Most were old enough to have learned how to survive in New York or in Europe during the years of the Great Depression.

In the original film, of course, the Munchkins were played by genuine circus midgets, whose colourful contribution to Hollywood history has never been forgotten.

For although their antics on screen brought joy to generations of children, behind the scenes they astounded everyone with shocking episodes of drunkenness, depravity and wild sexual propositions from which no one was safe.

But back in the Thirties, when the film was made, the outrage was in respect of the behaviour of the ‘little people’ (as they like to be called).

It was shocking simply because it was so unexpected.

Many of them had vile tempers, too, so much so that one even tried to kill his wife.

These little actors might have been vertically challenged, but they were exceedingly tough.

To the millions of fans of one of the most celebrated films of all time, The Wizard Of Oz, it sounds like an extraordinary project.

But the author of the cult book, Trainspotting, has written a new play about the Munchkins - the midgets who followed Judy Garland’s every step in the fictional land of Oz as she went on her adventures over the rainbow, meeting the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion.

There were rumours of wild evenings with rooms ransacked and drunken midgets swinging from the rafters.