Wizard of OZ Turns 74
Happy Birthday OZ
If there ever was a time when Oz lovers were recognized and understood for their nostalgic passion it may be this week as Oz and the world celebrates 74 years of timeless wonder. For those of us who grew up watching this magical event once a year, the memorable reflection is somewhat surreal.
I have always been a wizard of Oz fan, it is probably my favorite movie of all time. Yet, maybe I never really understood the genuine mystic, magic behind this 1939 masterpiece until two years ago when my daughter was just a year old, watching OZ for the first time. I’ll never forget as the Lion (the lovable Bert Lahr) burst from the woods with a cowardly persona disguised by a false intimidation. Little Anna’s eyes were as wide as they could get, fixated on this furry, ferocious yet vulnerable, unfamiliar character. She was mesmerized as I was over 40 years ago at my first Oz viewing. This movie really took you inside, like an out of body experience onto the "yellow brick road" to a better place than this conscious earth and it's all too often unacceptable realities could ever come close to.
This week to celebrate this historical event was one-shot theatrical runs of Oz in high definition in nearly 400 cities. And, This Wizard, hits stores on Sept. 29 in a newly remastered Hi-Def DVDs and Blu-ray.
As a collector of original vintage movie memorabilia the Wizard of Oz was one of my earliest collecting passions. And, 25 years later it may be the most popular of all categories on this vintage treasures web site. From autographed photos of Oz cast members to original movie posters, these are examples of Oz treasures collectors can’t get enough of.
Other events this week include A 71/2-story hot-air balloon that began touring the country since taking off May 13 from Kansas City, Kan., stops Thursday at New York's Tavern on the Green. The gala features Judy Garland's daughter Lorna Luft, surviving Munchkins and Ashanti, who plays Dorothy in New York City Center's production of The Wiz. All this and a yellow brick carpet, too.
Also to celebrate Oz turning 74 this week Ashanti will light the Empire State Building — Emerald City-green, of course. All of this to commemorate what many believe to be the greatest movie ever produced. During the celebration festivities in New York yesterday (Thursday 9/24/09) many flocked to the corner of West 67th Street and Central Park to see Lorna Luft, Judy Garland’s daughter, dressed in green and standing on a yellow brick road. Behind Lorna stood a giant-green hot-air balloon, the likes of which Dorothy’s small town in Kansas had never seen. Lorna was joined by five of the original munchkins, including the Coroner of Munchkin Land (Meinhardt Raabe) and members of the Lollypop Guild (including Jerry Marin).