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Tuesday November 28th 2023

The Wizard Of Oz | 1939

The Wizard Of Oz location: Sony Pictures Plaza, Madison Street, Culver City
The Wizard Of Oz location: visit the filming site in Culver City: Sony Pictures Plaza, Madison Street, Culver City

No, Toto, we really are not in Kansas anymore. There’s no location filming outside Los Angeles for one of the most-loved musical fantasies of all time, which was filmed entirely on stages at MGM’s Culver City studio, 10202 Washington Boulevard, Culver City.

The studio lives on as Sony Pictures and, for you dedicated fans and completists, the Tornado filmed on Stage 14; the cornfield and apple orchard on 15, 25 and 26; Munchkinland was built on Stage 27; and the Poppy field on the (then new) Stage 29.

You can visit the studios as part of the Sony Pictures Studio Tour, which departs from the huge new Sony Pictures Plaza, Madison Street at Washington Boulevard in Culver City.

The Wizard Of Oz: Culver Hotel, Culver Boulevard, Culver City
The Wizard Of Oz: the "Munchkin" hotel: Culver Hotel, Culver Boulevard, Culver City

Most of the 124 small people who played the Munchkins stayed just over the road at the historic Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Boulevard, though the legend of their dubious exploits seem to be based on Judy Garland’s dodgy recollection, elaborated with plenty of lurid detail over the years. The hotel was featured in 1981’s Under The Rainbow, a fictionalised version of the shenanigans, with Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher.

1997 saw a reunion of surviving Munchkins at the hotel – there was a group photo on display in the lobby when I visited. The Culver Hotel – once owned by John Wayne – still occupies the flatiron-style building, but has naturally been thoroughly renovated.

Despite having no real connection with filming, the state of Kansas cannily styles itself ‘The Land of Aahs!’. If you’re in the town of Liberal, Kansas, you may want to check out Dorothy’s House and Land Of Oz (which houses among other things the actual model of the home used in the tornado scene), at 567 East Cedar Street, Liberal.