471

Historic and important in-depth production archive concerning the making of The Wizard of Oz.

Currency:USD Category:Memorabilia Start Price:800,000.00 USD Estimated At:800,000.00 - 1,200,000.00 USD
Historic and important in-depth production archive concerning the making of The Wizard of Oz.
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471. Historic and important in-depth production archive concerning the making of The Wizard of Oz. (MGM, 1939) The Wizard of Oz is not only one of the greatest films in cinema history and the most beloved multi-generational fantasy musical ever made, it is a landmark in the culmination of the finest examples of art and craft in Hollywood filmmaking. The movie ticked all the boxes when it came to creative vision manifesting through, story, art direction, costume design, makeup, musical composition, but it also innovated stunning visual effects in ways that endure to this very day. Celebrated for its use of fantasy storytelling, musical score and memorable characters as well as technical advancements in makeup and special effects, the creative use of Technicolor, and general stagecraft. While the magic trick plays out seamlessly onscreen, we know that behind-the-scenes, it takes an army of talented artists coming together in the spirit of collaboration to create such a flawlessly spectacular experience for the audience. Historians, fans and collectors have scrutinized The Wizard of Oz for the better part of a century, wringing every existing drop of knowledge and history from it. They've pored over every frame of the film and hung on every word spoken by the dwindling cast and crew who were there in the making of the movie. For any more insight or information on this classic film, you'd have to build a time machine and travel back to 1938. This archive is just such a time machine!

This archive represents the genesis, development and culmination of The Wizard of Oz. It includes the earliest preproduction, developmental and production materials spanning from early 1938 through the making of the masterpiece, which was released in 1939. Here you'll find initial concepts, early drafts of the screenplay, contracts, licensing arrangements, lyrics and music, director and star contracts, "Munchkin" mischief, shot logs, and special effects setups and records. Many of these documents are signed by the players. Chief among these fascinating materials are the many versions of the evolving story and script, which went through as many iterations as it did contributing writers. Inspired by the popular success and acceptance of Walt Disney's feature length Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, MGM bought the rights to Frank L. Baum's wildly popular children's book. Fantasy was a new milieu to the mainstream studio system, so there was much testing of the waters, trial and error, and growing pains in the adaptation of Baum's story to the big screen.

It all begins with the written word. And the process of finalizing the screenplay for this classic was an epic journey. This archive includes the materials comprising major steps in that journey including the very first step. On February 26, 1938 MGM writer Joe Cannon wrote a preliminary treatment sketch consisting of notes for adapting The Wizard of Oz for film:

1) Typed carbon copy 4-page treatment titled "The Wizard of Oz", on 8.5 x 11 in. printed official MGM Inter-Office Communication stationery. Typed, Joe Cannon (Joe is crossed out and "WM." is written above it in pencil) and dated "2/26/38". Studio inkstamped, "File Copy" and "Vault Copy" at the top. The document reads in part: "The following is a suggestion of the possibility of a way to get over the human being as a scarecrow and keep the idea of him not having a brain. In the Land of Oz everyone works - everyone does something for the good of the Land of Oz. The Scarecrow was found to be so dumb that any job they tried to give him he couldn't do. So they finally decided if he couldn't think he must not have a brain. The only thing that they could find for him to do in the whole Land of Oz that didn't require any thinking and a person without a brain could do was to stand in the middle of a field and be a scarecrow." It is clear that Cannon is grappling with the story's characters being humanized versions of their fairy tale selves. Here he also attempts to justify the "Tin Woodman" as a person, in part: "To get over for the screen the Tin Man is a human being in the tin suit. In the Land of Oz in addition to the people all working, everyone tried to make everyone else happy and contented. No fighting, no arguing. But the Tin Woodman had always been getting into fights - telling people what to do and doing nothing himself. He tried to impress the people of Oz with his own importance. The people of Oz decided that this man, on account of the way he treated people and that he only thought of himself, did not have a heart." Dealing in this new genre of Fantasy, Cannon expresses uncertainty about the degree to which magic should be used in the movie. In part: "In the story, "the Wizard of Oz", everything that happens in it, happens presumably by the use of MAGIC. As you know, Dorothy is able do all the things that she does in the Land o Oz because she has killed the Bad Witch and is now wearing the Bad Witch's silver shoes and has been kissed on the forehead by the Good Witch and it has left a mark and for these two reasons she is allowed to get to see the Wizard of Oz. I think you should decide just how much of the story you want based on the use of MAGIC. Cannon goes on to conclude with a comparison to "Another picture that was somewhat parallel to our problem..." "The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court..."
