Friday, April 08, 2005

The Making of the Wizard of Oz

From the diary: “August 13, 1981

“On the [flight] home [from Milwaukee] I read one of the books Rose gave me and worked some crosswords with Mom.”

Rose Smith was one of my mother’s friends. Rose and her husband Galen lived in Wisconsin and Mom stayed with them while Dad and I did the Oshkosh airshow. I don’t remember what books Rose gave me.

“When I got home I found what I hoped I would find! Three letters were waiting for me from Oz people I had sent episode ones to. YAY!!” [This was Episode One of the serial Oz novel I was writing.]

“August 14, 1981

“Mom went to a place to have her (actually the car’s) muffler fixed, etc. … David and I stayed at the library. I checked out The Making of the Wizard of Oz.”

Whenever anyone would learn I was an Oz fan they’d assume I was gaga over the MGM movie. At my most Oz focused I barely thought of the MGM Wizard except as that annoying Hollywoodization of my favorite book. Oz was a real place. It was not a dream. The Oz books were chronicles of what had happened there, not illustrations of pat morals like, “There’s no place like home!”

But there were many in the Oz club who had joined the club because of the movie and there would be programs at the conventions that addressed aspects of the movie so gradually I came around to a reconsideration. The making of the MGM movie really is a good story. Did you know Buddy Ebsen was the first Tin Man and only lost the part because the powdered make-up that made him look tin caused an allergic reaction and he had to be hospitalized?

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