Hmmm - you ain't kidding...
Seeing Stars: The Hotels of the Stars..
9400 Culver Boulevard,
Culver City, CA. / (310) 838-3547
When the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" was being filmed at M-G-M Studios, one hundred and twenty four midgets (who played the "Munchkins" in the film) converged on Culver City, and most of them stayed at the old Culver City Hotel, just a few blocks away from the famous studio. At the time, the six-story hotel was the city's only "skyscraper."
The reputed stories of the Munchkins' supposedly drunken shenanigans are legendary, and helped inspire the 1981 movie comedy "Under the Rainbow" (starring Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher). The producers used the actual hotel as a shooting site for that fictionalized version of the making-of-Oz story.
According to some of the not-so-tall tales, many of the 124 adult midgets got drunk, sang choruses of "Ding Dong, The Bitch Is Dead," and almost wrecked the hotel. Despite a promise of high wages once filming of "The Wizard of Oz" was completed, rumors spread that the tiny cast members might not be paid at all. So, when M-G-M suddenly announced that the Singer Midgets would also play the roles of the Wicked Witch's "flying monkeys," many of the little people concluded that they were being duped and went on strike against the studio. Among other alleged Munchkin antics in Culver City: a female midget propositioned a stagehand, a male little person bit an M-G-M policeman on the leg, and another one supposedly fell into a toilet at M-G-M and had to be rescued.
But those tales of drunken debauchery (spread in large part by an adult Judy Garland - who had a drinking problem of her own) are strongly refuted by some modern-day "Oz" experts and the surviving Munchkins themselves, who insist that although the little people had a few parties, the stories are greatly exaggerated. They say they worked 14-hour days and had little time for mischief.
(Incidentally, the actor who played the Munchkin leader of the "Lollipop Guild," later appeared as "Buster Brown," for the shoe company of the same name, and as "Little Oscar "- for the hot dog company, Oscar Meyer).
Scary, aren't they?