Friday, October 18, 2013

Toto Turns 75!

More and more I find the Olden Days interesting to me. I like the comfort of childhood I guess. Then again, maybe age causes confusion about just what year I am in, especially if former years were memory makers and I would rather be there on a given day. I was standing in line at Wal-Mart when I noticed a LIFE cover. LIFE?

LIFE and LOOK magazines were eye-fetching magazines when I was in fifth grade and I was searching their pages for current events articles for class. Another look at this LIFE showed it was not the magazine I remembered but one of those collector editions now being put out. Ah, furthermore this whole issue was devoted to the movie The Wizard of Oz and saluting its 75th birthday. You kidding me? Wow, a cornerstone in my Kansas life! The magazine jumped into my shopping cart (what publishers and Wal-Mart alike hope for at the checkout) and I toted it home for a visit to 1956 by way of 1939.

I first became acquainted with Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz when my mother read me a chapter a day at nap time each afternoon. I loved the story. My mother had seen the movie in 1939 when it was released and she was ten years old. I was a little younger than ten when the movie first played in homes on the televisions. That night my dad went to bed due to work the next day, and my sister was down because she was only three years old.

It was a rare occasion: time for just Mom and me in the dark, late night. Oh, I loved the story all over again with a little bit of fear (tornados), happiness (songs along the way), dogs (Toto) and friends (a scarecrow, tin man, and lion). We followed the Yellow Brick Road all the way to intermission sharing the sofa and being real quiet in the small bungalow where the rest of the family slept. At intermission we went to the kitchen and got glasses of milk and saltines. (I love saltines to this day.) Then the show began again, this time with flying monkeys and melting witches! I have believed in the power of ruby slippers ever since that night.

The LIFE issue is full of pictures and tidbits about this famous movie like how many of the stars were second choices. Did you know they wanted Shirley Temple to play Dorothy? But it was Judy Garland that put Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the big hit list. And Buddy Ebsen was first choice for the Scarecrow…then he moved to the Tin Man but was allergic to the aluminum dust necessary to play the part. He ended up in the hospital and went on to become the character of Jed Clampit instead.

How wonderful it must be to be a writer and to generate a story that holds both children and adults in hearts for years. To have created flying monkeys that are still in our lingo today...or lines that threaten with few words like “I’ll get you my little pretty!”

The year 1939 was great for movies and many were made from books: Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Of Mice and Men, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Stagecoach, and more. I have watched many of these originals or the remakes in my lifetime. The power of a good story lives forever…and often takes me ‘home’ with the turn of a page and a click of my heels.


Sioux said...

Claudia--I saw this magazine for sale at a store, but didn't open it up and look at the contents.

Your post makes me want to go out and buy it...

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

As a child I looked forward to the annual TV airing of "The Wizard of Oz." It only came on once a year (like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Cinderella" with Leslie Ann Warren) and so was a big event. Wonderful movie, terrific music, cast, and timeless characters. Thanks for highlighting it here.

Susan said...

Oh Bookie, that was such a totally delightful and heart-thumping story, wasn't it? So imaginative! So attention-getting.

I always loved the Wizard of Oz.

You have such lovely memories of seeing it with your Mum.

One of my special memories with my Mum, one of the RARE times I was alone with her, I was about six. We stopped for a vanilla milkshake. It came in a cold, silver container and one could pour it into the glass and then sip the sweet drink with a straw.

To this day, I LOVE vanilla milkshakes! Love them!

Take care and hope you have a wonderful weekend. Susan p.s. So nice to chat with you "my pretty."

Marylin Warner said...

I hadn't seen the magazine, but you've made me want to go out and find a copy!
I have stuffed doll-type figures of all the characters, plus books, pop-up picture books, and two snow-globes and sparkly ruby slipper Christmas ornaments.
It's a way of life in Kansas, a tradition I brought with me to Colorado.
Excellent post, Claudia!

Jenny said...

Oh...I remember so well the wait for the annual viewing of this!

I think they just had MacDonald toys in the Wizard of Oz.

I've been pretty out of it, though, so I'm not totally sure.