Thursday, May 14, 2015

Off to See the Wizard

When The Wizard of Oz opened in 1939, it was not yet the runaway classic we all know and love today. The movie of course was the same movie but the audiences had an embarrassment of riches to view (especially that year, with Gone with the Wind, Lost Horizon, How Green was My Valley, The Good Earth, Goodbye Mr Chips, etc).They didn't take it to their hearts as later audiences did. Not until the advent of television did Dorothy's adventures over the rainbow with her magical friends become rooted in the national conscience and beloved all over the world. There are a precious few movies that deserve classic status - certainly Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Butch Cassidy, It's A Wonderful Life to name but a few. But Oz continues to draw new audiences wherever it shows - and older folks like me can still enjoy it on many levels (not least of which is that it helps us recapture some of our youth). This light preamble brings me to my sad topic today: speaking to many younger folk (twenty-nine and younger), I find very few even acquainted with the great film. "I'd let my daughter watch it," someone told me today, "but i have no desire. I've seen little pieces of it. It didn't look very good." Another young friend said to me "I've never seen it. Should I?" A third admitted 'I don't really DO black and white movies." When we pointed out that the movie goes from sepia into blazing Technicolor, he said 'oh, well I might watch it then."
Going back to an earlier theme (lack of intellectual curiousity) this continues to astonish me. To quote the great William Saroyan:
“The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”
You not only owe it to your film collection to purchase the Wizard of Oz, but you need to watch it --- often --and share it with your children. Then try Disney's wonderful Swiss Family Robinson, Flight of the Doves or Oliver with the always terrific Ron Moody, or even a newer 'classic' like Toy Story or Finding Nemo. You want to really give your family a treat? Search for a copy of Hans Christian Anderson with Danny Kaye in your library or better yet, permanently add it to your collection. If you have a heart, you'll want to view it again and again. Never saw The Wonderful Wizard of Oz??? My God, wo/man -- how do you even call yourself alive??? ***** You can read many children stories and poems from this author, wherever ebooks are sold, including 48 Poems for Young Children, Plus Two; Carter Wingtipper Flies to Mars!, and the upcoming Gribbius, The Girl Who Believed in Miracles, and Wizapan Skylar, of Winnow's Marsh!

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