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The legacy of The Wizard of Oz
1st Jan, 2013 at 11:53am

The legacy of The Wizard of Oz

All of the film's stars except Frank Morgan, who died in 1949, lived long enough to see and enjoy at least some of the film's legendary reputation after it came to television. The last of the major players to die was Ray Bolger, in 1987. The day after his death, an editorial cartoon referenced the cultural impact of this film, portraying the Scarecrow running along the Yellow Brick Road to catch up with the other characters, as they all danced off into the sunset. Billie Burke died in 1970, Jack Haley in 1979, and Margaret Hamilton in 1985.

Despite his near-death experience with the aluminum-powder makeup, Buddy Ebsen outlived all his principal cast members by at least sixteen years, although his film career was damaged by the incident. Because of his illness, followed by his subsequent service in the Coast Guard, his career did not fully recover until the 1950s, when he began a string of popular film and TV series appearances, notably the Disney Davy Crockett films and the popular TV series The Beverly Hillbillies, that would continue into the 1980s. Although his lungs had presumably recovered from the effects of the powder makeup, he eventually died of complications from pneumonia on July 6, 2003 at the age of ninety-five.

Director Victor Fleming, music arranger Herbert Stothart, screenwriter Edgar Allan Woolf, film editor Blanche Sewell, and actor Charley Grapewin (who played Uncle Henry) did not live to see the film's first telecast. By coincidence, Fleming, Stothart, Sewell and Morgan all died in 1949, which was also the year of the film's successful first re-release in movie theatres. Woolf had died the year before and Grapewin died in February 1956, nine months before the film's television premiere, and a few months after the film's second re-release.

Costume designer Adrian died in September 1959, only three months before the highly successful second telecast of the film, the one that would persuade CBS to make it an annual tradition. The film's principal art director Cedric Gibbons died in July 1960, after the 1959 telecast, but only five months before the next TV showing on December 11, 1960. And principal makeup artist Jack Dawn died in June 1961, six months after the film's third telecast. Bert Lahr died in December 1967. As the 1960s ended, Judy Garland joined them: she died in London on June 22, 1969 at the age of 47 from a drug overdose before a scheduled concert appearance.

Co-screenwriter Florence Ryerson died in 1965, after the film's seventh telecast, and principal screenwriter Noel Langley, who reportedly hated the changes that Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf had made to his version of the script, but was later reconciled to them, lived to see the film become a television institution. He died in 1980, months after the twenty-second telecast of the film. Oz songwriters E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen also lived to see the film become a television immortal, both of them also passing away in the 1980s, as did Oz director of photography Harold Rosson. A. Arnold Gillespie, the principal creator of the special effects which were so much a part of the film, died in 1978.

Tin Man, Scarecrow, Dorothy, The Wizard and Lion
From left to right: Jack Haley as The Tin Man, Ray Bolger as The Scarecrow, Judy Garland as Dorothy, Frank Morgan as The Wizard, and Bert Lahr as The Cowardly Lion.
The quintet starred in The Wizard of Oz, a 1939 MGM color movie based on the 1900 children's novel written by L. Frank Baum.
Judy Garland was hot in her performance as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
Judy Garland was an absolute beauty with a phenomenal all-round talent when she played the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, which was in fact her first color feature length movie.
The Wizard of Oz Cast List

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Re: The legacy of The Wizard of Oz
Reply #1 - 26th Apr, 2014 at 7:43pm
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