A Scarecrow’s Tale

The role of the Scarecrow was immortalized by Ray Bolger in the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz, but he was not originally cast to play that role. First tapped to play the Tin Man, Bolger begged to be recast as the Scarecrow because he idolized Fred Stone, who had played the Scarecrow in the 1902 musical version of The Wizard of Oz.

Fred Stone was famous for his rubber-legged dancing style, and Ray Bolger had seen him perform when he was a child.

The Scarecrow’s costume was fashioned from real straw, burlap, and many coats of rubber. He had to arrive at the studio early in the morning, two hours before filming began. Roy Bolger dropped out of school but he was known for being an auto-didact, and he kept an entire 30-volume set of the Encyclopedia Britannica in his dressing room.

Before the film was finalized, a long dance sequence with Judy Garland and Roy Bolger was cut from the final film. Enjoy!

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