“More than anything, people just want stars, Andy Warhol once remarked. In Myths (1981) he depicts Superman, the Wicked Witch from Wizard of Oz, and other heroes and villains of American culture (including, on the far right, himself). Silver paint alludes to the “silver screen,” and the vertical rows of mechanically reproduced head shots suggest filmstrips or contact sheets, the sources feeding our obsession with celebrity. Yet Warhol’s title is more complex: “myths” could refer to the “mythic” status of movie stars but it also connotes falseness, the distortion of truth, and the fleeting nature of fame.
Originally, a scene with an insect called the Jitterbug was shot for the movie. It involved a dance sequence with Dorothy, the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow, but was ultimately cut due to time constraints. However, you can still hear a reference to the scene in the movie when the Wicked Witch of the West sends the flying monkeys after the gang. She says,
“Take your army to the Haunted Forest, and bring me that girl and her dog.
Do as you like with the others, but I want her alive and unharmed!
They’ll give you no trouble. I promise you that. I’ve sent a little insect on ahead to take the fight out of them.
Take special care of those ruby slippers.
I want those most of all. Now fly!”