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How Old Was Dorothy In The Wizard Of Oz?


How Old Was Dorothy In The Wizard Of OzWhen watching The Wizard of Oz, it can be easy to get caught up in the fantastical world and forget that this is just a movie. While the actors playing the characters did their best under the guidance of director Victor Fleming, there are some things about The Wizard of Oz that doesn’t quite make sense. That’s because much of the movie is based on old folk tales and fairy tales. During its time, these stories were read to children as bedtime stories—not as a factual accounts of what happened in the world around them. So when you think about it, there are some details that don’t quite add up in The Wizard of Oz. How old was Dorothy? Keep reading to find out!

How Old Was Dorothy In The Wizard Of Oz?

1. An Adult, Not A Child

Based on the hats, hairstyles, and clothes of the characters in The Wizard of Oz, it would be easy to assume that Dorothy was an adult. But she wasn’t. She was only 12 years old when her movie started production in 1939.

2. Not Living With Aunt Em

The young girl who traveled to Oz with the help of a tornado is called Dorothy Gale in most stories and books about The Wizard of Oz. However, much of the film and script gives her last name as Turner (and even calls her Dorothy Turner). Also, while she was in Kansas City before being taken away by the tornado, she didn’t seem like a very experienced traveler—she was nervous about riding a horse when she arrived at Aunt Em’s house for support but didn’t seem too worried about looking for a road to start out on when she got off of it at Aunt Em’s house later in her journey. This makes it hard to believe that she is truly an experienced traveler that knows what she is doing or has been raised by strong women like Aunt Em (who is portrayed by Margaret Hamilton) all her life. So even though The Wizard of Oz makes it seem like Dorothy was an adult, she was actually only a little girl.

3. Not A Child Of Parents Who Is Not Married

Another big inconsistency in The Wizard of Oz is that the parents and their children aren’t really together when Dorothy enters the Land of Oz. According to the story, this land is called Oz, which is where all those who are “wicked” and do not follow “the yellow brick road” go to get sent away from the world. But it appears that neither of Dorothy’s parents were there during her time in Kansas City—although she does mention that Aunt Em took care of her if her parents ever went on away because they were getting divorced (Dorothy’s father Henry Gorden Lane just left Kansas City for good after making a deal with Mr. Deeds—not an intelligent decision). But even though no one was at home for Dorothy during her time in Kansas City, it would have been impossible for them to have gone on any meaningful trips or would have cared enough about their daughter to send them on journeys like hers (or maybe they should have been more attentive considering how scared she was about riding horses). Plus, without having any adult supervision and support, it is a bit strange that things like the tornado could end up causing such a foreboding end for Dorothy.

4. Not Out Of Kansas During The Tornado

Even though there are many inconsistencies in The Wizard of Oz, one of the more unsettling ones involves Dorothy because she wasn’t actually in Kansas when the tornado hit and took her to Oz. She was only very briefly on her way to Aunt Em’s house before the tornado came. But Dorothy didn’t even mention Aunt Em or Uncle Henry until after she arrived at Aunt Em’s house—which makes it hard to believe that they would be there waiting for her after all that had been happening during Dorothy’s journey. Plus, having them see this tornado coming for her must have been incredibly terrifying for them–it almost seemed like they were sent away from their daughter so quickly because they could have done something different to possibly save her life (or at least get her out of harm’s way). So even though both parents aren’t there with their daughter in The Wizard of Oz, and even though they are divorced (which means their daughter couldn’t be raised by either parent), it seems more likely that Dorothy’s parents wouldn’t send her to Aunt Em so quickly after the tornado.

5. His Name Was Gilbert, Not Henry

Although this is a very small mistake, it does seem like Dorothy could have accidentally recited a different baby’s name than she meant to when the Tin Man tells her his real name is Gilbert (Henry). Although Dorothy never says it outright, it does seem likely that she may have mispronounced his name during her journey because even though he says “Gilbert” to her, he also says in another part of the scene “Henry.” And even though they are evenly pronounced, they sound slightly different at times. So if Dorothy said Gilbert when she met him and then later called him Henry when Aunt Em and Uncle Henry show up, this could easily be the case.

