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Horse of a Different Color

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Horse of a different color

The Horse of a Different Color.

The Horse of a Different Color was a horse who drew Dorothy's carriage in the opening Emerald City scenes of the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz. The Cabbie (Frank Morgan) rode the carriage drawn by the horse of a different color. The horse would periodically change colors, hence its name.

Four separate horses were used to create the effect of an animal that changes color from moment to moment; the filmmakers found that multiple color changes on a single horse were too time-consuming. The ASPCA refused to allow the horses to be dyed; instead, technicians tinted the animals with lemon, cherry and grape powdered gelatin to create a spectrum of colors, white, yellow, red, and purple. The horses had to be prevented from licking the colored powder off themselves between takes.
In Noel Langley's script for the film, the Horse of a Different Color had purple and green skin and red stripes. And it talked, too. Langley had the Horse and the Wizard join the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion in their rescue of Dorothy from the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys — a plot element that did not survive into the final film.

In Oz the Great and Powerful

OTGAP horses

Horses of a Different Color.

Oscar Diggs and Finley pass a number of color-changing horses outside the Emerald City on their journey to find and kill the Wicked Witch. (Oz the Great and Powerful)

While this movie is technically not a prequel to the 1939 movie for copyright reasons, it contains many references to it, including the Horses of a Different Color.

In The Marvelous Map of Oz

Ranch of a Different Color

Horses of a Different Color were kept at a Ranch of a Different Color, which was located close to the Yellow Brick Road in the Munchkin Country. (The Marvelous Map of Oz)

The Marvelous Map of Oz is a 2009 map poster produced by the company Culturenik.
The map appears to be a licensed work based on the 1939 film, and so the characters are drawn as they appear in that film. However, the map also draws some locations from Gregory Maguire's Wicked, as well as from Baum's books.
The Ranch of a Different Color's location on this map matches where the horses are seen in Oz the Great and Powerful, off the Yellow Brick Road in the Munchkin Country, near the Emerald City.


  • John Fricke, Jacy Scarfone, William Stillman. The Wizard of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History. Warner Books, 1989.

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