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In The Merry Old Land of Oz

Updated on May 28, 2010

What would you do with a brain if you had one?

One of my favorite quotes of all time is, “What would you do with a brain if you had one”? Of course that quote is from one of the greatest movies made of all time. The Wizard of Oz, and the quote is from Dorothy asking the scarecrow what he would do if the wizard granted his wish of getting a brain. I have always loved that quote and still do.

The Wizard of Oz was actually called The Emerald City, but was published as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900 by L.Frank Baum. It has been translated to several different languages and has been a child classic and has been shown on television every year for over forty years. The American Film Institute has named The Wizard of Oz as the 6th best film of all time.

L.Frank Baum

L. Frank Baum actually had a series of children’s books about oz that he wrote starting with The Emerald City. In The Wizard of Oz the story starts out when Dorothy is swept away by a cyclone. She is transported to Munchkin Land where she discovers that the house she was in landed on the wicked witch of the east. It must have been quite a spectacle in 1939 seeing this on the big screen, where Dorothy opens up the black and white door of the house and is lured into a land of pure beauty and color. In 1939 color was used in movies but not to the extent of The Wizard of Oz, there were special effects in this movie that were never before seen in movies. Continuing on with the storyline, Dorothy tells the Good Witch of the North (Glinda) that she just wants to go home and this is where the adventure begins. Glinda the good witch, gives Dorothy the ruby slippers in order to protect her from the remaining witch, the most evil of all, The Wicked Witch of the West. From there Glinda tells Dorothy that the only one that can help her is the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. So Dorothy goes on her way following the yellow brick road to get to the wizard and that is where she encounters the scarecrow, who wants a brain (even though throughout the movie he manages to come up with all the plans), the Tin man who also wants a heart ( although it is obvious that he is the most sensitive) and of course the Lion who doesn’t think that he is brave enough to be the king of the forest. Throughout the movie, the Wicked Witch of the West, tries to get in their way and even sends out flying monkeys, which by the way used to scare the pee out of me when I was little.

Of course Dorothy returned home and she lived happily ever after, not realizing that she could have gone home anytime she wanted to just by tapping her ruby slippers together. It was a brilliant movie that is timeless and I expect millions of children will always be able to enjoy this movie, thanks to the careful protection to the quality of the movie.

More books by L. Frank Baum

What people may not know is that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was only the first in a series of books by L.Frank Baum, the others that followed were:

  • The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)
  • Ozma of Oz (1907)
  • Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz (1908)
  • The Road to Oz (1909)
  • The Emerald City of Oz (1909)

In The Emerald City of Oz Dorothy, her uncle Henry and aunt Em go to the land of oz and live there permanently, where her adventures in Oz continue in the books:

  • The Patchwork Girl of Oz
  • Tik-Tok of Oz
  • The Scarecrow of Oz
  • Rinkitink in Oz
  • The Lost Princess of Oz
  • The Tins woodsmen of Oz
  • The Magic of Oz
  • Glinda of Oz

So even before the 1920’s when the movie was in the works, there were plenty of readers of these wonderful books from L. Frank Baum.

"I have deliberately eliminated all the horrible and blood-curdling incidents of the standard fairy tale; mine aspires to be a modern one, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out." - L. Frank Baum

MGM finally released the movie in 1939 and the cost was an unheard of 4 million to produce, this was staggering for the time. The movie was moderately received and did gross 3 million dollars which would have been over the top if it had not been for the amount that it took to make the movie, considering it not a great success story. The movie was nominated for 6 Oscars however, including best picture but was overshadowed that year by another mega hit Gone With the Wind, which took the best picture Oscar for the year 1939. However, The Wizard of Oz received best original score and best song Over the Rainbow, Judy Garland also received an honorary miniature Oscar for her role as Dorothy.

