Some Claim a Lovelorn Munchkin 'Suicide by Hanging'
Some people claim that a love-lorn munchkin (others claim a stagehand) committed suicide by hanging himself on the set of the Wizard of Oz and that it can actually be seen in the film. The scene comes right after of the Tin Man sequence, as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man skip down the yellow brick road on their way to the Emerald City:
The Set Needed Birds to Create a Woodland
The Tin Man was supposed to be a "woodsman", so to make the set more outdoorsy, several birds were brought in from the Los Angeles Zoo and allowed to roam the set. (In fact, a peacock can be seen wandering around outside the Tin Woodsman's shack)
It Was Just a Large Bird
One of the larger birds (often said to be an emu, but more probably a crane or goose) standing at the back of the set was actually what caused the commotion. It can be seen moving around and spreading its wings. This was no munchkin suicide. It was just a large bird moving around back set.
Judy Garland Joke Helped Spread the Rumors
Judy Garland is reported to have joked about the munchkins being drunkards in television talk show appearances, which helped spread the idea of a munchkin suicide..
The forest scenes in The Wizard of Oz were filmed before any of the munchkin actors were even present at MGM. The International Wizard of Oz Club dismisses the myth. The BBC quoted it as saying, "Can you imagine that many people wouldn't have noticed a suicide in progress, or even a "successful" one, and not done something about it?".