“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”
On August 25, 1939, moviegoers throughout the U.S. heard that line for the first time, when the film version of The Wizard of Oz was released nationwide.
It’s said by actor Frank Morgan, as the scammer who pretends to be “The Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz.”
His cover is blown when the little dog Toto pulls back the drapes “the Wizard” has been hiding behind.
The Wiz then makes one last futile attempt to bluff Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her posse – the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley) and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr).
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” he blusters. “The Great Oz has spoken!”
The movie is based on the venerable children’s book by Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. (The “pay no attention line” is not in the book.)