OFF-TOPIC: WIZARD OF OZ TRIVIA: SO BIZARRE, IT'S CREEPY
A little movie trivia to kick off the weekend. During the filming of the beloved classic "Wizard of Oz" in late 1938, the MGM production staff was looking for a coat for actor Frank Morgan to wear in his role as charlatan Professor Marvel. Mr. Morgan also played the Wizard and various small roles in the film. The film's publicist explained the kind of coat they were looking for: "They wanted grandeur gone to seed. A nice-looking coat but very tattered."
According to the publicist: ". . . the wardrobe department went down to an old second-hand store on Main Street and bought a whole rack of coats. And Frank Morgan and the wardrobe man and Victor Fleming [the director] got together and chose one. It was kind of a Prince Albert coat. It was black broadcloth and it had a velvet collar, but the nap was all worn off the velvet."
The coat fit Morgan perfectly. It had exactly the right look of shabby gentility, so they used it in the film.
One hot afternoon during filming, Frank Morgan happened to turn out the pocket. Inside was a name that caused Morgan to do a double take -- the name was "L. Frank Baum." Mr. Baum, of course, was the creator of "The Wizard of Oz." Back in 1900, he wrote the book that the film was based on, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."
The folks at MGM knew this was an astounding find. They figured out the identity of the tailor in Chicago and sent him pictures of the coat. The tailor sent back a notarized letter saying that the coat had been made for Mr. Baum. And then Mr. Baum's widow identified the coat, too.
MGM was convinced, but others thought the story was a publicity stunt. It sounds almost too good to be true--but what a great story.
Join us for a ghost tour downtown Pittsburgh this weekend: http://www.hauntedpittsburghtours.com/