Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kansas and the Wizard of Oz

When I was growing up in California my family had an annual event in late February or early March: Wizard of Oz Night.

My Mom would make homemade pizza, soda pop would be allowed in the living room during the meal and a large bowl of popcorn was passed around. Then we'd sit back and watch the 1939 MGM movie, The Wizard of Oz.

Other than the NBC
peacock my first memory of color television was the year we got a color TV and watched the cinematically dull, drab world of Dorothy Gale’s Kansas fade into the Technicolorful Land of Oz. We oooed and ahhhed as Dorothy and Toto stepped out of the tornado-borne house into the Munchkin village. We jumped as the Wicked Witch of the West appeared out of nowhere in a burst of flame searching for the murderer of her sister, and all the while I wondered why in the world Dorothy wanted to return to Kansas when she could stay in Oz!

Years later, imbued with these stereotypical views of Kansas I went off to college at the University of Kansas and realized upon my arrival in Lawrence that Kansas was not only very colorful but greener than California in August
…. the first of many Wizard of Oz myths about Kansas dispelled.

Like it or not though, L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the 1939 motion picture rendition of the tale of Dorothy's journey through Oz have shaped how the world sees Kansas and Kansans. I have been asked many times about Toto's well being and where my ruby-red cowboy boots are. Below are some links to resources on L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Kansas and Oz, Dorothy and yes, her little dog too.

The Book That Started It All...

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)
Online text version
Online audio version
Another Online Audio Version

The 1939 Motion Picture...

The Wizard of Oz (MGM 1939)
1949 Reissue Trailer
1998 trailer/promo of digitally restored film
2009 Blu Ray digitized version trailer/promo

Interpretation And Symbolism...

Secrets of the Wizard of Oz, by Rumeana Jahangir

Oz and Populism, by David B. Parker

Kansas and The Wizard of Oz

Oztoberfest in Wamego

2010 Information
Official Site (2009 information)

Dorothy's House and Land of Oz in Liberal
Tribute site
Official site

Ah Kansas!
During the 1980's the Kansas Department of Economic Development created a series of publications and commercials promoting Kansas with a play on words from L. Frank Baum's books using "Kansas, Land of Ahs."
Listen to a short promo from KNAB Radio dated 1984
Listen to a couple "Ah Kansas" radio commercials from KFH Radio

The Wizard of Oz
(A short introduction on the Kansas State Historical Society’s website)

Kansas Articles and Commentary
The Wiz Lives On In The Land Of Oz
Marketing Kansas
Kansas Is Oz's Home
Film and History in Kansas and the Great Plains

Search the ATLAS Catalog
(State Library, State Historical Society, Washburn University)
Baum, L. Frank (Lyman Frank), 1856-1919
Wizard of Oz

Kansas -- Civilization

The Wizard Of Oz
Other Motion Pictures and Stage Productions
The Wizard of Oz (1902 Musical Play)
The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910 motion picture)

The Wizard of Oz (1925 motion picture)
The Wizard of Oz (1933 animated short film)
Catalog of the Oz Movies - 1908 to 1938


Memorable quotes

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Quotes from the book

L. Frank Baum and the Land of Oz
(Library of Congress)

Oz on Stage and Film

(Library of Congress)

The International Wizard of Oz Club

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Website

The Wizard of Oz Wiki
(Updated by viewers)

Wizard of Oz Events Calendar
(Calendar of events around the world for book, motion picture and staged productions fans)

Other Oz Books and Movies By L. Frank Baum
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908)
-- Text
The Emerald City of Oz (1910)
Audio -- Text
Glinda of Oz (1920, posthumously published)
-- Text
His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz
motion picture

Little Wizard Stories of Oz (1913)

The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)

Audio -- Text
The Magic of Oz (1919, posthumously published)

Audio -- Text
The Magic Cloak of Oz
Motion Picture
The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)

Audio -- Text
Ozma of Oz (1907)
-- Text
The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913)

Text -- 1914 Motion Picture
Rinkitink in Oz (1916)
Audio 1 --
Audio 2 -- Text
The Road to Oz (1909)

-- Text
The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)

Audio -- Text

Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)
Audio -- Text
The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)
Audio -- Text

Article contact: Bill Sowers

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