Why Did The Actors In The Wizard Of Oz Look So Different?

1. Costume Changes

In a film with such an iconic look, it wouldn’t be too hard to see why actor changes would take place. When Judy Garland left the role, she only had a few parts left to play in the film. She was originally chosen for the part of Dorothy, but when she was cast in The Wizard of Oz Dorothy was already supposed to be 16–so her costume had already changed by the time of her screen test. So Judy’s decision to tamper with her clothing decisions in order to play Dorothy at a younger age may have been a bit shocking for audiences, but it would have been easy for this transition to happen because the production had already made many other costume changes over time.

2. Different Actors Were Used

The Wizard of Oz was filmed from 1939-1939 and is known as one of MGM’s most iconic films; with its Technicolor color palettes and lavish sets, it helped change cinema forever during its time and still has unforgettable imagery that audiences can easily recognize today. Although there are many different stars that appear throughout this movie (whether they are playing characters or not), all of them are recognizable even today because they each took their turn playing roles in this film and wore their own personal costumes.

3. The Wizard Of Oz Was Filmed Multiple Times

The Wizard of Oz was filmed nine different times; so it’s no surprise that the costumes changed over time. When the film was originally being made, costumes were what Dorothy wore when she wasn’t in her bubble world, and so they did not change much throughout filming. For example, the very first scene Dorothy appears in screens with Garland’s original costume which is similar to how she looked at the beginning of the film. On this first occasion, Dorothy tries to steal a dish from a rude house keeper…but no one will let her have it because she looks like a child. In that case her lack of clothes is part of what makes her look like a child.

Where Did Toto Come From?

1. Toto Was Originally A Cat

Toto was designed as a real cat for the film. The design of Toto was based on two cats that Judy Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli had; the Alice in Wonderland costume designer, Coles Phillips, had the idea of digging up some old photos of the two cats to use as a reference. His original idea was just to use one black cat and one white cat, but producer George Cukor thought it would be much better if they were both black.

2. Toto Is Not Actually In The Movie When Dorothy Is Thrown Into Her “Pinky” World

In her semi-autobiographical novel Save The Children, Roald Dahl told the story of his sister losing all their possessions while they were staying at a house where someone had supposedly taken a tumble down an emergency escape hatch and broken their finger–something that happened to Roald himself when he fell out of bed at age 10. So in this story it explains how Dorothy’s pinky became deformed…but in the movie, she ends up with no pinky (which is quite upsetting for children). But what Dahl wrote about her lost pinky is actually reinforced by how Toto first makes his cameo appearance in the movie…

9. Toto Is A Housecat

Toto was originally a housecat in the first draft of the script, but he later became a dog.

11. He’s Not Even Real

According to “Cats” film producer Sam Goldwyn, Toto was originally going to be a real cat (as one can see in these original drawings). The reason why they chose to make him look like a dog instead is because of how realistic dogs are compared to cats. So in the end, Toto was just dressed up like one when he wasn’t even supposed to be real in the film anywhere! The fact that he has no fur is probably why everyone thinks he’s wearing fur! (c) Rafaël Gaudy


The Wizard of Oz is a classic film that generations of children have grown up watching. It follows the story of Dorothy, a young girl who lives on a farm in Kansas. While Dorothy is spending a day tending to her chores, she dreams of having a better life in the city. This dream carries over into the real world, and Dorothy is accidentally transported to the magical world of Oz. There, Dorothy meets new friends and battles an evil witch for her freedom. After a long journey, Dorothy is finally able to return home. The story of the Wizard of Oz has been retold many times, and it has appeared on both big and small screens many times since it was first released in 1939. It is a story that has spanned many generations, and it will likely be around for many more to come.

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