THE WIZARD OF OZ held its premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater on August 15, 1939.
THE WIZARD OF OZ is number six on the American Film Institute's list of America's 100 Greatest Movies.
THE WIZARD OF OZ was an original selection to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1989.
MGM acquired the film rights to the L. Frank Baum story for $75,000, a huge amount at the time.
Some of the original casting desires included either W. C. Fields or Ed Wynn as the Wizard; Fanny Brice or Beatrice Lillie as Glinda, the Good Witch; Gale Sondergaard as the Wicked Witch; and Shirley Temple as Dorothy. After Ray Bolger asked to play the Scarecrow instead of the Tin Man, Buddy Ebsen was cast as the Tin Man but was replaced after nine days of filming by Jack Haley because of breathing problems he suffered at the hands of his costume.
The picture went through a number of directors: Richard Thorpe, whose nine days of footage were not used; George Cukor; Victor Fleming, who directed most of the color scenes before having to leave to direct GONE WITH THE WIND; and King Vidor, who directed most of the black-and-white scenes set in Kansas.
Shooting of what was known as Production 1060 was to begin on April 19, 1938, but actually began on October 13, 1938, and lasted until March 16, 1939. The film went well over budget, costing more than $2.75 million. It took in only about $3 million on its initial release.
Judy Garland was paid $500 a week for the film.
Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion costume weighed more than 50 pounds.
The Munchkin coroner, played by Meinhardt Raabe, was also Little Oscar, Oscar Mayer's official spokesman in commercials.
Jerry Maren, one of the Munchkin Lollipop Guild singers, continued his career in show business, which included stints in more than 60 films as well as appearances on THE MAN SHOW and SEINFELD.
UNDER THE RAINBOW, a 1981 comedy spoofing the behind-the-scenes making of THE WIZARD OF OZ, starred Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher.
Academy Awards Best Original Score 1939 Herbert Stothart American Composer/Arranger
Academy Awards Best Original Song 1939 Harold Arlen American song composer, WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
Academy Awards Best Original Song 1939 E. Y. Harburg Composer