2) Noel Langley's original First Draft 86-page handwritten manuscript screenplay dated April 5, 1938, (41 pages as paginated, but a full 86 pages of handwriting are present), on 8 x 12.5 in. lined paper, plus 12 additional mimeographed 8.5 x 11 in. pages interleaved. With additional loose pages of notes with various instructions for mimeographs and a "Vault Copy" cover page. At the top of the screenplay is written in ink, "Screenplay Wizard of Oz Noel Langley 4/5/38". The magical first scene of the film opens with: "FADE IN: L.S. A flat dry expanse of Kansas Countryside, with a farm in the middle-distance. Its sheds, silo and few scattered trees stand out in sharp relief to the flatness all about. A road leads towards it from the camera, and along this road MISS GULCH comes into view on her bicycle, peddling towards the house..." By this First Draft, some cast was already determined as in the examples: "C. S. Hickory (Buddy Ebsen) He is leaning against a shed wall sharpening a piece of wood with a knife" and also, "C. S. (Truck Shot) Dorothy (Judy Garland) walking along a row of hen roosts with a basket of eggs swinging in her hand, and Toto following behind, singing the Kansas song." The first 11-pages focus on character development particularly between Dorothy and Hickory, which reveals Dorothy's backstory before "Aunt Em" and "Uncle Henry" rescued her: "Dorothy: No, it's not that. It's just that Auntie Em and Uncle Henry never really wanted me here: they just thought they were obliged to take me out of the asylum because nobody else was going to." In this draft, after "Miss Gulch" takes "Toto" away, Dorothy also has a conversation with Aunt Em that poignantly sets up the themes that follow through the many iterations of screenplays in setting up the lesson that, "There's no place like home": "Dorothy: I want to go away too. Aunt Em: Now that's silly, Dorothy. Where would you go? Dorothy: Anywhere...You don't want me here....any more than you wanted Toto...you don't love me and Uncle Henry doesn't either."
3) Noel Langley's original Second Draft 96-page screenplay, dated May 9, 1938, including 10 fully handwritten pages. Cover entitled "The Wizard of Oz" with "From: Noel Langley 5/9/38" and stamped "Vault Copy". Pages are standard 8.5 x 11 in., with handwritten pages on 8 x 12.5 in. lined paper. Numerous mimeographed pages feature Langley's ink annotations and edits. Of particular note, this script mentions silver shoes - not ruby slippers. Also the "Wicked Witch of the West" has a grand scheme to take control of the Emerald City by marrying her son "Bulbo" to "Sylvia" (characters not in the final version of the film) and making him the King of Oz.
4) Noel Langley's original Third Draft 103-page screenplay, dated May 14, 1938, including 59 fully handwritten pages. Cover entitled "The Wizard of Oz" with "From: Noel Langley 5/9/38", below, in pencil, subsequent revision dates are written: "5/23"; "5/25"; "5/27"; "6/31"; "6/4", and stamped "Vault Copy". Pages are standard 8.5 x 11 in., with handwritten pages on 8 x 12.5 in. lined paper. No binding brads are present. Mimeographed pages are heavily annotated in ink with Langley's edits. Of particular note, in this draft Langley vividly describes "Munchkin Country" as being in color when Dorothy and Toto arrive: "Outside the door a blaze of colour greets her. The inside of the door is black & gray to give it more contrast, this is the first time in the picture that the countryside is shown in bright greens and blues - the Kansas scenes were all gray washes..." Of great significance, in this revision, Langley changes the "Silver Shoes" to "Ruby" and writes that they are "glittering & sparkling in the sun."
5) Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf [Fourth Draft] 115-page "continuation of screenplay" dated July 5, 1938. Cover entitled "The Wizard of Oz" with "From: E.A. Woolf / F. Ryerson July 5, 1938"; stamped "Vault Copy". Several inter-office notes are present, indicating present script contains changes made to Woolf & Ryerson's script of 7/5/38. Numerous pencil annotations present throughout.
