Okay, I confess. I didn’t actually sit down to chat with the ladies from The View, but 35 minutes prior to a recent live telecast, ABC production assistant Melissa Moretti contacted me because the show wanted to run one of my pictures of the four living Munchkins from The Wizard Of Oz on the air. I photographed them last year on the day of Warner Bros. big 70th anniversary celebration for the legendary, beloved film in New York City.
On the air, Whoopi Goldberg explained that they had previously reported that 94-year-old Meinhardt Raabe had passed away, and that he was the last living Munchkin. The first part was true (R.I.P.), but the latter was not, so they wanted to correct their mistake. There are four more Munchkins still living: Karl Slover, Margaret Pellegrini, Ruth Duccini and Jerry Maren. I met and interviewed them all last year, and they were very sweet. Wheelchair-bound Meinhardt — who played the Munchkin coroner who pronounces the Wicked Witch of the East to be “most sincerely dead” — was especially a trooper as they all appeared at Tavern On The Green in front of an elated crowd.
My photo of the four living Munchkins (shown above) appeared on the April 13, 2010 episode of The View. Go to 18:45 (after the second commercial break) to see the image in the program. It appears for a few seconds. I have to admit that it was a rather surreal experience to see my photo on the air. It’s nice to know that people saw my stories. It’s also nice to see the Munchkins get recognition again. They are a living part of cinema history that few people have an actual connection to anymore.