The Wizard of Oz, MGM’s classic 1939 movie, introduced us to the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tin Man. The three lovable characters join Dorothy Gale in her quest to find the all-knowing Wizard of Oz, the one person with the power to send her back home to Kansas. Jack Haley played the role of the Tin Man, however, he was not the studio’s first choice for the part. Buddy Ebsen, who went on to fame as Jed Clampett on the hit 60s TV show The Beverly Hillbillies, was originally hired to play the character. After four weeks of rehearsal, recording of songs and costume fittings, filming of the movie began. Nine days into the production Ebsen became ill, complaining of cramps and shortness of breath. He eventually went to the hospital where he spent two weeks recuperating. Doctors discovered that the aluminum dust used in the silver face makeup had entered his lungs, causing the health problems. Ebsen had to abandon the movie project and Jack Haley took over the role. This time around, with the help of safe silver makeup and a can of oil, the Tin Man character came to life.
Twenty-five years later, metallic paint embellished another memorable movie moment. Actress Shirley Eaton was covered in gold paint for a short scene in the 1965 James Bond film Goldfinger. At the time, it was thought that humans breathed, in part, through their skin and precautions were taken to leave areas of Eaton’s body paint free. Rumours that the actress died as a result of skin suffocation existed for many years. In 2018 the 78 year old Eaton agreed to have her body painted gold again for a feature story in US magazine, reassuring all that she was indeed alive and well.