The world may have lost Judy Garland but we still have survivors from her iconic film, The Wizard of Oz.
Of the original 124 little Munchkins, nine survive today and, of those, seven were able to appear at this week’s unveiling of their well-earned star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame right in front of Grauman’s. The red carpet wasn’t good enough for survivors of one of the world’s best-loved movies of all times. The Munchkins’ carpet was yellow. Nice touch.
The Munchkins arrived in a horse-drawn carriage followed by a marching band, all taller than they are.
Living Munchkins are Clarence Swensen (soldier), Mickey Carroll (fiddler), Jerry Maren (Lollipop Guild), Karl ‘Karchy’ Kosiczky (Sleepyhead), Ruth L. Robinson (villager), Margaret Pelligrini (flowerpot hat), and Meinhardt Raabe (coroner). (NOTE: two used other names.)
The official world premiere of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz was held August 12, 1939 at the Strand Theatre in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin and on August 15, 1939, Hollywood premiered The Wizard of Oz at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
Five days later, it opened at Loew’s Capitol in New York with Judy Garland performing live on stage every single night, with her frequent partner, Mickey Rooney.
Mickey Carroll, 88, told the crowd: ‘We love you, you have touched our hearts.
‘I’m not a Munchkin, I’m an entertainer but the movie is great because we all grew up with it. It never dies.’