The Wizard of Oz like many great films had its share of accidents during filming. Also, the movie had a few "bloopers"
after the film was completed. Some of these mistakes are quite obvious, while others are rather difficult to spot. In addition, these
"bloopers" include such things as problems in continuity, factual errors, and just outright filming mistakes.
Despite several accidents during the filming of The Wizard of Oz, it was obviously completed and went on to become one of the best-loved films of all time. Here are some of the accidents that occurred during production.
Buddy Ebsen who was cast to play the role of the Tinman, suffered a severe allergic reaction to the aluminum dust in his make-up. As a result, he was forced to forfeit the role. It went to Jack Haley. However, in some of the musical voice overs of "We're Off to See the Wizard", you can still hear Ebsen's voice if you listen very carefully.
Betty Danko, Margaret Hamilton's stunt double as the Wicked Witch of the West, was involved in two mishaps. The first one happened when dance director, Bobby Connolly, fell through the "pit" that the Wicked Witch was to emerge from in Munchkinland. Connolly fell on Betty Danko's shoulders leaving her with a sore back. The other accident, however, was much more severe and occurred during a stunt for the Witch's skywriting scene. In order to get the effect of smoke coming out of the broomstraws, a pipe was used to achieve this result. However, during Betty Danko's filming, this pipe exploded blowing her off the broomstick. She received a very bad bruise on her leg as well as a very bad cut. This landed her in the hospital for eleven days. Eileen Goodwin was brought in to complete the broomstick riding scene.
During Margaret Hamilton's departure from Munchkinland in a cloud of smoke and fire, she was severely burned about the face and right hand when the fire came too quickly during one rehearsal scene. Because of the copper oxide in her green make-up, this created a very serious situation. The make-up was quickly removed with alcohol. Her burns were then covered with Butescin Pictrate and she was bound in gauze. Margaret Hamilton returned to the set six weeks later.
In The Making of the Wizard of Oz by Aljean Harmetz, she includes a comment made by Margaret Hamilton regarding an accident that happened to Billie Burke. "One day in January  she [Margaret Hamilton] picked up the morning paper to discover that Billie Burke had sprained her ankle. "The studio never mentioned my accident, never. But when Billie Burke sprained her ankle, they had an ambulance come and there were pictures of her being carried out. And I was very amused.""
Even poor Terry, the cairn terrier who played Toto, wasn't exempt from an accident during filming. In a rehearsal scene where the Witch's Winkie soldiers are after Toto, one of them jumped on top of her and sprained her foot. An identical double was found. Terry did return to the film several weeks later, though.
The next time you watch The Wizard of Oz see how many of these filming "bloopers" you can spot!
During the sepia-toned Kansas scenes, Dorothy is wearing a brown and yellow gingham dress in order for those sequences to be filmed properly while using this technique. In the Oz scenes, of course, the dress is blue and white. The transition from sepia to technicolor was a very difficult one for the filmmakers to achieve. In fact, each frame of film had to be hand-painted to make the change a smooth one. If you look closely, you can see for just a split second that Dorothy is wearing a brown and yellow dress as she leaves the Gale farmhouse and enters Munchkinland.
Upon Glinda's request, the Munchkins all come out to meet the young lady who fell from a star. One Munchkin in particular emerges from a manhole in the Yellow Brick Road. But, in the next shot this manhole is gone.
When Dorothy is approached by the Munchkin who offers her the lollipop, notice how his position, in relation to her, changes several times as the shot flips back and forth between them.
After the Wicked Witch of the West leaves Munchkinland in a cloud of smoke and fire, Glinda takes Dorothy by the arm and warns her never to let the Ruby Slippers off her feet. During this scene, Glinda whacks herself in the crown with her wand.
During the scene when Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, pay close attention to her pigtails because the length of them varies from short to long and back to short again. Some say her hair length varies periodically throughout the film.
The black, shiny bird that lands on the Scarecrow in the cornfield scene is not a crow, but rather a raven. In Stephen Cox's book, The Munchkins of Oz, he notes the following, "Interestingly, this fact was revealed by Elizabeth Cottonaro, wife of Munchkin Tommy Cottonaro. When she was a child, she met the bird's owner and trainer, Curly Twifard in 1940."
When Dorothy first comes upon the Tinman she is holding two apples in her hands. She drops one in order to tap on his leg. Dorothy drops the other apple as she moves upward, tapping on his body. Then, when she taps on his shoulder, she once again has an apple in her hand.
Some folks say that during the musical number with the Tinman, "If I Only had a Heart", you can see that Dorothy is not wearing the Ruby Slippers. I have never noticed this myself. It is suggested that you need to see the film on a big screen as a wide angle shot in order to notice this "blooper".
Pay close attention to Toto during this same musical number because it is obvious that he is a bit startled when the Tinman "toots" his funnel.
This next "blooper" is probably the most controversial and well known from the film. As Dorothy and her friends pass by the Tinman's cottage, it is "rumored" that one can see a Munchkin hanging in the background. While it is true that "something" can be seen here, it is NOT a hanging Munchkin, but rather a large bird; some say a crane. There were several large birds on loan for this scene from the Los Angeles Zoo and that is what you are seeing in this shot. So, tell all of your friends!
When the Wicked Witch of the West confronts Dorothy and her friends near the Tinman's cottage she attempts to set the Scarecrow on fire. The Tinman uses his funnel to put out the fire. Notice that he replaces the funnel back on his head with the ring on one side, but in the next shot it's on the opposite side.
After Dorothy slaps the Cowardly Lion, notice how she holds Toto close to her face in order to camouflage her attempt to laugh. Stephen Cox points out in his book, The Munchkins of Oz, that "director Victor Fleming once noted this scene was difficult to capture because Garland kept breaking up."
As Dorothy and her friends are driven around in the carriage at the Emerald City by the Horse of a Different Color, watch closely as the driver tries hard to restrain the horse from trying to lick itself. The filmmakers used a white horse and sponged it down with different colors of Jello. They had a hard time keeping the horse from trying to lick it off.
Also, during the Cowardly Lion's musical number of "If I Were King of the Forest" there's a scene where he excitedly wags his tail back and forth several times. Watch closely as you can see a string or a wire attached to it which is what's causing it to move so wildly.
In a scene in the Witch's Castle, the Wicked Witch and her head Winged Monkey are standing by the window. She says to him, "I've sent a little insect on ahead to take the fight out of them." What she is referring to is the Jitterbug. This elaborate musical number was cut from the movie altogether.
As Dorothy's friends are climbing the cliff in order to rescue her from the Wicked Witch, pay close attention as the Tinman is pulling on the Cowardly Lion's tail because there is a square block of wood visibly attached to it.
After the Scarecrow gets his diploma of Th.D. from the Wizard he recites a mathematical equation to show off his brains. This sounds very similar to the "Pythagorean Theorem" in mathematics, however, it is mathematically incorrect. page.