You’ve no doubt seen it countless times. You agree that it ranks among the all-time great classics to emerge from the Hollywood studio system. But how much do you really know about The Wizard of Oz?
Probably a lot, undoubtedly due to the excellent body of literature about this musical including the 1974 memoirs of its producer — Mervyn LeRoy’s That Song Has To Go — and Aljean Harmetz’ most useful The Making of the Wizard of Oz, published in 1977. (Both questions and answers, to come later, were based on these two sources.)
We hope that our periodic classic movie quizzes promote more understanding of the films discussed, and are fun to take. So, let’s get to it. Let’s see how much you really do know about this treasured film. As usual, answers tomorrow.
1) Question: ‘The Wizard of Oz worried the MGM brass in 1938 because of its high production price tag. Exactly how much did it cost to make the picture 1) $5 million; 2) $7 million; 3) $1 million; or 4) $3.2 million?
2) Question: It may come as a shock for today’s ‘Oz’ fans to discover that Judy Garland was NOT the first choice to play Dorothy. Who was? 1) Deanna Durbin; 2) Jean Harlow; 3) Norman Shearer; 4) Shirley Temple?
3) Question: Just how old WAS Judy Garland when she made The Wizard of Oz? 1) 12; 2) 15; 3) 19; or 4) 22?
4) Question: which of Judy Garland’s six movies prior to Oz ultimately won her the role as Dorothy? 1) Broadway Melody of 1938; 2) Pigskin Parade; 3) Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry; or 4) Everybody Sing?
5) Question: Who was the first choice to play the part of the Wizard? 1) Jack Benny; 2) Ed Wynn; 3) Fred Allen; or 4) Bob Hope?
6) Question: MGM management disliked Over the Rainbow, the signature song of the movie that turned out to be Garland’s defining vocal statement for the rest of her career. They wanted to drop the Harold Arlen-E.Y. (Yip) Harburg tune. Why? 1) Studio boss Louis B. Mayer thought it was too sentimental; 2) The song, a ballad, clashed with the movie’s zippier musical material; 3) producer LeRoy was told he couldn’t have a cut of the song royalties; or 4) there were reservations about Garland’s handling of the tune?
7) Question: Judy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm, and toured with a family vaudeville act before landing at MGM. How many family members were part of that act? 1) 12, in an ensemble circus group; 2) four, in a family chamber music quartet; 3) three, in a conventional song and dance act; 4) eight, in an acrobat act.
8) Question: Although hard to imagine in retrospect, character actress Margaret Hamilton was NOT the first choice for the role of the Wicked Witch. Who was? 1) Billie Burke; 2) Edna May Oliver; 3) Gale Sondergaard; or 4) Fanny Brice?
9) Question: The “yellow brick road” required the importation from India of specially painted bricks. True or False?
10) Question: Jack Haley was NOT the first choice for the Tin Man role. True or false?
11) Question: MGM went through three directors before ‘Oz’ completed production. Can you name them?