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Munchkin Actors Express Fury At Margaret Thatcher ‘Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead’ Song

April 13, 2013

I’m no Conservative, but my opinion on this is that the campaign to have the song in the charts, like any celebration of anyone’s death, is terrible and completely inappropriate.

MUNCHKINS from The Wizard Of Oz last night slammed protesters using film song Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead to mock the death of Baroness Thatcher.




Ruth Duccini, 94, and Jerry Maren, 91 — who sang the ditty — said: “It’s terrible.”


Saddened Munchkins said it was monstrous to hijack the song — as the BBC fudged a decision whether to play it.


Ruth, among those who sang the song in 1939’s Wizard Of Oz, believes the campaign to get it to No1 insults Baroness Thatcher — and threatens the legacy of the much-loved Judy Garland movie.


Speaking from her US home, she said: “Nobody deserves to be treated in such a way. When we were filming the movie no one intended it to be used in this way. I am ashamed, I really am.”


And fellow Munchkin Jerry said: “It is shocking that the song is being used to celebrate the death of someone.”


They spoke after it emerged that tomorrow’s BBC1 Radio 1 Chart Show would not ban the 51-second song — but nor would it play the whole track.


After a day of deliberation led by new director general Lord Hall, it was announced that they would play a five-second clip in a news bulletin to explain why it was in the charts.




The move was immediately dubbed “a good old BBC fudge”.


In our Sun Online poll, 69 per cent of 12,345 people who voted said the BBC SHOULD play the song.


Grandmother Ruth — one of just three of the film’s 124 Munchkins still alive — was horrified to learn Ding Dong! was at the centre of political controversy.


She said: “Why are they allowed to use the music like that? I thought British people were better than that. I don’t understand them.”




In 2007 she was proud to be one of seven Munchkins at the unveiling of a commemorative star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Ruth, who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, said: “All over the world The Wizard Of Oz is cherished as a family film.


“Mums and dads and their children sit down to watch it together and enjoy the story, songs and dancing.


“Everyone loves the movie — it is magically heart-warming. This campaign makes me feel very sad.”


Jerry, of Los Angeles, California, said: “The Wizard Of Oz is a great family film. It’s a shame that the song is being used it this way.


“Thatcher was a great lady and I’m upset she has passed away. It’s sad that people feel like this.




“I’m so proud to be a part of one of the greatest films of all time — I hope people respect the memory of the film forever more.”


The song stormed to No1 in the iTunes chart, and No3 in the official UK chart, since former PM Lady Thatcher’s death on Monday at the age of 87.


The BBC branded the campaign “distasteful” but Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper complained they had still been caught “between a rock and a hard place” when it came down to a banning decision.


He said: “On one side there is the understandable anger of large numbers of people who are appalled.


“On the other there is the question of whether the chart show can ignore a high new entry which clearly reflects the views of a big enough portion of the record-buying public to propel it up the charts.




“Above all, in the middle of this furore is a grieving family.


“Nobody at Radio 1 wishes to cause offence but nor do I believe we can ignore the song. I’ve therefore decided exceptionally that we should treat the rise of the song as a news story.”


Tory MP Rob Wilson agreed: “It’s a good old BBC fudge. They should play the song because Mrs Thatcher stood for freedom.”


But another Tory MP, Sir Gerald Howarth, insisted: “Playing even part of this song will play into the hands of the Trots who have never forgiven Margaret Thatcher for destroying socialism.”


Meanwhile the lefty music producer behind the Ding Dong! campaign insisted it was “cathartic” because it gave those who hated Lady Thatcher “a voice”.


Mark Biddiss, 39, denied trying to cause offence. But he added: “To have something like this marking her death shows how strongly people feel.




“This is a group of normal people who want to be heard.


“It’s a very cathartic experience for a lot of people who feel that for many years they haven’t been listened to. I think they now feel they are being listened to.”


Biddiss’s Facebook page promotes the song — as well as selling items such as “beautifully crafted Margaret Spatulas” for £29.99.


Last night experts said New Yorker Yip Harburg — who wrote the song along with the Oscar-winning Over The Rainbow — may have ENJOYED its political revival.


He was born Isidore Hochberg but it is thought he may have changed his name in tribute to the Young People’s Socialist League — the student arm of the American Socialist Party — who were known as Yipsels.


US music giant Time Warner now owns the rights to Ding Dong! and is facing calls to hand over any profits from it.


Sun reader Andy Foster said: “Contributing to building some sort of memorial to Lady Thatcher would be funny and a kick in the teeth to the people that thought it was clever to organise this.”

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