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If you put four dwarfs in one room with enough opium and alcohol, it's bound to end in tears...
In 1935 MGM studios embarked on a movie adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The production called for the casting of many dwarfs to play the Munchkins of the mythical Land of Oz and the studio began recruiting 'small persons' from all over the world.
During production, rumours spread around Hollywood of wild Munchkin sex orgies, drunken behavior and general dwarf debauchery. More sinisterly, a Munchkin is said to have committed suicide by hanging himself on the set during filming - what appears to be a small human body is clearly visible hanging from a tree in the Tin Woodman scene. It is a claim that has passed into Hollywood legend.
Set in a hotel room in Culver City, California, Babylon Heights is Irvine Welsh and Dean Cavanagh's scabrous and hilarious imagining of what could, very possibly, have led to that dwarf suicide.
Babylon Heights premiered at the Exit Theatre, San Francisco, in June 2006
Publisher: Random House