Press photo - Brawl - while filming Wizard of Oz. (3 replies and 4 comments)
During filming, the Dwarfs ( height restricted little people) discussed pay and conditions with each other and discovered some actors were getting more money than the others, this resulted in a heated debate which allegedly turned into a free for all brawl! The Producer obviously capitalised on this and used it to promote the film.
The photo looks ‘fake’ but obviously is a retake press photo of the events, made for the marketing people. The brawl was widely publicised in the world press, very clever.
Never discuss pay while the camera is rolling!!
Well, er, how can I put things politely?
OK, I think I have it!
An old friend of mine spent 17 memorable years touring with a certain heavy metal star and came back from the tours with ever-more hair-raising stories. We would exchange stories - I told him about the customer who robbed a bank in order to become a rock star and our roadie who electrocuted himself twice in one night and he told me the story of the midgets -
When heavy metal rock-n-roll star Mr.O (as he is known to his crew and friends) was on the road with his Christmas show as 'The Evil Santa' he had a troop of midgets and there was one midget that more or less continuously got drunk and caused trouble with the other midgets. He also liked to pick-up 'working' girls for after the show.
Before the show, the midgets (who were supposed to be Santa's elves) had a sideshow where they were supposed to frolic for the amusement of the fans, who, for twenty bucks could get a Polaroid of themselves with the elves. To look more like elves, they had large ears stuck to the sides of their heads.
The 'elves' invariably smuggled booze onto the elvish set and that made them sweat and then the ears fell off. When the makeup girl found the ears had come off, she had to tell security and they went in confiscating bottles of booze.
One day a drunken brawl broke out in Santa's grotto as the trouble-making midget tried to 'bottle' one of his fellow midgets and security had to drag them apart. Needless to say, Mr.O was furious.
Towards the end of the show, the elves got hanged one by one by Mr.O. A noose was put around their necks and they appeared to get hanged. They were of course on a harness - but as long as they were hanging in the air, they were for a few short moments completely helpless.
When Mr.O got to the trouble-making midget he hanged him and then pulled his pants down! It was immediately apparent that (in preparation for the expected after-show party) had taken a double tab of Viagra. And not everything about a midget is midget-sized.
Later on that tour, the same midget started a fight on the midget tour-bus. There were five busses. One for Mr. and Mrs.O, one for the lead guitarist and his Mrs., one for the rest of the band, one for key personnel such as the tour manager and techs and one for the midgets. Somewhere in the Mid-West, the driver of the midget bus radioed forward to tell Mr.O that he was going to have to pull-over because of the fight that was getting out of hand.
A Wallmart was close so the convoy of jet-black busses pulled in there and soon became the center of attention for curious shoppers. Mr.O in his long black cloak was fuming. He stormed out of the lead bus and marched to the midget bus, fed-up to the back-teeth with this one trouble-maker.
He went on-board the bus and dragged the offending midget out, got the driver to open the luggage rack under the body of the bus and threw the midget in there.
"You can do the rest of the journey in there, then you can't cause any trouble!"
A middle-aged housewife saw this and poked Mr.O from behind with a stick. "I saw what you did to that poor little man. I shall report you to the American League of Little People! You see if I don't!"
Mr.O slowly turned and looked at the woman and after thinking for a while, said in his laconic Brummy accent "F-off misses! He's my F'ing midget!"
And a squeaky voice from under the bus chimed in "Yer! F-off misses! I'm his F'ing midget!"
That’s a lovely story, it really is. I love it. Anyone mad enough to employ midgets and have black buses and have a “brummie” accent will be called “Ozzy” for sure,
His “missus” is just as potty. Yes, I certainly know what you mean!!
That’s a fantastic story, pity we can’t get that on film.
I met Kenny Baker ( Star Wars R2D2) at Wembley studios the old Reddifusion TV studios where “Time Bandits” was being made. I had to go through some double doors on the second floor and as I pushed the doors to open it, I felt some resistance, so I pushed even harder, I looked through a small window in the door to see what was blocking it but I saw nothing. So I gave it an almighty push and opened it and there on the floor in a heap was Kenny Baker dressed in a Roman uniform
With his bent spear. I picked him up and tried to straighten out his spear but being made of wood, it snapped! I then tried to put some shape back into his helmet but being made of plastic that too snapped. He then had to rush off and do his scene minus his spear and helmet, I think he borrowed one in the end. I had to rush to the roof where the “Giant” with a galleon boat on his head was being filmed. The boat on his head kept falling off as he had to run across the roof fast so his body fat flapped up and down (72 FPS) while smoke billowed in his eyes. Took all Saturday morning to do that one. Kenny Baker was a lovely man, softly spoken and had impeccable manners. Lovely singing voice and sang in a group called the “ Minitones”. Sorry to bore everyone.
You cruel and heartless swine!
Anyway, the sequel to the Mr.O story is that Mr.O himself was no stranger to the sauce and was not always as wide-awake as he might be!
The tour had to be interrupted for medical treatment.
The grand finale was that Mr.O was to explode and bits of his body (a cannon loaded with offal) was sprayed across the audience. This was done by Mr.O hitting the last note of the night and then pressing a foot pedal. This triggered a row of thunderflashes in front of Mr.O and precisely one second later the cannon fired one hundredweight of offal in the air where Mr.O had been standing.
He was of course supposed to duck. One night Mr.O was a bit 'tired' and he forgot to duck. One hundredweight of offal hit him in the back of the head and he had to be taken to hospital with severe whiplash and concussion.
He's probably the last of the great rock-n-roll eccentrics. This current lot are very tame. It's all vegans with smartphones nowadays!
If Mike told me that there had NOT been a drunken brawl between the midgets, I would shake my head in disbelief. There is something about show-biz midgets that causes fights and nights of drunken debauchery!
I could tell you stories . . . but not here!
Prey do! I dare you.
Hmm, I guess he hade a short temper!
Very good, at least you looked at it.