What a Witch (on a skeleton from our own family closet)

What a Witch  (on a skeleton from our own family closet)

At Halloween, it seems fitting to ask: Who’s the scariest witch you’ve ever seen in the movies?

If you’re part of my generation, or many others, you might name The Wicked Witch of the West from the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz. With her green face, pointy nose and hat and creepy cackle, this witch topped them all for terror-striking in viewers’ hearts.

The Wicked Witch of the West
(played by Margaret Hamilton)
in The Wizard of Oz
What child didn’t crouch on the edge of his or her seat to behold this big nasty on the television screen?

Even after learning that the woman playing this wicked witch was a distant relative and a former kindergarten teacher, who appeared in more than 60 films, I still found her quite fearsome. (I wonder now if old Margaret’s years in the kindergarten classroom may have prepared her to deal with all of those flying monkeys and even the many munchkins.)

Here’s a video of the casting of actress Margaret Hamilton as the wicked melting witch in The Wizard of Oz:

Of course, Margaret Hamilton’s claim to fame was no source of family shame.

In fact, not too many years ago, a group of us gathered near Cleveland, Ohio, for a cousin’s wedding. As part of the pre-wedding festivities, an uncle led us on a driving tour of old family haunts, including the childhood home and high school of our grandmother and her cousin, Margaret Hamilton. The scariest thing was probably the terrible traffic we experienced in some pretty foreboding neighborhoods.

“I'll get you, my pretty . . .
and your little dog, too!”
The Wicked Witch of the West
(played by Margaret Hamilton)
in The Wizard of Oz

Bewitching –
An Acrostic Filled with Glee for a Creepy Family Tree
(Posted in memory of a distant relative and infamous actress)

Bony and bewildering,
Epitome of evil –
What? We’re related?
I can’t believe it.
Tell me it isn’t true.
Cousins cackle.
How many families have
Inside jokes like this?
Never mind the nightmares,
Grandmother explained.
c2009 by Linda Ann Nickerson

And here’s my grandmother’s cousin, Margaret Hamilton, without her wicked witch make-up, as she appeared in the well-known Maxwell House coffee commercials:


Posted for a variety of prompts:
Easy Street Prompts (“melting witches”)
Friday Flash-55 (55 words)
Heads or Tails (“edge”)
Meme Express (Friday Freedom)
Sunday Scribblings (“shame”)
Theme Thursday (“traffic” and "Halloween")

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  1. You Fiction Friday 55 is good to the last drop.

  2. nicely done. a 55 with a story behind it. actually i think it would be a neat family story to be able to share. just keep her out of the rain at family reunions. smiles.

    hope you have a great halloween! mine is up!

  3. what a wonderful story. The Wizard of Oz was a yearly special occasion when I was growing up. We had to get our baths and get in our pajamas early but we could have red pop and potato chips in the living room and we got to stay up late to watch the whole thing. Your aunt is a part of the childhood memories of millions of people now :)

  4. The Wizard of Oz was the most wonderful story in the world, when I was gowning up. This is very good Linda, and to think, your family was a part of all this .. I also loved the coffee commercial ... but until you said it, I never connected the two women. Bravo!

  5. Terrific post, and what a cool relative to have! I never knew Gale Sondergaard -- the studio misspelled it as "Sondergard" on the card shown in the video -- was the original choice for ol' witchie! I remember Maragret Hamilton fondly -- I loved her in "These Three" -- and knew who she was when she played Cora in those coffee ads. Do you know if there's any truth to the story that in her contract with Maxwell House, she insisted that among all the items in the general store, they were not allowed to include a broom?

    @Brian: "just keep her out of the rain at family reunions." Shame on you, sir! ;-)

  6. Linda...That is such a great story!
    I LOVED it!!
    Thank you so much for sharing it with us all.
    Plus you ROCKED the 55!!
    Thanks for playing this week, and have a safe and fun-filled week-end!

  7. Great 55. The monkeys from the Wizard of Oz scared me.

    Ghost, Goblins, Ghouls, Oh, My