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Betty Danko, Margaret Hamilton''s Stand-in For "The Wizard of Oz"

What scenes were filmed that required a stunt double to sit on a broom?

The only one I can think of is the one where Dorothy sees Miss Gultch riding a broom in front of her window during the cyclone scene.

The "Surrender Dorothy" scene showed Margret sitting and laughing at the crowd. It showed her face closeup. That couldn't have been a stunt double. Everything else in and revolving around that scene was a puppet.

So, what was a stunt double needed for?


Betty Danko (19 September 1903 %E2%80%93 3 February 1979) was Margaret Hamilton's stand-in for the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz. Danko earned $11 per day as a stand-in, which rose to $35 per day for stunt work.

Danko suffered an on-set accident on 11 February 1939: she was severely injured during the filming of the "Surrender Dorothy" sequence. After her own earlier accident, Hamilton had refused to play in any scene involving fire. Danko sat on a smoking pipe configured to look like the Witch's broomstick. On the third take of the scene, the pipe exploded. Danko spent eleven days in the hospital.[1] Her legs were permanently scarred.

Danko made $790 for her work on the Oz film, plus the $35 she earned for riding the broomstick. She continued to do stunt work in other films.

by Anonymousreply 2104/08/2013

All the scenes involving fire: when she appears (through the secret trapdoor) through smoke in Munchkinland; when she appears in smoke again on the roof of the house, and when she tosses fire at the Scarecrow; when she lights her broom and sets the Scarecrow ablaze in the castle.

by Anonymousreply 104/27/2011

The scene on top of the house is definitely Hamilton. She doesn't appear in smoke. It's definitely her when the fire gets thrown, which I'm sure was not actually there to begin with, but was added in in post production. When she disappears in a cloud of smoke, it's a full body closeup.

by Anonymousreply 204/27/2011

That movie had two significant injury/accidents. Buddy Ebsen, the original Tin man, nearly died from inhaling silver dust used as make-up for the character. He was hospitalized and his lungs were damaged. Jack Haley replaced him. Margaret Hamilton was burned falling down through the trap door of the set floor when she was supposed to disappear in a cloud of smoke. There were other "risks" and hazards, too. The Cowardly Lion costume weighed a ton and caused Bert Lahr great problems. He had stomach trouble (irritable bowel or ulcer or some such thing) and it was greatly exacerbated by his wearing that monstrously hot and heavy costume.

by Anonymousreply 304/27/2011

Margaret's got the broom on fire right in front of her. It was not done by double. The first was shot terribly out of sequence, so perhaps she had already done a lot of the fire sequences already.

by Anonymousreply 404/27/2011

I also did the stunt where the fucking house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East.

by Anonymousreply 504/27/2011


by Anonymousreply 604/27/2011

In the quick close-up of the WWOW on the broom during the "Surrender Dorothy" sequence, look at Margaret Hamilton's hands. She has on green gloves. This was because she was still recovering from the burns she got during the Munchkinland disappearance snafu, and the skin on her hands was still too thin for make-up.

by Anonymousreply 704/28/2011

It doesn't say "stunt double" it says "stand-in," which is different.

by Anonymousreply 804/28/2011

r8, she was definitely her stunt double. Danko talks about being a stunt double and specifically for Margaret Hamilton.

by Anonymousreply 904/28/2011

And amazingly, she's uncredited in every production she did.%0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 1004/28/2011

Stand ins are not stunt doubles. The job of a stand in is to stand on the set where the actor would be while the shot is set up and the lights are adjusted - this can take hours.

by Anonymousreply 1104/28/2011

Sometimes a stunt double also works as a stand-in, at least in modern productions.

by Anonymousreply 1204/28/2011

I met Betty Danko when I was just 15 in Hollywood I read about her in Aljean Harmetzs book about the MAKING of THE WIZARD OF OZ..she was listed in the phone book in North Hollywood so I rang her up and asked "are you the betty danko who was blown off her broom in Oz?" she Ansered "Yes I must relise I am an old woman now..old enough to be your Grandmother"..I then asked if We could go to lunch she said "well why dont you come over and I,ll fix us lunch"...after I moved back to Oregon we stayed in touch thru letters I met her in 1977 and she passed away in 1979...s very sweet lady with terrific Hollywood stories!

by Anonymousreply 1308/27/2012

That's so cute, r13. How you must treasure those times.

by Anonymousreply 1408/27/2012

[quote] And amazingly, she's uncredited in every production she did.

Nothing amazing about it. In those days every person up to and including the craft service people didn't get screen credit. Only a select few received on-screen credit due to contractual obligations.

by Anonymousreply 1508/27/2012

r13 reads like a Penthouse.

by Anonymousreply 1612/29/2012

[quote]Stand ins are not stunt doubles

Many work both.

by Anonymousreply 1712/29/2012


by Anonymousreply 1812/29/2012

Bump for Betty Danko fever!

by Anonymousreply 1904/08/2013

Betty in costume on set.

by Anonymousreply 2004/08/2013


by Anonymousreply 2104/08/2013
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