if we weren’t to know any better, we’d say the production was cursed from the start. Of course, it’s more likely these were all just accidents and the fact they all happened at the same time was a coincidence (ahem: just like the links to Dark Side of the Moon). However, there’s no doubt the making of the movie was a lot less magical than the finished product.

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