Snow in the 1939s The Wizard of Oz It was made using the toxic mineral asbestos. Much has changed in the entertainment world since then, but the film starring Judy Garland still inspires creativity to this day, especially the practical effects that were used. It turns out that some of the tricks the team used were more than a little dangerous to the cast and crew, which included the use of asbestos. In the early to mid-1900s, asbestos was widely used on vacation as fake snow, with dozens of brands popping up like “White Magic,” “Pure White,” and “Snow Drift.”
The poppy scene in The Wizard of Oz It has become infamous over the years after viewers learned that the fake snow at the scene was 100% asbestos. In the movie, Dorothy wakes up in a snow-covered poppy field designed by Glinda the Good Witch. Chrysotile, which is white asbestos, was commonly used as fake snow for Christmas decorations, but it was primarily used on ceilings, brake pads, interior fire doors, stage curtains, popcorn ceilings, and more. When asbestos dust is inhaled or ingested, mineral fibers may become permanently trapped in the body. According to Atlas Obscura, The Wizard of Oz, “literally dous[es] its main characters in carcinogens. “
Asbestos fibers trapped within the body can cause lung inflammation, scarring, and even genetic damage. Rare cancer mesothelioma is almost exclusively related to asbestos exposure, along with other cancers and lung diseases. That said, it has not been officially confirmed that anyone from the set of The Wizard of Oz passed away from the use of asbestos in the poppy field scene.
Besides the fake snow on The Wizard of OzAsbestos was also reportedly used in Ray Bolger’s scarecrow costume. Since the character has several encounters with fire in the film, it is believed that his costume was doused with a fire retardant material made from asbestos. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West, uses a lit broom, which was also made of asbestos, to keep her from burning on set. Now film crews are using other methods to create fake snow or deal with real-life flames on set, thanks to emerging technology.
The Wizard of Oz It may be the most beloved movie of all time. However, there were more than a few troubling aspects about its production. Buddy Ebsen, who originally played the Tin Man, landed in the hospital for two weeks after the aluminum used in his makeup leaked into his body and poisoned him in the process. He was replaced by Jack Haley Jr. Margaret Hamilton was severely burned while performing one of the smoke-filled disappearing stunts and had to be rushed to the hospital. It took him six weeks to fully recover from his injuries. Snopes was the first to confirm that asbestos was used in The Wizard of Oz place.
Topics: The Wizard of Oz