At just over 4 feet, he was the shortest guy on The Wizard of Oz set. But “munchkin” Karl Slover cast quite a shadow over his 93 years – and it ultimately reached all the way to Augusta.
Though it was three years after the 1939 release of Oz that he finally watched it, in the end no one got more out of being a part of the most-watched movie of all time than Karl Slover – who endured that era’s ignorance and mocking of dwarfism and came out on top.
Attending Oz-related events around the country to the very last, the Dublin, Ga., resident became a friend to Augusta – thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of Mike Deas of Augusta Amusements. Deas brought the genial Slover to Augusta twice in recent years, including in July 2010 for screenings of the movie. Slover was a great sport and a loving presence, and wholly deserving of the adulation and appreciation that movie fans belatedly showered on the few surviving (now just three) of the 124 munchkins.
What a beautiful story his own life turned out to be: to have undergone hurtful and backward “treatments” for his height as a child in Eastern Europe, having to perform in circuses and vaudeville and, reportedly, earning less for his multiple roles in The Wizard of Oz than Dorothy’s dog did. Yet now, at his death Nov. 15, it feels to those who knew him that he was no less a star than those whose names adorned the marquees.
Truly big men come in all sizes.