LOS ANGELES (AP) – Almost 70 years after ”The Wizard of Oz" premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, a few of the film’s Munchkins made a grand entrance there Tuesday to receive a collective star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Seven of the surviving actors who played the inhabitants of Munchkinland in the 1939 classic attended the ceremony, arriving in a horse-drawn carriage and trailed by a marching band. A yellow carpet, resembling the film’s yellow brick road, led them to the stage. One tap-danced, and another sang. ”We love you; you have touched our hearts,” former Munchkin Mickey Carroll, 88, told the crowd.
Carroll was joined by former Munchkin colleagues Ruth Duccini, Jerry Maren, Margaret Pellegrini, Meinhardt Raabe, Karl Slover and Clarence Swensen. ”I’m as proud today as my mother would have been,” said Joey Luft, the son of Judy Garland. Garland, who played the movie’s wide-eyed orphan, Dorothy Gale, died of a drug overdose in 1969.
Carroll was one of more than a hundred adults and children who were recruited for ”Oz” to play the natives of what author L. Frank Baum called Munchkin Country in his 1900 book ”The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” They only made $125 a week while filming, followed by decades of recognition, Carroll told The Associated Press by phone before the ceremony. ”I’m not a Munchkin, I’m an entertainer,” Carroll noted. ”But the movie is great because we all grew up with it. … It never dies.”