We've mentioned before that some of the movie's groundbreaking special effects and makeup came close to offing some of the cast members. For instance, Buddy Ebsen was originally set to play the Tin Man until his silver facepaint almost killed him. Of course, it's not really surprising that 1930s Hollywood hadn't figured out a way to paint a grown man silver without poisoning him, but here's the really fucked-up part: The studio thought he was faking it.
Or at least enjoying how high it was apparently getting him.
Yup, the aluminum dust in his makeup caused his lungs to fail and sent him to a hospital oxygen tent, where he enjoyed his own Dorothy-like trip to a realm of unbridled imagination. ("One night in bed I woke up screaming. My arms were cramping from my fingers upward and curling simultaneously so that I could not use one arm to uncurl the other.")
Understandably, Ebsen had to call in sick to work. This didn't go over well. "They were furious," he recounted, "[Producer] Mervyn LeRoy kept calling me in the hospital and saying, 'He can't be in bed. He's due on set.'" The film's makeup artist also thought there was no way Ebsen could be sick, because he'd used "pure aluminum dust" (which in the 1930s was probably considered as healthy as a salad). Eventually, the producer hired another actor to play the Tin Man because he "got tired of calling the hospital," which is not unlike running your wife over with a car and then divorcing her because you don't want to pay for hospital parking.