Seventy-five years ago, August 16, 1939, The Wizard of Oz premiered at
Grauman’s Chinese Theater. It appears to
have been a major film event. I was not
around for that event.
In 1955 the movie was again released to
the theaters. This time I was around to
enjoy it. My grandmother took me to see
the movie. We walked to a bus stop near
her home and got on a bus to go to the theater.
I was about seven. I had never
been on a bus. I had never been to a
movie theater. We had a small TV so I
knew about movies. But everything on
television was only in black and white and the screen was about the size of a
dinner plate. I can remember sitting in
the theater waiting for the movie to begin.
The room was dimly lit and there were a lot of people. There was nothing on the stage and the
curtain was closed. Yes, theaters used
to have a stage and curtains. After a
while, the lights were turned down and the curtain opened and the movie
began. I don’t remember if there was
anything shown before the movie started.
I do remember when it did start it was a huge picture and it was in
black and white like television. I
didn’t really know what a tornado was so that was a little frightening. Then … when Dorothy opened the front door of
her house and the world of Oz was in bright, vivid, bigger than life color, I
was amazed. It really was the wonderful
world of Oz.
The next year my aunt gave me the
Illustrated Junior Library edition of The Wizard of Oz. I probably read it a hundred times.
I own the VHS tape 50th
Anniversary version, 2 DVD’s (same DVD I think, but one came with a special Deluxe Edition that included a reproduction of the Original Theatrical
Script) and The Official 75th Anniversary Companion (a really nice
I also have a pattern book to crochet 12
characters from the Land of Oz. It also
comes with a couple bits of yarn and a new crochet hook. But, like Leonard’s Spock action figure with
transporter, the box has not yet been opened.
I didn’t learn about the series of Oz
books written by L. Frank Baum until I was an adult. I have not read the other books. I have seen a couple of the newer film
versions but I love the original movie and I love my copy of The Wizard of
For me …
…Judy Garland will always be Dorothy
… … Frank Morgan = Professor Marvel and
… … …Billie Burke = Glinda
… … … …Ray Bolger = the Scarecrow,
Haley = the Tin Man,
Bert Lahr = the Cowardly Lion
… … … … ….Margaret Hamilton will always
the wonderful Wicked Witch of the West.
(oh, and I still think the Flying
Monkeys are scary)