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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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We’re off to see the cast cursed

The Wizard of Oz supposedly comes with a curse. Many of those involved with the film and subsequent theatre productions are said to have become victims of the curse.

Reiver is not superstitious and nothing bad has ever happened as a result – touch wood.

But recent events at two Wizard of Oz productions in Cumbria suggest the curse may have been rekindled.

First, Copeland Amateur Theatrical Society’s six-night run at Whitehaven Civic Hall.

Preparations were thorough. There were even auditions for the role of Dorothy’s dog Toto, with Blossom edging out Rosie.

And at the dress rehearsal Rosie revealed how unimpressed she was at missing out on the part.

Rosie made an appearance on stage as Dorothy, played by Amy Smith, finished singing one of her songs.

Dorothy walked across the stage only to... put her foot in it.

Her famous ruby-red slippers were now more brown than red.

The Sands Centre in Carlisle has also just hosted a version of The Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy was played by actress Dani Harmer, pictured left.

The huge board on the side of the Sands advertised the production, with Harmer spelt ‘Hamer’. Staff corrected the mistake by creating an R with black gaffer tape, which begs the question of why they had used up all their Rs.

A forthcoming production of Roger Rabbit, perhaps?

If a defecating dog and a missing ‘R’ are not evidence of the curse, here are some examples from the classic 1939 film.

Four months after the film was released Frank Morgan, who played The Wizard, was involved in a car accident in which his chauffeur was killed.

Toto broke a paw when one of the Wicked Witch’s guards stepped on it.

Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West, was badly burned during a stunt.

And Judy Garland began taking amphetamines not long after playing Dorothy and soon progressed to barbiturates. She died aged 47 after accidentally overdosing.

Some examples of the ‘curse’ are a little dubious. Would Judy Garland’s life have been trouble-free if she hadn’t been in The Wizard of Oz?

But try telling whoever had to clean Dorothy’s shoes at Whitehaven Civic Hall that there definitely isn’t a curse.

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