Historical Events  Movies
Hanging Munchkin

Was it a bird, was it a Munchkin?

MMDE: A Munchkin actor hung himself on screen

Current: A Munchkin actor did not hang himself on screen

Another Wizard of Oz false memory?

Many people remember seeing something strange in the background hanging from a tree at the end of the Tin Man sequence. It looked like a Munchkin, and the story was this little fellow was one of the dwarf actors brought in who committed suicide after being rejected by another female dwarf who was also acting as a Munchkin.

The story gained prominence in an Irving Welsh play (yes, of "Trainspotting" fame) "Babylon Heights", which followed the livs of the real-life dwarfs recruited as Munchkin actors for the movie.

However the studio claims they brought in several large birds from a local zoo and allowed to wander around the fake forest, in order to give it a more realistic feel. Specifically, they claim it is a crane. Urban myth or alternative memory? You decide...

Media

It's been covered in many major media outlets, including the BBC, the Telegraph and even Time.

The Hollywood studio MGM had just enjoyed a massive hit with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and they were keen to repeat this success. Staying with the fantasy theme, they spent $3m on The Wizard of Oz, which was a fortune back then for a movie. The gamble paid off, and the movie was a runaway hit, being declared in 1967 by TIME “the most popular single film property in the history of U.S. television.”

Dark side

All was not so well in some quarters, however. There were persistent rumors of the movie being cursed due to many serious accidents which happened during the filming, including two of the winged monkey actors being injured when their cables broke, and the Witch's stunt double badly burning her leg when the broomstick exploded. Also, the Tin Man was poisoned by the aluminum in his make-up and ended up in hospital.

The story if the tragic love struck Munchkin comitting suicide just become part of that superstition.