Still Popular after all these years

After WWII the Wizard of Oz was re-released in 1948 and was better received, although it wasn’t until the release to television that the movie has profited a great amount of money. After 1976 the movie has purported to have profited $34,000,000 in T.V. royalties and not to mention all the royalties over the 40 years of being released to television and all the books, collectibles that are still being bought and sold today associated with the movie.


1995 Gregory Maguire published his book Wicked about  the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West before all the happenings of Oz and Dorothy. Basically it is the story of the witch whose name in the book is Elphaba and it really is the author’s view on the life of the witch and why she is so misunderstood. The book has gone on to become a successful Broadway musical. Gregory Maguire has also written follow ups to Wicked such as The Son of a Witch and The Cowardly War.

Reference to Dark Side of the Moon Alblum
Reference to Dark Side of the Moon Alblum

Myths and truths concerning the Wizard of Oz

Apparently during the filming of the movie the munchkins were known to get out of hand and were supposedly always late to work and hung over from partying too much. There was a rumor that one of the munchkins committed suicide and it was caught on film during one of the scenes where the tin man joins Dorothy and the Scarecrow down the yellow brick road and off to the side there is a shadow that supposedly was said to be a munchkin hanging himself, but on closer inspection it was actually only a bird stretching its wings. This rumor was false.

There was also a rumor that during the making of the Wizard of Oz, L.Frank Baum had already past away and in one of the scenes for professor Marvel, the scene called for him to wear an old raggedy suite and during one of the rehearsals the actor that played the professor, looked inside the coat and saw that inside the coat it had the monogram of L. Frank Baum, which was pretty ordinary during that time that people had their clothes monogrammed with their name and size. It was ironic to say the least that the coat they chose actually belonged to the original writer of the story. The coat was later gifted to the widow of L.Frank Baum This rumor is true.

There is a rumor that Pink Floyd‘s Dark side of the Moon synchronizes with the Wizard of Oz if played correctly. On the album cover there is a prism as well as a rainbow but Pink Floyd has never actually admitted to this rumor. Apparently you load the Dark Side of the Moon cd into the cd player and set it to continuous play so it replays over and over, when played with the DVD you wait until the black and white lion roars for the third time and then if you turn down the sound of the TV the line "balanced on the biggest wave" should be Dorothy balancing on the fence, "On the Run" starts as Dorothy falls. I have never tried this and I am not sure if it is true.

There are still people who are avid collectors of items from the Wizard of Oz such as books, figurines, puzzles, board games, movie posters. The most popular and most expensive collectible is the ruby slippers, of which there are only 7 pairs to date.

This movie still remains near and dear to my heart and always will.


Submit a Comment
  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    sophiemaroni first off I love your name lol and thanks so much for your encouraging words Cheers to you!!

  • sophiemaroni profile image


    8 years ago

    Love The Hub ladyJane1 you diserve a cheers. You should be a wrighter

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    freshlaundry71 thanks for reading maybe we should go to the casino together something tells me we would be lucky for each other if we can only stop laughing long enough to make some mula. Cheers to you.

  • freshlaundry71 profile image


    8 years ago

    I play the Wizard of Oz game at the casino and its the only game where I win big bucks!!! Love the hub!!

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    passano73 thanks for reading and Im glad you liked it. I look forward to reading your hub about movies.

    william thanks for reading. Isn't it great that these movies that you mentioned have really stood the test of time because people such as us 71 years later are still talking about them. Great! Cheers.

  • William F. Torpey profile image

    William F Torpey 

    9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

    Enjoyed this immensely, ladyjane1. "The Wizard of Oz" is certainly a great movie. I've seen it many times over the years and always enjoy it -- That's when they knew how to make movies! Of course 1939 was the banner year for great movies, including my favorite: Gunga Din. But, in addition to "Gone With the Wind," that year also produced "Beau Geste," "Drums Along the Mohawk,"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Of Mice and Men," "Stagecoach" and "Wuthering Heights." The flying monkeys were so scary that one of my daughters still won't watch the movie.

