Monday, November 29, 2010

Dark Monday - Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz
Wizard of Oz
Wizard of Oz

While I am taking my own trip to Oz - seeing Levi Kreis, Eric Himan and Jason Antone with my good friend Tom Goss - I thought I would share this favorite, 'The Wizard of Oz'. While in high school, I appeared in a production of the musical, playing a variety of roles, from one of the Lollipop Guild to Tibia, the dancing skeleton who served the Wicked Witch - the show didn't have flying monkeys, what can I say.

Wizard of Oz - Smyrna High School
Me as Tibia in 1978

Well, this was based on the movie, within the limits of high school theater, but the basics of the story remained the same. The 1939 film featured Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr and Frank Morgan, with Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton. It is a tale of a young Dorothy Gale, your typical teenager, unhappy with the life she was living. It was the usual angst of the age, where she had no control over what was going on around her, and wasn't taken very seriously. Before she ran away, she sings the signature song of the musical, "Over The Rainbow".



Dorothy and her dog Toto decide to run away from home, but get caught up in a twister, which blows a window out of the frames and knocks her out. When she stirs, she finds herself no longer in the black and white world of Kansas, but in the amazing technicolor world. She meets the natives, the Munchkins, as well as Glinda the Good Witch, who informs Dorothy her house has killed the Wicked Witch of the East. This, however, is great news for the Munchkins, who sing to her a welcome in "The Munchkin Parade".



Glinda sends her off to see the Wizard of Oz, as Dorothy wants to return to Kansas. She must follow the yellow brick road, and along the way she meets a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion, each looking for something and have a song to prove it. Here is the Scarecrow singing "If I Only Had A Brain".



One by one, Dorothy and Toto meet them all, and are soon prepared to venture to Oz. So they sing "We're Off To See The Wizard", dancing down the yellow brick road.



Well, rather than bore you with the rest of the story that I have to think everyone knows, I thought I would add a few other clips that were kind of interesting, like one about the casting of Dorothy. While the role made Judy Garland a superstar, she was not the first choice of the studio.



Margaret Hamilton scared the bejeezus outta me when I was a kid, her stern and terrifying looks, and that cackle! Interestingly enough, she was not the first choice of the director. Here is the background information.



For those who might be interested, here is some background information on Billie Burke, better known as Glinda, the Good Witch.



Such a wonderful movie, I still find myself watching it all these years later. And those flying monkeys, well, they still scare me a bit!

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