The Wizard of Oz: Rumors and Burns
There are various rumors of alleged movie set accidents that are said to have taken place during the filming of The Wizard of Oz. One of the most famous rumors is that one of the characters who played a munchkin hung himself, which some say can be seen while watching the film. This rumor was started around 1980, so whether there is any truth behind it or not is based entirely on opinion.
One of the stories behind this suicide is that the person playing this character was in love with another munchkin actor, and when his love was not returned, he hung himself.
This however, according to experts, was not actually the case. Some say that the set designer borrowed various types of birds to make the set more realistic, so one of the birds in the background can explain the swinging figure that is seen in the film. Several other rumors claim that the director’s daughter hung herself after not being cast the lead role.
One movie set accident that did take place while filming The Wizard of Oz, however, involved actor Margaret Hamilton. In a scene detailing Hamilton’s exit from Munchkinland, the dropping of a trap door was delayed so that it would not be shown in the film. The special effects of the scene were supposed to have been triggered as Hamilton stepped onto the trap door. As the door fell, which was hidden by rising smoke, real fire was to come up. This turned out to be a terrible strategy because it ultimately caused a blaze of fire, which resulted in the burning of Hamilton. Hamilton suffered from second degree burns on her right hand, and first degree burns on the side of her face. Because of the burns, Hamilton had to heal for six weeks before returning to film The Wizard of Oz.
It has been said that Hamilton considered suing the makers of The Wizard of Oz, but decided against it. Hamilton knew that if she did sue, then she would never work in the industry again—everyone knows one another and she would be given a bad name. Hamilton did say, however, that she would never work with fire again, which is understandable considering the amount of pain she went through for the role of the Wicked Witch of the West.