  • passonno73 profile image


    9 years ago

    I just started a hub on movies I've seen recently....I swear I wasn't trying to mimic you!Anyhow,the whole "wizard of Oz" thing pretty interesting.I have heard that about the Pink Floyd and wondered if it were true.I am just too lazy to actually do it haha.And as for The Fourth kind----creeped me the heck out.I still find myself thinking of parts from time to time,especially while lying in bed,wondering if aliens are going to come get me....eeeeekkkk!lol

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    TreasuresByBrenda thanks for reading and Im glad you enjoyed it. Cheers.

  • TreasuresByBrenda profile image

    Treasures By Brenda 

    9 years ago from Canada

    Great hub; lots of interesting info about one of my favorite movies.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Granny's House you are welcome. The Wizard of Oz is one of my cherised memories. Cheers.

  • Granny's House profile image

    Granny's House 

    9 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

    Cool hub. Thanks for the memories

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    MaryRenee thanks so much for your nice comments and for reading my hub. I have always wanted to start a collection of Wizard of Oz stuff but never did, I bet her collection is awesome and will probably be worth a lot of money someday.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    LadyJane, this hub is fantastic! My mom has a large collection of Oz memorabilia, It's awesome. This hub is terrific, loved it! Thanks for sharing :)

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Nellieanna I cannot believe that you were around 71 years ago and I am not patronizing you in anyway. THanks for letting me know this I would have loved to see this movie on the big screen and wow what a memory that is for you. Bye the way as Fernando Lamas used to say, "You look Marvelous"....Cheers.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    9 years ago from TEXAS

    What a lifetime favorite! I saw it on its first run in the movie theaters as a kid - 71 years ago!! It was just the same as it is today - wth the beautiful color, the great story and fantasy - the wonderful characters. Just as fresh today as it was then. And I adored the Oz books from when I was even younger and used to run off to browse a neighbor's collection of the books her grown daughters had loved as kids. What a lovely memory!! That it's survived so intact for so many kids over all these years - pretty amazing!! thanks for posting this, dear Ladyjane!

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Pamela thanks for reading and it was a tradition when I was little and when my kids were small too to watch this movie. Im glad you enjoyed my hub. Cheers.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Ladyjane, I enjoyed this hub about Oz. My children loved this movie and it was almost a tradition that we all watched every year when it came on TV. Thanks for a very enjoyable hub.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    50 Caliber Im sorry that you didn't get to enjoy this classic when you were a child because it is amazing through chidren's eyes. But even as an adult I still enjoy it because like the movie says its important to stay young at heart. Cheers.

  • 50 Caliber profile image

    50 Caliber 

    9 years ago from Arizona

    Lady Jane, I remember the movie as the one I couldn't watch. Back in the day it was aired by "The Wonderful World of Disney" which came on, on Sunday evenings at 6pm. Ah a collision coarse with church hours and my father never granted a stay of anything stopping our appearance when the doors were open. I guess by the time I was old enough to decide, I'd lost the want to. I have however since watched it through and giving it, it's due, coming from an era that wasn't so brilliant in colors and fantasy creation, your hub does it justice for it's individual style. I suppose I might be more fond of it had I been able to tie it in to my childhood. An enjoyable review with interesting side notes and rumors. I suppose folks don't vary much as years roll by, I always wonder what makes those tick who dream up on screen suicides and the like, cheers 50

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Green Lotus thanks for visiting. I appreciate your feedback I loved the rumors too. Cheers.

  • Green Lotus profile image


    9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    Great review of a great classic! Loved all the "rumors"!

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Faybe bay thanks for reading and or the compliment. I appreciate it. Glad you liked my hub cheers.

    De Greek nice to see you again and actually I tell a pretty good bedtime story as I remember reading to my children many times at bedtime and the Wizard of Oz was their favorite. Cheers.

