Honorary degree in Thinkology apparently lacks oomph
Remember when the Wizard of Oz gives the Scarecrow an honorary Ph.D. in “Thinkology” for his math formula? First of all, I’m pretty sure the degree was awarded from one of those Thinkology party schools, and it’s worth noting that there are a lot of waiters and baristas that have this same degree. Armed with his new honorary degree, the Scarecrow, suddenly flush with intellect, stands erect and begins to robotically recite the Pythagorean Theorem, proclaiming, “The sum of the square root of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the third side.”
Swing and a miss, Scarecrow
As I kid, I remember thinking, “Wow, he’s not dumb at all!” Um, well, it turns out that Scarecrow actually was pretty stupid, because he totally hosed the theorem. Apparently, there are two errors. The Pythagorean Theorem applies to right triangles, not isosceles triangles (duh). Also the theorem is that the squares of two legs equals the square of the hypotenuse (scoff, snicker … stupid Scarecrow). To be correct, he should have stood erect* and stated, “The sum of the squares of the two legs of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.”
Oz also seems to be lacking a brain
The Great and Powerful Oz apparently snoozed through math class, because he doesn’t catch the mistakes either. For years, nobody really paid attention to it. But I discovered that there are a lot of mathy type of people investing significant time and energy complaining on the Intertoobes about how the Scarecrow messed up this formula. They are genuinely aghast at the egregious error. They also are not dating girls.
How about some highly toxic makeup!
It does make you wonder why somebody couldn’t have gotten the theorem right in the movie script. It’s been around since the days of, well, Pythagorean, and it certainly was readily available in any of the math textbooks lying around the movie set. Perhaps the movie people were too busy almost killing Buddy Ebsen (the original actor chosen to play Tin Man) by slathering his entire body with an aluminum dust that caused his lungs to fail? Thanks to that dumbass move by Makeup, that dude missed out on the role of a lifetime, and almost died to boot.
Where did the Tin Man go?
Funny story: While Ebsen was in the hospital, they replaced him with Jack Haley, and nobody on the cast had any idea that Ebsen was sick. They assumed he was fired. Hollywood in 1939 kind of sounds like the meat-packing industry in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. At least Ebsen secured his place in Hollywood lore by playing good ol’ Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies, and then the hard-nosed, chiseled TV detective, Barnaby Jones. Ahem.
* Sorry. That’s twice that I wrote “erect.”
P.S. Was anybody else miffed that Dorothy actually purred to the Scarecrow, “I think I’m going to miss you most of all!” What the hell? Seriously? The Lion and the Tin Man were standing … right … there. (Disclaimer: Yes, I know that Family Guy already did this Scarecrow joke, but I actually wrote it more than 20 years ago … in my head.)