Behind the scenes at the making of The Wizard Of Oz


Jass Records, Inc.
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Out of print

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The Wizard Of Oz


On June 29, 1939, Judy took a break from filming Babes In Arms to appear on this special broadcast of the "Maxwell House Good News" radio show. Judy had reported to work at MGM at sometime prior to her call for 1pm, most likely 11am or noon. Judy left the studio to perform on this radio show between 4 - 6pm, then went back to MGM to continue filming Babes In Arms until approximately 10pm. Quite the busy day!

Rehearsing The ShowFor this special "preview" of The Wizard Of Oz, which wasn't due in theaters for several weeks, NBC Radio and MGM tapped Judy, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Oz composer Harold Arlen & lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg to join the "Good News" regular cast of Meredith Willson, Robert Young, Fanny Brice, "Daddy" Hanley Stafford, and The Wizard of Oz himself, Frank Morgan. As an added bonus, the cast is joined by the original Scarecrow Fred Stone, who played the role to great success on the stage in 1903. Willson would go on to further fame as the composer/lyricist of the Broadway and film hit The Music Man. Brice had recently appeared with Judy in Everybody Sing, performing their cute duet "Why? Because!" together - Fanny as her famous character Baby Snooks and Judy as Little Lord Flauntleroy.

This broadcast is special in that it's the first public performance of "Over The Rainbow" by Judy Garland, with none other than the song's composer Harold Arlen at the piano. Judy even flubs a lyric!

The entire cast shines, but Bert Lahr almost steals the show with his performance of "If I Were King Of The Forest", which is the only time Lahr performed the complete version of the song (it was edited prior to the film's release) outside of the MGM sound stages.

All in all, this is a great CD and a great opportunity to take a trip back in time and experience how films were sometimes promoted over the radio.

This show was originally released on LP by Jass Records in 1986, as JASS 17, with the same cover art, and on cassette (again with the same cover art), #J17C.

As an added bonus, this CD includes the complete "Leo Is On The Air" "Air Trailer" made by MGM in the summer of 1939. These Air Trailers were extended promos for films that MGM would put on 12" LPs and send out to radio stations, free of charge, to air between broadcasts. CLICK HERE to see some examples of these records. What makes these "Air Trailers" so special is that they usually included tracks from the prerecording sessions for the film. In the case of the Oz Air Trailer, it includes a then-rare alternate take of Judy singing "Over The Rainbow", from the MGM prerecording sessions. This alternate take would not be officially released until 1993 when MGM/UA home video released "The Ultimate Oz" on laser disc, and then on CD in 1995 when Rhino Records released it's deluxe 2-CD set of the soundtrack to the film.
This CD was re-released in 1996 coupled with the 1993 CD "All The Things You Are".

All images on this page from the collection of Scott Brogan.

Photo above right: Rehearsing the "Good News" broadcast. Standing left to right: Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, MGM Executive LK. Sidney, E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, Meredith Willson and publisher Harry Link. Sitting: Judy Garland and Harold Arlen.

To learn all about the The Wizard of Oz, check out The Judy Room's extensive "Spotlight on The Wizard of Oz" Section.

Cassette Version



Judy Garland tracks in blue.

Song Title
Performed by... Time
Opening Announcements and Themes
Warren Hull, announcer

