The Wizard of Oz: 71 and Wrinkle-Free

Google doodle celebrating the Wizard of Oz anniversaryIt seems only right that I pay my [long overdue] respects to The Wizard of Oz (1939); after all, my blog title was inspired by certain characters in the movie. Bet you’ll never guess which ones? So what better time than the film’s 71st anniversary?

When I saw the above doodle on Google this morning my day immediately brightened. All at once my head was full with munchkins coming out from wherever they were, Scarecrow falling off his hook, enchanted trees throwing apples, and on and on. In short, my imagination was alert and excited after being bored for weeks by monotonous, left-brained, work-related tasks.

The nostalgia evoked by THE WIZARD OF OZ is tremendous. I’ve loved film from an early age and this was one movie* I watched every time it aired on TV. Yes, that was before we had the luxury of owning a VCR. Most years we gathered as a family to watch it. Uh huh, commercials and all. And without fail, that green hag, accompanied by her minions, never ceased to scare the bejeezers outta me.

The Wicked Witch of the West with a Flying MonkeyReally, if you want to get technical, the Wicked Witch of the West was my first experience with a villain and with the horror awakened by simple yet terrifying imagery and universal themes — the scarecrow being ripped apart by the flying monkeys and the ageless lust for power are examples, respectively.

But the movie, to me, transcends cinema; it’s become a staple in many people’s childhoods. Do you know anyone who hasn’t watched THE WIZARD OF OZ? I certainly don’t, and if one such person happened to stumble into my neck of the woods, I’d smack that person upside the head with the biggest broom I could find and sick my minions** on them. Oh wait, I don’t have any minions…yet. The point being, this is one movie with which everyone is able to connect — it speaks to our imaginations, our desires, and even our fears.

Most of all, though, THE WIZARD OF OZ is timeless. Sure, there’s not the same level of awe when watching as an adult; however, its magic is the same. The joy I get from singing along hasn’t diminished, not one iota; the immense satisfaction I feel from “I’m melting! Melting!” hasn’t lessened. And I laugh out loud every time I hear, “You mean she bit ya?”

Therefore, I invite you all – young and old – to pull out your copy and watch this cinematic treasure the next chance you have. And for those of you who don’t own a copy, rent one! Most libraries carry it on DVD nowadays. Everyone should watch at least once a year.

What’s your favorite scene from The Wizard of Oz (1939)? Why?


*Second only to my all-time favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).

**Anyone else watch Despicable Me (2010)? The minions are the best part!

9 Comments:

  1. Good post, Leah. It made me smile. I think everyone over the age of 25 has seen this movie. Even my non-movie watching parents have seen it. We used to watch it on TV every Thanksgiving and I always loved it. Though as a kid this was a horror movie to me. The wicked witch and the monkeys used to scare the crap out of me. This and the terrifying Miss Piggy scarred my childhood.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Shawn. And, while I really want to laugh at your Miss Piggy-induced nightmares, I won’t; after all, I am the 32-year old who is still scared of dolls. πŸ™‚

  2. Big surprise , I was frightened when the wicked witch melted. I wasn’t very old the first time I saw it so I’ll use that for an excuse. Of course WAY back then we weren’t used to seeing anything quite like it on TV.

    My favourite scene would likely be when the good witch tells Dorothy how to get back home. –But you probably guessed that..LOL!

    There are so many good scenes in that movie. Hard to pick one!

    • Laura,

      Believe it or not, like Shawn mentioned, this movie was pretty much my [lightweight] introduction to horror movies. Growing up, we weren’t allowed to watch anything outside the world of PBS so watching this every year was a big deal for my sister and me. Heck, I can remember how excited we were to watch cartoons for the first time when I was about 7 years old. And, like you, I wasn’t used to seeing anything like this on TV. Thankfully, my childhood years weren’t plagued with as much “trash TV” as there is nowadays.

      However, I was knee-deep in “real” horror movies by the time I hit 9, so my innocence didn’t last very long. πŸ˜€

  3. How can you pick just one favorite scene? Of course the end a is a neat tear-jerker, “oh Auntie Em there’s no place like home” la la.. all black and white, just for a second maybe you wish times were simplier like it seemed to once be….. And of course i love the horse-of-a-different-color part and when Dorothy & the clan get all dolled up! But maybe what i love even more is in the begining when the evil bitch wants to take poor Toto away and Dorothy refuses to let it happen and thus runs away from home just to keep her poor little doggie safe. Screw the family, screw the tornado, screw the munchkins- this film is about the love a person has for their pet and even in hard times there is great comfort from the dog and he/she is truly family. lol

    • You know what, Lee, I never really thought about the fact that Dorothy went through that entire journey because she wanted to save her pet. That’s a great perspective / theme. I just wish more people would treat their pets like Dorothy with neverending love and loyalty, as if they were family members rather than accessories easily discarded when they become inconvenient or “too much work.” Thanks for giving me another angle to look at! I just love finding something new about a movie I’ve watched hundreds of times.

      • My pleasure. It’s easy to see those little “pet” related things when one loves their pet(s) as much as I. I have even refered to my max as the blonde toto before lol

  4. Oh, what great memories. It’s funny. I think my great love of Halloween at an early age made me love the witchyness of the Wicked Witch. I learned how to cackle like her, and say, “I’ll get you my pretty!” with just the right nuance. But I also cheered along with everyone else when they poured the bucket of water on her. Go figure.

    A couple years ago I sat my girls down to watch it with me. I was all excited to impart a smidge of my childhood upon my loving offspring. Ha! The older one thought it was a yawn and the younger one was freaked out to the point where she refused to watch the rest of it. Sad. So sad.

    • What’s wrong with these kids today? *wink* At least my daughter enjoyed it as much as I did when she first watched it years ago. Now she’s a full-fledged tween, so it’s not as “cool” as it once was, but she’ll come around again … they always do at some point … I hope. So maybe your girls will give it another shot one day and discover the magic they missed the first time.

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