The Wizard of Oz

Publicity still of the Wizard of Oz, showing the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Cowardly Lion
Publicity still of the Wizard of Oz, showing the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Cowardly Lion

Historical Context

What is the most viewed movie of all time? Look no further than the groundbreaking 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, one of cinema's most famous efforts. Legendary for its famous scenes, memorable characters, oft-repeated quotes and for its use of Technicolor (which, among other things, brought to life the famous red slippers worn by Judy Garland in the film) the movie was actually a commercial bomb when it first came out - making less than a million dollars over its budget.

Nevertheless watching The Wizard of Oz became an American tradition after it was first broadcast on television in 1956. The year 1939 was a good one, for the movie's director Victor Fleming (although the movie had suffered a succession of different directors before Fleming came on board) who won the Academy Award for Best Picture for Gone With the Wind, another iconic movie released the same year.

The film itself is an adaptation of the children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, released in 1900.

Photo Info

Photographer: MGM
Location taken: The Land of Oz

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Related Events

  • 1938-12-23 Margaret Hamilton's costume catches fire while filming "The Wizard of Oz"
  • 1939-08-15 "The Wizard of Oz", American musical fantasy film adaptation of L. Frank Baum's book, premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood; directed by Victor Fleming and King Vidor with cast featuring Judy Garland (Dorothy), Ray Bolger (Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Tin Man), Bert Lahr (Cowardly Lion), Frank Morgan (Wizard), Billie Burke (Glinda), and Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch); songs by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg
  • 1939-08-17 Musical film "The Wizard of Oz", starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, and Margaret Hamilton opens at Loews Capitol Theatre, NYC
  • 1956-11-03 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" televised for 1st time - hosted by Bert Lahr and 10 year old Liza Minnelli, as the finale of the Ford Star Jubilee series (CBS-TV)
  • 2018-09-04 F.B.I. announces it has recovered a pair of Dorothy's ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz", stolen 13 years earlier

Related Famous People

Historical Photos