Orchestral Intro/We're Off To See The Wizard

NBC Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Meredith Willson - Intro by Meredith Willson
Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
NBC Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Meredith Willson
Over The Rainbow
NBC Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Meredith Willson
If I Only Had A Brain
NBC Orchestra only
In The Merry Old Land Of Oz
NBC Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Meredith Willson
We're Off To See The Wizard
NBC Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Meredith Willson
Over The Rainbow (Reprise)
NBC Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Meredith Willson
Patter [Robert Young and Meredith Willson discuss the music and book] Robert Young & Meredith Willson 0:37
Baby Snooks Segment Fanny Brice & Hanley Stafford 6:50
Maxwell House Commercial [The Maxwell House Company] 2:07
Judy Garland learns from Mervyn LeRoy (impersonated) that she is to play Dorothy Judy Garland & unidentified player 2:24
MGM head of Casting "Fred Datig" (impersonated) and Robert Young inform Frank Morgan that he has won the part of the Wizard Frank Morgan, Robert Young & unidentified player 1:19
Bert Lahr "rehearses": dialogue, lion-style bravado and "gnong! gnong! gnongs!" Bert Lahr & unidentified player 0:53
Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg demonstrate "Over The Rainbow" for Judy Garland Judy Garland, Harold Arlen, & E.Y. Harburg 2:52
Ace Director of Dancers, "Bobby Connolly" rehearses The Munchkins Unidentified player and the NBC Chorus 0:44
The Sneak Preview: "Merv LeRoy" Unidentified players 2:12
Maxwell House Commercial [The Maxwell House Company] 1:14
If I Only Had A Brain
If I Only Had A Heart
If I Only Had The Nerve
Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Robert Young (substituting for Jack Haley), and Judy Garland 3:01
Fred Stone & Ray Bolger discuss the art of eccentric dancing Robert Young (introduction), Fred Stone and Ray Bolger 2:04
Frank Morgan fibs about his involvement in the 1903 original Broadway version Frank Morgan, Fred Stone and Robert Young 3:15
Frank Morgan goes on to fib about how he invented the movie camera in 1904 Frank Morgan, Meredith Willson 4:19
Maxwell House Commercial [The Maxwell House Company] 2:19
"Dorothy In Munchkinland":
Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are
The House Began To Twitch...
Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead

NBC Chorus (subbing for The Munchkins)
Judy Garland
NBC Chorus (subbing for The Munchkins)

If I Were King Of The Forest Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, Judy Garland & The NBC Chorus 4:19
Finale Medley:
The Merry Old Land Of Oz
Over The Rainbow
If I Only Had A Brain
If I Only Had The Nerve
We're Off To See The Wizard
Over The Rainbow
Closing Announcements
     & End of Season Theme (Auld Lang Syne)

Frank Morgan
Judy Garland
Ray Bolger
Bert Lahr
NBC Chorus
NBC Chorus
Robert Young, Fanny Brice & The NBC Chorus

The Complete LEO IS ON THE AIR
Broadcast Transcription Made by MGM to promote The Wizard Of Oz
(Summer 1939)
Leo the Lion's Roar, Opening Announcements Unidentified player 1:49
Over The Rainbow (alternate take) Judy Garland 1:57
The Merry Old Land Of Oz Frank Morgan, Judy Garland, Bert Lahr & The MGM Studio Chorus 1:52
Follow The Yellow Brick Road/We're Off To See The Wizard Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus (with an assist from the "High Speed Munchkin Chorus") 1:27
If I Only Had A Brain Ray Bolger & Judy Garland 1:31
If I Only Had A Heart Jack Haley & Andrea Caselotti 1:19
If I Only Had The Nerve/We're Off To See The Wizard Bert Lahr, Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Buddy Ebsen [original "Tin Man"] 0:59
Closing Announcement
Unidentified player


A Howard "Munchkin" Melton Production

Maxwell House Good News Staff Writers: Sam Moore & Phil Rappe

Audio Restoration: Doug Pomeroy

Royal Historian & Kibbitzer: John Fricke

Source Material Consultant: Joe Lauro

Additional Material: George Holly

Additional Engineering: Wally Herman

Photo courtesy the collection of Ed Jablonski

Type: Jenny Marco

Art Direction: Collin Kellogg

Liner Notes: John Fricke

Released by special arrangement with the estate and archive of Harold Arlen. Originally transcribed on 12" acetates for Mr. Arlen and stored by him until his death in 1986.

Dedicated to Christopher J. O'Brien, 1961-1991

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