It’s fair to say things were a lot less comfortable back in the olden days of Hollywood. While the stars of new movies get fancy trailers and dedicated costume geniuses, the drama movie icons of the past had a much harder time.
The Wizard of Oz is one of the best family movies and best fantasy movies ever made, with its impact stretching for almost a century now since it was released in 1939.
But there are numerous backstage stories around how things were unpleasant for those in front of the camera, including Judy Garland. Perhaps most famously, original Tin Man actor Buddy Ebsen had to depart the adventure movie when he was hospitalised due to an allergic reaction to the aluminium in his body paint.
Things were no picnic, either, for Bert Lahr, who portrayed the Cowardly Lion – responsible for providing much of the comedy movie edge to the story.
Lahr wore a very impressive costume in the movie, as well as a tremendous mask courtesy of legendary makeup artist Jack Dawn. In fact, the costume worn in the movie was made of real lion skin and fur.
The use of real animal skin might have made the character look more realistic, but the effect on Lahr was pretty awful. The costume, depending on which report you believe, weighed as much as 100 pounds. That’s equivalent to carrying around an adult Rottweiler all day and, unsurprisingly, wearing the costume was a sweaty, smelly nightmare for the committed actor inside.
The costume authenticated officially as being worn by Lahr sold at auction in 2014 for a very impressive $3m, according to CBS News. We wouldn’t recommend that the buyer tries wearing it though. 80 years probably haven’t been kind.
For more classics and the best movies to watch, take a look at our lists of the best science fiction movies, the best horror movies, and the best thriller movies ever made.