The Wizard of Oz - If you have never heard of either the collection of books or any of the movies adapting them, it is time for you to hire a pop culture consultant, because they quite simply do not get any more famous than this one. The original book was written by L. Frank Baum, who also wrote over fifty other novels, two hundred poems, dozens of short stories, and a handful of movie scripts. But his legacy is the series of children's books dedicated to Oz. What Lewis Carroll, the subject of yesterday's blog, did for England in 1865, L. Frank Baum did thirty-five years later for the United States. He created a beloved fairy tale that has never been out of circulation ever since. If you are unfamiliar with the story of Dorothy and her journey to Oz, it is time to change that. Grab the book, see the movie, do whatever it takes. Just don't ask why Dorothy wants to return to Kansas and the fate promised to sweet Toto by the mean old Miss Gulch (played to effective creepiness by Margaret Hamilton, who also played the Wicked Witch of the West).
The scene depicted in the diorama included in today's blog has Dorothy and her friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion hanging out in front of the Emerald City. Nice. Now, some important trivia (kind of an oxymoron there, but we'll take it): The Emerald City was inspired by Baum's 1893 visit to the Chicago Exposition, the most famous World's Fair to ever occur on American soil. Baum was an ardent feminist in the era before women were given the right to vote (his death in 1919 meant he missed the day of complete suffrage by one year). He once played host to Susan B. Anthony when she was traveling for the cause. And the names of Dorothy's Kansas associates who would become the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion in Oz were, in order, Hunk, Zeke and Hickory.
One of the most famous movies ever made in the United States has to be The Wizard of Oz - the songs are iconic, and the image of Dorothy wearing her blue-and-white checkered dress and walking down the Yellow Brick Road with her dog Toto and friends the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow is indelibly burned into the memories of most Americans. There isn't much that can be said about this movie that has not already been said. It lost out on the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture to Gone With the Wind, but has proven itself as significant a piece of American art as the victor. The music, the color, the fantasy, the incredibly scary wicked witch and flying monkeys, and the adorable little Toto all appeal to people for different reasons. And who hasn't wondered if maybe they didn't have enough courage, heart or brains at least once in their life? Bob Omrod, the American Treasure Tour's very own master of the miniature, created a number of spectacular dioramas that tell the story of Dorothy and her adventures through Oz that have been on display in the Music Room since August of last year. There are six amazingly detailed dioramas honoring key moments in the film - the tornado tearing through Kansas, Dorothy's first experience in Munchkinville, the Wicked Witch in front of her castle, Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road meeting the Tin Man, the Wicked Witch meeting her fate, and Dorothy with her friends in the Emerald City.