Star Wars Origins - The Wizard of Oz
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LEFT: Hologram of The Wizard's head addressing Dorothy and her friends. RIGHT: Hologram of the Emperor addressing Darth Vader.

In 1939 MGM released two spectacular color films, Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Wizard was by far the most elaborate and credible vision of a make-believe world at the time, and set the precedent for big screen flights-of-fantasy ever since.

Star Wars
Wizard of Oz
Obi-Wan Kenobi disappeared when killed by Darth Vader, leaving only an empty robe The Wicked Witch of the West disappears when Dorothy spills water on her, leaving only her empty dress
Jawas Munchkins
Bottomless chasm where Obi-Wan Kenobi disables the tractor beam, actually a matte painting combined with live footage Bottomless chasm outside the witch's castle, actually a matte painting combined with live footage (This idea was used again in Forbidden Planet)
Mechanical sounds whenever C3-PO moves Clanking metal sounds whenever the Tin Woodsman moves
Guardian of the Gate to the Wizard's palace Guardian of the Gate to Jabba's palace
The Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Cowardly Lion disguise themselves as "Winkies" (the Witch's guards) Luke and Han disguise themselves as Stormtroopers1

Lucas did his homework with the creator of "Space Opera," E.E. "Doc" Smith

Source: Mark Hammil, Carrie Fisher and a gabillion reviewers say The Wizard of Oz was a huge influence on Star Wars. The rest is speculation.

1 Thanks to William Grimley for pointing this out.

Star Wars created by George Lucas, © LucasFilm Ltd.
Star Wars: Origins © 1999-2006 by Kristen Brennan,
part of the Jitterbug Fantasia webzine.