I found a big behind-the-scenes book about my favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz. I remember getting this book as a kid, but I read the juicy parts (many of the rumors about wild Munchkin behavior are true), skipped the rest of the book, and forgot about it. So I came across it as an adult; it’s one ofthe few things that somehow clang to us through more than a few moves throughout the midwest. I’ve been enjoying reading many Oz secrets lately, and I’m currently on the chapter about the script. In the ’30’s, MGM (the movie studio that made the Wizard of Oz) had salaried writers, so they would assign a few to write a “treatment” of a project, or a sample of script. Several of the writers had some interesting ideas for L. Frank Baum’s Oz project; including bizarre characters. For example, one writer created a son for the Wicked Witch of the West – a dimwitted guy named Bulbo. She wanted to attack Oz with “ten thousand armies, 2 thousand wolves, and 200 flying monkeys” to defeat the Wizard and make Bulbo the king of Oz. In another treatment, the cowardly lion was actually a man who was to marry a girl named Sylvia. The witch wanted Sylvia for her son Bulbo’s bride, so she turned the man into the cowardly lion. A couple of the writers who were working as a team decided that there shouldn’t be any death in their family-friendly picture, so they decided that when the house falls on the Wicked Witch of the East, she should turn into something less threatening; like a parrot or a white tabby cat. That would have been silly!
While all of these possible Oz variations are fun to read about, I’m really glad that the Wizard of Oz ended up as the movie its legions of fans are familiar with – we love it just the way it is!