It is 75 years old this year and was a big part of my childhood. If you are as old as I am you remember few choices but they were some of the best choices that were made for you. I’m talking about the film The Wizard of Oz being 75 years old and the few network choices that were available on the few TV stations that came to your home for free. Yes free of charge, just plug in the TV.
Now you have to pay a cable provider or get films or pay for Netflex or the Internet with endless choices where no one has anything in common to talk about because everyone watches something different at all times of the day or night. You can even get all the seasons of a series all in one night if you want to. In the old days this film came on TV once a year and it was an event and it was scary with the evil witch and her flying monkeys but the film also had a great message to live by.
And who can forget the yellow brick road of choices in life. Yes, we all get to choose which path we want to take in life. And now that you are old you get to wonder if you made different choices, went down the other road in life if it would have been better or worse than what you have now. Most kids don’t even know this movie at all. It isn’t Disney.
On February 24, 1938 about 75 years ago Hollywood’s MGM had acquired the movie rights to the book and announced that Judy Garland would get the role of Dorothy. Mervyn LeRoy produced the Frank Baum childhood fantasy story. The Wizard of Oz was a big budget film for its time costing nearly $2.8 Millions dollars to produce and distribute. The price tag was so high because it was one of the first films to use Technicolor. Most of the movie was in black and white.
Dorothy’s journey with the scarecrow, tin man and the cowardly lion unfolded across a fantasy landscape and ended with the clicking of her famous ruby encrusted red slippers. Despite a tornado of publicity and a personal appearance by Judy Garland at it’s New York opening, the movie did not initially strike box office gold. In fact, it barely made a profit in it’s initial release.
On Awards night, the film lost the Oscar for best picture to Gone With The Wind but the song Over The Rainbow did win the Oscar for Best Original Song. At least thanks to TV presentations and home video releases over the years The Wizard of Oz has gone on to be the most watched motion picture ever made according to The Library of Congress.