6) Noel Langley's original Fifth Draft 117-page continuation of "Oz Sequence Only" screenplay, dated August 2, 1938, including 26 fully handwritten pages. Cover entitled "The Wizard of Oz (Oz Sequence Only)" with "From: Noel Langley 8/2/38" and stamped "Vault Copy". Pages are standard 8.5 x 11 in., with most handwritten pages on 8 x 12.5 in. lined paper. Mimeographed pages are heavily annotated in ink with Langley's edits. Several handwritten inter-office notes accompany the script, one stating in part: "Changes on Wizard of Oz Rush to to to Co. tonight. One copy to be rushed to [director Victor] Fleming personally on #26." Among the edits, "Full Technicolor" is written above the text as the graphic scene of "Munchkin Country" is described as being viewed by Dorothy as she opens her black and gray door.
7) Special effects logs from The Wizard of Oz, including 19 log pages accompanied with 16 photographs. The log pages state the title of the particular effect, including detailed remarks, including construction costs, camera department notes (including lens and speed), etc. Among the special effects listed: Spinning smoke ring effect, exterior and interior shots of farmhouse inside tornado, exterior of house falling into camera after it leaves tornado, exterior Witch-Fireball matte, interior of tornado miniature, exterior farmhouse leaving tornado miniature background, exterior Witch Skywriting, exterior Witch's Castle, inserts sparks from Witch's shoe,
8) The Wizard of Oz Shot Log archive. Consisting of (20+) pages of typed documents (10 with annotations), measuring from 8.5 x 11 in. and 8.5 x 5.5 in., Culver City, California, March 27, 1939 to September 21, 1939, being memos and shot logs from the matte painting division of MGM's special effects department regarding post-production on The Wizard of Oz, with 3 carbon copies, some pencil smudges to shot logs, otherwise fine. Warren Newcombe headed MGM's matte painting division during the production of The Wizard of Oz. Some of the most fantastical images in the film, such as the Emerald City of Oz, the Witch's castle, the poppy fields, the battlements, and certain interiors, were composites painted by Newcombe and his staff rather than constructed scenery. During post production, Newcombe's scenery was shot in Technicolor, and either combined with the live action scenes shot earlier during principal photography, or occasionally, as in the establishing shot of the Witch's castle, used alone in the film. This intriguing collection of memos includes the proposed schedule of shooting for the various "Newcombe shots," as they were referred to by the studio, indicating which of the four Technicolor cameras was used, along with pencil notations recording the date of test shots and actual takes. On February 28, 1938, Herman J. Mankiewicz became the first of ten screenwriters that would be assigned to transpose the popular fantasy tale into a movie. Several days later, on March 7, Mankiewicz turned in an incomplete script. The very same day Mankiewicz turned in his script, Ogden Nash was assigned to write another treatment. On March 11, 1938 a third writer, Noel Langley, was given the same assignment. None of the writers knew that the others had been hired. Eleven days later, on March 22, 1938, Noel Langley turned in a 43-page treatment, which would become the First Draft of the accepted version of The Wizard of Oz. On March 23, Herman Mankiewicz was officially taken off the film. Ogden Nash stayed until April 16, but turned in no written material. Langley's 86-page treatment included much of what would be the framework of the film; however, it was still far from the shooting script of October 10, 1938. It was populated by extraneous characters as a result of Langley's attempt to tie Kansas as literally as possible to Oz. The farmhand who becomes the "Tin Woodsman" (who petitions the "Wizard" for a heart) had stiff joints and was deemed "heartless" by "Lizzie Smithers," a character who worked at the soda fountain. This necessitated that Lizzie Smithers turn up in Oz. "Dorothy's" "Uncle Henry" also turned up in Oz as the son of the "Wicked Witch of the West". For some reason, Langley did not invent a third farmhand to correspond to the "Cowardly Lion". The Lion's Kansas alter ego, "Zeke", did not show up until the final shooting script. In Langley's treatment, the Cowardly Lion was strictly an Oz character. The invention of such standard fairy-tale characters by Langley is ironic, since The Wizard of Oz, written in 1899 and published in 1900, was consciously intended by its author to be a new kind of fairy tale - an uniquely American fairy tale not dependent on the winged fairies, enchantments, cruelty, and blood-letting of the classical European variety. On June 10, 1938, Langley was removed from The Wizard of Oz production. He had written one treatment and four scripts. His script of May 14 was, he assumed, the final script for the picture. He was pleased with it and so were the film's songwriters, E. Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen. The script, dated May 14, 1938 was actually a "temporary complete" script; changes were made two or three times a week by Langley between May 14 and June 4. On June 3, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf were officially assigned to The Wizard of Oz. The final screen credits on the film read, "Screenplay by Noel Langley, Florence and Edgar Allan Woolf. Adaptation by Noel Langley." Three days after they were assigned to the project, Ryerson and Woolf turned in four pages of notes. They were distressed by "a total lack of any real emotion" in Langley's Oz sequence. In mid-June, Noel Langley learned that Ryerson and Woolf had been assigned to rewrite his script. He was angry and astonished, since, as he put it, "Everybody had liked my script ... then I read their script. I had a terrific bust-up with the director. I stormed out of his office and went to Eddie Knopf [MGM story editor] and told him to take my name off the script. That was essentially saying they could blacklist me or boot me out of the business. I refused to come to the studio. And I refused to talk to the director. When he called me at home, I wouldn't answer the phone." Surprisingly, Langley's tantrum brought results. He would be allowed to veto some of the new material. Ryerson and Woolf completed their version of the script on July 5th and signed off the picture on July 27. Langley signed back on July 30, immediately picked up a copy of the script and took it apart page by page, crossing out as much of the "illiterate mush" of the Ryerson-Woolf dialogue as he could, replacing it with his own. However, much of what they had done he could not undo. The studio still was not satisfied. They asked the lyricist for the film, E.Y. Harburg, to make whatever changes he thought proper. Harburg stated, "The final shooting script is actually a blend of Ryerson, Woolf and Langley." "I liked a lot of things Langley had done, but I threw some other stuff out. I clarified the story, edited the whole thing and brought back Langley's story, which was simpler. And I added some of my own ideas." Still, there were three more writers to come... Jack Mintz worked from August 3 to September 2 and turned in four pages of suggestions. Mintz was not a scriptwriter, but a gag writer, and he was called in to suggest specific jokes for the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion.
Sid Silvers was assigned to the film from October 17 to October 22, the week after it started production. He was to be available on set to handle any rough spots for director Richard Thorpe. Silvers left when Thorpe was fired. John Lee Mahin was the final writer, and would spend almost as long as Langley on the picture. Mahin was assigned to The Wizard of Oz from October 27, 1938, to January 10, 1939. Noel Langley's connection with The Wizard of Oz was severed on October 31, 1938, when he was dismissed from the film for the second and final time.
Also included in this extensive archive: Signed contract between Loew's, Inc. and The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind director Victor Fleming, dated November 13, 1939; "Over The Rainbow" lyrics typed & signed by composer E. Y. Harburg plus handwritten letter by Harburg about his association with Judy Garland; Original 7-page contract, dated October 1, 1938, between Loew's Inc. and Leo Singer, who is tasked to procure and supply "(124) midgets for used in the production of our photoplay Wizard of Oz..." Also includes inter-office communication on MGM letterhead concerning a request by "little people" agent Leo Singer to fire some of the midgets, from whom he "anticipates a great deal of trouble" - one for attempted murder, and the other for assault with a knife. MGM employee comments, "Pleasant little fellows"; Judy Garland's first employment record with MGM, dated April 1, 1936, plus a document signed by both Judy Garland and her mother, Ethel Garland, dated December 31, 1937, relating to compensation after assignment between MGM and Loew's; Other miscellaneous Wizard of Oz-related items. As is the case with working archives, the condition of the material varies, considering it was working material by the studio and handled multiple times during the production. Varies from very good to fair condition, with some chipping along edges and occasional tears. In very few instances old tape repairs are present. The depth and scope of this archive is impossible to convey in this auction catalog. Indeed, the content is worthy of an entire scholarly book on the subject. The importance of this developmental archive is impossible to overstate. Worthy of inclusion in the finest collections of the history of cinema. $800,000 - $1,200,000