Like the Very First Time

Warning:  this post has very little to do with teaching.  It also contains trivia and information that the average American of any age will never need.

Yesterday I celebrated an anniversary.

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A most glorious rerelease of the the most glorious movie of all time hit theaters this week.  The Wizard of Oz.  On an IMAX screen.  In 3D.

Take it in.

You don’t have to know me all that well to know that I have, and have had since age 1, a borderline unhealthy relationship with this movie.  I’ve seen it countless times. I waited breathlessly every year of my childhood for its annual TV showing.  I’ve owned WOZ records, videos, DVDs, posters, dolls, alarm clocks and ruby slippers. I can recite EVERY SINGLE WORD of the dialogue.  I’ve attended sing along showings dressed in full costume, had a WOZ themed birthday for my daughter complete with a tornado, and have even created a Munchkin Christmas tree.  I’ve had personal conversations with the world renowned authority on all things wizard, Mr. John Fricke.  (look him up – he’s real).  And I cry.  Every single time.  So that’s been a lot of tears.

I am not ashamed.

But yesterday, I was blown away (tornado joke!) by this movie again.

I am not only in love with WOZ, but with every bit of trivia and inside information about the movie.  And although the average person might not know it, there is a sort of WOZ cult who devours these tidbits.  Most people know a few – how the horses of a different color were painted with Jello (or the 1939 equivalent), how the original tin man, Buddy Ebsen, had an allergic reaction to the silver paint and had to be replaced.  Some of you even know that at one point, “Over the Rainbow” was nearly cut from the film.

But there’s more.  SO MUCH MORE.  Books and books and books written about it.  But yesterday I was able to see details in the film that I’ve never seen – and believe me, I’ve LOOKED at that movie.  I saw the razor burn/stubble on the Tin Man, beneath his silver makeup.  I saw the skullcaps on each and every male munchkin, so clearly that even my husband (yeah, he was there!) noticed it.   Judy’s freckles!!  Stains that came and went on her dress!  The cotton weave on her white blouse!!  Bert Lahr’s real eyebrows beneath his lion makeup!  Every bit of burlap on Scarecrow’s face!

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Someone asked me if seeing all of those things took away from the movie.  ARE YOU KIDDING?  It only enhances the enjoyment.  Think of it as a “Where’s Waldo?” type of exercise.

I might go again today.  Surely there’s more to discover, even 75 years later.  There really is no movie like The Wizard of Oz.

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