Dorothy is looking for the Wizard with three new friends that she meets in Oz. All of them want to ask something to the Wizard because they are unhappy. Dorothy is looking her way to get back home. The Cowardly Lion needs courage. The Tin Man would like to have a heart. And the Scarecrow is missing a brain. The producers were 100% sure who was supposed to play the role of the Tin Man. He was called Ray Bolger.
He started at the MGM in 1936 and he made a few films before ‘The Wizard of Oz’, for example ‘The great Ziegfeld’ (1936). He was asked to play the Tin Man, but he was really disappointed. He was expecting to play the Scarecrow, not the Tin Man, he knew that he would become a star playing the Scarecrow. He was a really good dancer, so he thought that he would be good playing that role. The producers were fine with that, so they decided to change it. But they had to look for another actor as a Tin Man.
Buddy Ebsen was the best actor to play the Tin Man. He even danced with Judy Garland in ‘The Broadway Melody’ (1938). He didn’t mind to perform the Tin Man instead of the Scarecrow. But the dream became a nightmare. The makeup was made with aluminium dust and it got stuck on the air and inside his lungs. He couldn’t breath and he had to go to the hospital. The doctors said that he couldn’t work anymore in those conditions. Ironically, he lived longer than the rest of the cast of the film.
The producers looked for another actor to play the role. They found the star from 20th Century Fox, Jack Haley. He didn’t know anything about the accident with Buddy, but they changed the makeup for him, without the aluminium dust. Judy Garland explained later that he was usually complaining about the makeup, that it was hot and exhausting to wear. But we will remember him as the cute Tin Man that joins Dorothy on her journey to the Emerald City.