Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Oz

When I was a kid, we had no way to record television shows. No DVR, no VCR. (Although I did make a cassette tape of a movie or two—no picture, just audio, though.)

Also, we had no cable TV, so you either watched a show when it was on, on one of the few available channels you could get with the antenna on your roof, or you missed that show.

So when something you liked came on, it was vitally important to be there in person, at the right time.

There were some special shows or movies that would play at certain times of year: Christmas movies, Easter cartoons, etc. My most-waited-for by far was the yearly showing of the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.” My favorite movie as a kid, and my favorite still. The movie is a classic, even though it diverges quite a bit from the original book. How could it miss being a classic with Judy Garland singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”?

Wizard title page.jpg

But one day when I was about twelve, I decided to read the real book: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. published in 1900. It was successful enough that Baum wrote an additional thirteen books set in Oz. I absolutely loved it, wondering why in my entire (short) life I’d never found that amazing book before.

There are many things in the book that don’t appear in the movie. This is often true when books are adapted for the screen. I found it interesting that one such missing element, the people made out of china, was portrayed in the recent movie “Oz the Great and Powerful” with James Franco. And some things are different. For instance, did you know the ruby slippers in the movie are silver slippers in the book?

I could go on with history of the book and of the movie, but you can look it up for yourself. That’s what the Internet is for. ;-) But one last thought I’d like to leave you with. Usually when I watch a movie adapted from a book, I prefer whichever one I saw first, most often the book. But for some reason, with “The Wizard of Oz”I love them both, as if they were separate stories entirely. And that’s about as close to magic as it gets!


Unknown said...

I remember out still coming on once a year when I was little. Around Thanksgiving maybe? We always had homemade pizza and watched it. Good times!

Christiane France - Author said...

I remember when we had just two TV channels--both CBC (Canadian Broadcasting). One in English and on in French. How times have changed.

Kim Cox said...

Growing up, I used to watch this every year, and every year my older brother would pick at me and say we weren't watching this year because we had seen it over and over. Sometimes I would cry making because I believed I wasn't going to be able to watch it.

I'm not sure if I read this book or not but I read one similar based on this. I think it may have been titled "Wicked". Can't remember exactly.

Elizabeth Delisi said...

Heather, yes, I remember! We had our own "Wizard of Oz Party." Do you remember the one year Dad reserved a room at the college with a big screen TV just for us?

Christiane, even with only two channels, though, I'll bet you never felt at a loss for entertainment!

Kim...the book "Wicked" is about the wicked witch and is a fairly recent book. But you see how the land of Oz goes on and on!

M Pax said...

Those flying monkeys still scare the bejeetsus out of me. :) I grew up with the same lack of tech. I should read the book sometime. Untethered Realms / MPax

Elizabeth Delisi said...

LOL about the monkeys! It was the witch's laugh that scared me the most. Margaret Hamilton made a perfect witch. Have you seen her in anything else? Check her out in "13 Ghosts" from 1960? Check it out: v