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Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion dancing in the Haunted Forest after being "bit" by the Jitterbug

What appears to be the Jitterbug itself seen on screen for the first time in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True.

The "Jitterbug" musical number was cut from MGM's 1939 The Wizard of Oz.

Composer Harold Arlen and lyricist E.Y. Harburg wrote the song in May 1938; it was one of the first pieces they created for the film. The idea was that the Jitterbug is a tool of the Wicked Witch of the West — a blue and pink insect like a mosquito; its bite causes a person to break into a frenetic dance. The Witch sends the bug to attack Dorothy and her companions as they approach her castle, just before the flying monkeys swoop in to capture the heroine.

The six-minute sequence took fully five weeks to rehearse and film, at a cost of $80,000. It was cut from the movie because of a need to shorten the running time, and because studio executives feared that it would date the film. (When Harbrug wrote his lyric in 1938, the word "jitterbug" had no larger meaning: in context, it was simply a bug that gave a person the jitters. While the movie was being made, though, the jitterbug craze in popular music and dance began and spread during 1939.) The sequence was also too upbeat, perhaps, for the darker tone of the materials around it.

The film footage of the musical number was not preserved; but an Arlen home movie of some of the shoot exists, and suggests what the result must have been like. Arlen's footage shows the quartet of protagonists dancing together, then Dorothy dancing with the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman dancing with the Cowardly Lion, as the haunted forest sways around them and the trees clap their branches like hands. (It also shows one of the stagehands who moved the trees in time to the music.) The vocal track and the orchestration for the Jitterbug scene still exist; the number was included in a 1995 CD package of the film's music, and often features in modern stage productions of the musical.

A trace of the lost sequence survives in the film, when the Witch tells Nikko that she will "send a little insect on ahead to take the fight out of" her would-be assassins.

The dialogue that begins the "Jitterbug" number would have consisted of:

Dorothy: Did you hear what I just heard?

Lion: That noise didn't come from no ordinary bird.

Dorothy: It might be just a cricket or a critter in the trees.

Tin Man: It's giving me the jitters in the joints around the knees.

Scarecrow: I think I see a jijik, and he's fuzzy, and he's furry. I haven't got a brain, but I think I ought to worry.

Tin Man: I haven't got a heart, but I've got a palpitation.

Lion: As monarch of the forest, I don't like the situation (pronounced "sitchyashun")

Dorothy: Are you gonna stand around and let him fill us with horror?

Lion: I'd like to roar him down, but I lost my roarer.

Tin Man: It's a whozis, it's a whozis it's a whatzis it's a whatzis. Whozat, whozat, whozat, whozat...

The meaning of the term "jijik" is left to the listener's imagination.

Tom and Jerry

The Jitterbug appears in the 2016 animated film Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz, voiced by James Monroe Iglehart. The Nome King sends him to attack Dorothy and her friends, forcing them into a performance of the song sharing his name complete with some choreography from the home movie. However, Dorothy catches the Jitterbug in her basket. Later, he helps her defeat the Nome King. Most of Jitterbug’s appearance resembles to 30s Jazz singer Cab Calloway, on his yellow suits and hat, red eyes and green face, albeit with hair and mustache.

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