Eighty Years Of One Of The Most Beloved Movies Of All Time

“Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly. Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh, why can’t I?”

The Wizard of Oz was first release in movie theatres on August 25th, 1939

A Brief One by Doug Draper

Posted August 28th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

My father was an usher (back in the days when film theatres had ushers) at a long gone Capitol Theatre in Welland when The Wizard of Oz was released 80 years ago this August.

Movies filmed in colour was still very much a novelty then and I remember him telling me that he would stand at the back of the packed theatre, just to hear the audience say ooh and aah when Dorothy opened the door of her old farm house to Munchkinland, and the screen turned from black and white to a radiant Technicolor.

An image of an original poster from the 1939 debut of the film

It happened at every single screening.

The Wizard of Oz went on to become a classic and one of the most loved movies of all time – a status it continues to hold to this day. And back in the 1950s and 60s, long before the days of Netflix and gadgets that played movies you could rent or buy on VHS, DVD or Blu-ray, one of the television events of the year came every October around Halloween when they one of the networks broadcast The Wizard of Oz.

In my neighbourhood, there wasn’t a person outside during those broadcasts. Everyone was home, watching Dorothy, Toto and their friends following the Yellow Brick Road.

The Wizard of Oz remains one of my favourite moves and as a journalist, I can’t even count the number of times I have cited episodes from it to comment on some of the puzzling, disturbing or just plain weird stories unfolding before my eyes.

There are countless metaphors for life in The Wizard of Oz, not to mention the wealth of quotable quotes. “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others,” and; “Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking” are among my favourites.

Then there is the scene near the end of the film when Toto pulls back the curtain to expose the man pretending to be the Wizard behind.

“Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking.”

“You are a very bad man,” says Dorothy to the imposter. “No, my dear. I’m a very good man – just a bad Wizard.”

How many people have you met in your life that turned out to be a poor boss, or apolitical representative or poor at whatever other lofty position they may have ascended to, yet they were a nice person. I can think of quite a few.

Then there were the Flying Monkeys that chased after Dorothy and her friends for the Wicked Witch.

We had a bunch of what I don’t mind calling creeps on Niagara’s Regional Council and in top administrative positions at the Region during the 2014-to-2018 term that I sometimes compared to those Flying Monkeys.

One of the most popular songs of all time was also in that movie – one that, believe it or not, the business suits at MGM studios (and business suits are almost always wrong when it comes to art) wanted to edit out because they thought it was a little too slow and melancholy for what they saw as a children’s film

That song was “Over the Rainbow” and thankfully, the film’s director and others involved in the art of making The Wizard of Oz stood their ground because without the song, the movie would not be the same.

In the film, Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, sings the song with her furry friend Toto looking on. I find that song going through my mind every time I lose one of my fury friends, as I have this summer with the passing of two wonderful cats, Dylan and Dexter.

In my mind at least, they are “somewhere over the rainbow.”

You can click on the screen below to hear and watch Judy Garland as Dorothy, singing that song –

For more of a bio on The Wizard of Oz, click on – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wizard_of_Oz_(1939_film)

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“A politician thinks of the next election. a leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


2 responses to “Eighty Years Of One Of The Most Beloved Movies Of All Time

  1. Gail Benjafield

    And how many of us have referred to our elected politicians as ‘the Man behind the Green Curtain’? Many times. Or “and your little dog too” has entered the lexicon of those in fear of what may happen. Notably, the LGBTQ community has embraced many motifs from the film, a rainbow flag being the most obvious, but also references to Dorothy and Toto in Pride parades. Long may this movie influence generations of people.


  2. “I say make things right… name Wizard of Oz, Best Picture.”


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