Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Movies

On this day in movie hstory, February 24, 1938: MGM buys rights to Wizard of Oz

See also

On this day in 1938, Variety reported that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) had bought the rights to adapt L. Frank Baum’s children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for the screen. The studio had cast 16-year-old Judy Garland in the film’s central role, Dorothy Gale.

From the beginning of its production of The Wizard of Oz had its challenges. The script went through numerous rewrites. By filming’s end no fewer than four directors (Richard Thorpe, George Cukor, Victor Fleming and King Vidor) had worked on the movie.

Casting the movie produced its own problems. By the time it was announced that Garland had been cast, Ray Bolger had been assigned the role of the Tin Man, and Buddy Ebsen had been picked to play the Scarecrow. At Bolger’s insistence, he and Ebsen soon swapped parts. Nine days after filming began, however, Ebsen dropped out of the production after he suffered a near-fatal allergic reaction to the aluminum dust used in his Tinman makeup. Jack Haley replaced him.

The role of the Wicked Witch of the West was also recast. The original actress, Gale Sondergaard, objected to playing such an ugly, evil character; Margaret Hamilton replaced her.

In the end, The Wizard of Oz emerged from these challenges as one of history’s most enduring and best-loved films, ranking sixth on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest films of all time (compiled in 1999).

Advertisement

Today's top buzz...

  • Jack White
    Reddit users have fun photoshopping an angry Jack White at a Cubs game
    Music Buzz
  • Kliff Kingsbury
    Kliff Kingsbury reads a series of flattering tweets praising his good looks
    Video
    Today's Buzz
  • Jamaal Charles
    Kansas City Chiefs make Jamaal Charles the second highest paid running back in NFL
    NFL Buzz
  • Slash
    Slash and The Conspirators crush it at Hard Rock, AP Awards
    Camera
    20 Photos
  • Monks of Mellonwah
    Exclusive interview: Monks of Mellonwah talk music, touring and more
    Camera
    9 Photos
  • Nikki Bella
    How will fans react if the WWE decides to turn Nikki Bella into a heel?
    Camera
    5 Photos