Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The "Munchkins" Get A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Seven of the nine surviving Munchins from The Wizard of Oz were presented with the 2,352nd Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today. Present were Mickey Carroll, Ruth Duccini, Jerry Maren (holding lollipop in photo, as he was one of the "Lollipop Guild" in the movie), Margaret Pellegrini, Meinhardt Raabe, Karl Slover and Clarence Swensen. A crowd of photographers, cameramen, and onlookers filled the sidewalk outside Mann's Chinese Theater to watch Hollywood Mayor Johnny Grant present the star after the group of Munchkin actors walked down a mock Yellow Brick Road. When the actors spoke they were greated with enthusiasm by the crowd, as when, for example Meinhardt Raabe recited his famous lines from the movie: "As Coroner, I must aver I thoroughly examined her. And she's not only merely dead, She's really, most sincerely dead.”

Mann's Chinese Theater was done up right with multi-color balloons strung overhead in the shape of a rainbow. Also present were several other stars of the Hollywood era with a connection to the event, such as Margaret O'Brien (former child star who appeared with Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis) and Ann Rutherford (who appeared in another 1939 MGM release— Gone With the Wind).

Its amazing that a campaign was necessary to get the Munchkins their deserved Star (link: KNBC story), in light of the fact that the Munchkins are probably more famous than just about anyone who has a star. I'm reminded too of the great efforts by author/researcher Stephen Cox, whose book The Munchkins of Oz (now in its third edition but originally published in 1989), set the record straight on the credits for the little people who are merely credited as "The Munchkins" in the movie. Had Cox not done the research in 1988-89, such an effort would have been impossible today.

The Wizard of Oz (1939): Judy Garland exudes sincerity as she convinces the audience that even if your life is in sepia, your dreams can still be in Technicolor, in a movie that will be watched and enjoyed literally forever.

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