  • De Greek profile image

    De Greek 

    9 years ago from UK

    You must be perfect for bedtime stories :-)

  • Faybe Bay profile image

    Faye Constantino 

    9 years ago from Florida

    This is one of the most detailed stories of the movie I have read. I had heard many of thee rumors and it is good to see at least one myth debunked. I saw more movies listed among your reviews and must say I have reading to do. I have seen Everybody's Fine, and must read your take on that, as well as the two I haven't seen but have wanted to. Great hubs Ladyjane1.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Mike thanks for the comments and for sharing your memories of this classic tale. Somehow I have always thought that this movie was way ahead of its time and 1939 didn't appreciate it at its full glory. Thanks for reading. Cheers.

  • Mike Lickteig profile image

    Mike Lickteig 

    9 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

    When I was a boy, the Wizard of Oz was on television every spring (it seemed to coincide with tornado season), and my family watched it without fail. It was fun and enjoyable to watch each and every year. My friends loved the flying monkeys and thought the cowardly lion and the tin man were remarkable. Considering it was produced in 1939, it was remarkable.

    As Bob Hope used to sing, "thanks for the memories." Voted up and awesome.


  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    billyaustindillon thanks for reading and I have heard many people say that the Pink Floyd tie in is true but I have never tried it personally. Maybe one of these days I will. Thanks for your feedback. Cheers.

  • billyaustindillon profile image


    9 years ago

    Jane so much on the Wizard of Oz that I didn't know - the books about Baum was fascinating and helps understand the movie better. I have a few few friends who are devoted Pink Floyd and swear by the Dark side of the moon and OZ tie in - I have never tried it but knowing some Floyd music you probably could tie a few things in. Great hub!

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Jonidouglas thanks for your feedback,this movie is so nostalgic and timeless and almost everyone living in the U.S remembers growing up watching it.Cheers.

    @drbj thanks for reading and for the compliment. I think I have seen this movie a kazillion amount of times because it was not only my favorite but my childrens and you cant say that about too many movies and it just shows how timeless it is. Cheers.

    @mwatkins I love that name "rubyslippers" thats great. I also agree with you about Wicked and the misundersood witch. I did read this book however and wasn't that impressed with it I think I would much rather watch the musical. Cheers and thanks.

    @rose56 I did it again? I will take that as a compliment. Ha cheers and thanks.

    @wayne thanks for reading and for that lovely compliment you surely know how to make someone blush lol. Cheers.

  • Wayne Brown profile image

    Wayne Brown 

    9 years ago from Texas

    LJ.. You write like ink flowing from the nibs of a fountain pen. This had an overflowof information, some familiar; some new but all very interesting. I probably won't try the Pink Floyd but I sure will watch with a new eye! WB

  • rose56 profile image


    9 years ago

    Excellent, You did it again. good job love your hub. well writen.

  • mwatkins profile image


    9 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

    Love your hub! My best friend since 5th grade calls herself "Rubyslippers" on the internet! I grew up with this movie and your history lesson on rumors and fact really impressed me! My hubby builds movie sets in Vancouver BC so I've been on a bunch of them and have become a little blase about it. No matter, the Wizard of Oz fascinates me to this day! And, BTW, I have several friends who would agree with this: "on the life of the witch and why she is so misunderstood . . . " LOL!

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    9 years ago from south Florida

    A lovely tribute to the Wizard of Oz, ladyjane. I loved that film the first time I saw it and have probably seen it on TV a half dozen times since. It's a real classic to me because it never loses its charm. Thanks for bringing it to life again.

  • Joni Douglas profile image

    Joni Douglas 

    9 years ago

    Loved your hub. And I love that movie. Brings back memories. It is the only movie that we could stay home from church on Sunday night to watch. If I recall correctly they played it every February on the Family Sunday night movies @ 7pm. See, now I'm smiling. Thank you.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Katiem2 thanks so much I appreciate it. Cheers.

  • katiem2 profile image

    Katie McMurray 

    9 years ago from Westerville

    Great topic, I enjoyed reading your hub on the merry ole land of OZ. Bravo! Thanks and Peace :)


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