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Hanging Munchkin


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#16    justcallmefox

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:11 PM

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Claim:   A lovelorn actor portraying one of the munchkins hanged himself on the set during the filming of The Wizard of Oz, and his death was captured on-camera and used in the final print.
Status:   False.

Origins:   The  
so-called "munchkin suicide" scene occurs at the very end of the Tin Woodsman sequence, as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodsman head down the road on their way to the Emerald City. This sequence begins with  Dorothy and the Scarecrow trying to pick fruit from the talking apple trees, encompasses their discovery of the rusted tin man and their encounter with the Wicked Witch of the West (who tries to set the Scarecrow on fire), and ends with the trio heading off to Oz in search of the Wizard. To give the indoor set used in this sequence a more "outdoors" feel, several birds of various sizes were borrowed from the Los Angeles Zoo and allowed to roam the set. (A peacock, for example, can be seen wandering around just outside the Tin Woodsman's shack while Dorothy and the Scarecrow attempt to revive him with oil.) At the very end of this sequence, as the three main characters move down the road and away from the camera, one of the larger birds (often said to be an emu, but more probably a crane) standing at the back of the set moves around and spreads its wings. No munchkin, no hanging -- just a big bird.

The unusual movement in the background of the scene described above was noticed years ago, and it was often attributed to a stagehand's accidentally being caught on the set after the cameras started rolling (or, more spectacularly, a stagehand's falling out of a prop tree into the scene). With the advent of home video, viewing audiences were able to rewind and replay the scene in question, view it in slow-motion, and look at individual frames in the sequence (all on screens smaller and less distinct than those of theaters), and imaginations ran wild. The change in focus of the rumor from a hapless stagehand to a suicidal munchkin (driven to despair over his unrequited love for a female munchkin) seems to have coincided with the heavy promotion and special video re-release of The Wizard of Oz in celebration of its 50th anniversary in 1989: someone made up the story of a diminutive actor who, suffering the pangs of unrequited love for a female "little person," decided to end it all right there on the set, and soon everyone was eager to share this special little film "secret" with others. Since (grossly exaggerated) tales of munchkin lechery and drunken misbehavior on the "Oz" set had been circulating for years (primarily spread by Judy Garland herself in television talk show appearances), the wild suicide story had some seeming background plausibility to it. (Other versions of the rumor combined elements from both explanations, such as the claim that the strange figure was actually a stagehand hanging himself.)

The logistics of this alleged hanging defy all credulity. First of all, the forest scenes in The Wizard of Oz were filmed before the Munchkinland scenes, and thus none of the munchkin actors would have been present. And whether one believes that the figure on the film is a munchkin or a stagehand, it is simply impossible that a human being could have fallen onto a set actively being used for filming, and yet none of the dozens of people present -- actors, directors, cameramen, sound technicians, light operators -- failed to notice or react to the occurrence. (The tragic incident would also had to have been overlooked by all the directors, editors, film cutters, musicians, and others who worked on the film in post-production as well.) That anyone could believe a scene featuring a real suicide would have been left intact in a classic film for over fifty years is simply incredible.



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#17    Yelekiah

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:16 PM

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dude if your going to be rude about it see if i care

Hardly. If I was being rude I'd call you an idiot for posting an idiotic thread that said "whooo!"
But I didn't now did I? I calmly posted that the munchkin incident had no literal truth. This is a discussion board and I have a right to say that.

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#18    justcallmefox

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:18 PM

^now everybody, be nice and stop fighting or the thread will be closed down.

Government is a terrible servant and a dangerous master.
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#19    Shivel

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:18 PM

Looks as if we were both wrong, it wasn't a munchkin or an ostrich, though it really is hard to tell what kind of bird it is..

Thanks justcallmefox.  thumbsup.gif

Also, Tira, just because someone disagrees with you doesn't make them rude


#20    Tira180

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:18 PM

i am out of here angry.gif


#21    Tira180

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:19 PM

i am kidding grin2.gif i am having a bad day


#22    Tira180

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:21 PM

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i am kidding grin2.gif i am having a bad day

how do you lock this topic


#23    Shivel

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:21 PM

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i am kidding grin2.gif i am having a bad day


...

Alright then, I hope things get better for you. You really should make it more obvious when you're kidding though.  tongue.gif




#24    Shivel

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:22 PM


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how do you lock this topic


A mod must do it for you.

Edited by JayMan895, 14 October 2005 - 07:22 PM.


#25    Tira180

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:23 PM

I use to think it wasn't real but in some ways it can or it can't


#26    Yelekiah

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:24 PM

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Also, Tira, just because someone disagrees with you doesn't make them rude

Right. And I was not being rude, I assure you. I'm the 32nd nicest member on this forum.  wink2.gif

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#27    Tira180

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:25 PM

thumbsup.gif ok..


#28    Shivel

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:25 PM

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Right. And I was not being rude, I assure you. I'm the 32nd nicest member on this forum.  wink2.gif


I don't doubt it for a second.  tongue.gif


#29    Hinata

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:27 PM

there you are Tira i was looking for you wub.gif


#30    BurnSide

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 07:29 PM

Tira, do not create multiple accounts to talk to yourself.
Yes, we can tell. I don't see why Hinata would be looking for you since you're both on the same computer.

This topic is being closed. I'm suspending your second accout and sending you a message, i suggest you read it.





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