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We're Off To See The Wizard Of Oz Part 2

Updated on April 30, 2010

There is nothing in his little bag that can bring Dorothy back home, so Oz decides to take her back himself in the hot air balloon which originally brought him there. But, as we all know, Dorothy ends up stranded in the Emerald City, only to be informed by Glinda the Good Witch that she had the power to get home all along; she just had to click her heels together. Why couldn't she have told Dorothy that in the first place? Because, Glinda explains, she wouldn't have believed it, she had to learn it for herself.
 
So, after a tearful farewell, she clicks heels and winds up back in her own room in the black and white world of Kansas, surrounded by the people in her daily life, who look remarkably like all the characters she met in Oz.

The story is infused with multiple layers of archetype. The power of friendship and loyalty is high on the list, especially when groups of diverse beings band together to challenge a common evil. We are shown that while evil exists in the form of powerful, malevolent beings, the only power they really have over us is that which we allow them to have, due to our own misguided and mistaken actions.

Through the allegory of the Wizard, we are instructed to beware of supposedly omnipotent, omniscient beings as they may very well turn out to be deceivers. We also see how most of the important people in our lives are somehow all reflections of a certain archetypal group. We are told, in no uncertain terms, that if we want to go looking for greater purpose in our lives, we'd do well to avoid travelling somewhere over the rainbow, and look instead in our own backyard because, as Dorothy instructs us, if it isn't there we probably never lost it in the first place. And, finally, we are led to the notion that no matter what wonders and oddities and adventures may await us in the greater world out there, there is no place like home.

The 1939 Judy Garland film is engraved in our culture as the definitive journey into the Land of Oz, but in the early years of this century, Baum's strange creations were already firmly placed in the American psyche. Various stage adaptations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz toured the countryside, including Baum's own production and at one time it was the most popular travelling show in the nation, breaking records on Broadway in 1903. Various Oz characters appeared on the market in the form of dolls, toys and games long before modern marketing mandated product tie - ins such as Davy Crockett, Star Wars, or Mighty Morphin' Rangers.

So you had Baum's Jack Pumpkinhead endorsing candy in magazine advertisements or Ozma pitching face cream. "What Did the Woggle - Bug Say?" was one of the most popular songs across the land in 1904. With the success of his Oz books, Lyman Frank Baum eventually formed the Oz Film Manufacturing Company, and produced numerous movies based on his almost two dozen Oz books. Movie historians note that Oliver Hardy (in his pre - Stan Laurel days) played the Tin Woodman in a 1925 silent Wizard of Oz.

Continued In We're Off To See The Wizard Of Oz Part 3

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