“The Jitterbug” (deleted scene from Wizard of Oz)

August 7, 2006


I bet you didn’t realize that Harold Arlen wrote Rap before anyone alive today did. Take a listen to this deleted scene. I love the off camera shots of our favorite quartet dancing. And the pas de deux, well, not quite, between the Lion and the Tin man was likely a bit too much. Maybe it was cut because their dancing wasn’t good enough. Skipping down the yellow brick road seems to have made the cut, but the jitterbug didn’t!

Cynical-C reports via Digg the following details:

This is “behind the camera” footage of the Jitterbug scene that went lost after being cut from the film. The film originally contained an elaborate production number called “The Jitter Bug”, which cost $80,000 and took five weeks to shoot. In the scene, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly lion, and the Tin Woodsman are on their way to the Witch’s castle when they are attacked by “jitter bugs” – furry pink and blue mosquito-like “rascals” that give one “the jitters” as they buzz about in the air. When, after its first preview, the movie was judged too long, MGM officials decided to sacrifice the “Jitter Bug” scene. They reasoned that it added little to the plot and, because a dance by the same name had just become popular, they feared it might date the picture. The Witch still refers to the bug in the final film, just before telling the Monkeys to “Fly!” Only home movies of the filming of “The Jitterbug” survive, though the song is on current versions of both the soundtrack CD and the recent anniversary edition videotape. The sequence was also incorporated into a recent stage version of the musical.

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