With a degree in Literature, Margaret Minnicks has the skills to review books and other publications to give readers important information.
L. Frank Baum first published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900. The book was reprinted several times. The popular 1902 Broadway musical and MGM's 1939 live-action film had a shorter title. Today, most people know about the book, film, movie, and Broadway play by the short title, The Wizard of Oz. The Wiz was also an adaptation of Baum's book.
The Wizard of Oz became an annual television event in the 1950s and 1960s that appealed to people of all ages. It had been remade many times with Judy Garland, Stephanie Mills, and Dianne Ross in the lead role as Dorothy.
Baum wrote thirteen additional Oz books as sequels after his first one was so successful.
A Spiritual Journey
Some people view the classic as having something that can help them in their own lives. Christians believe it is a search for redemption. Buddhists believe it is a quest for spiritual enlightenment. New Age believers think the story has a lot of metaphors for a spiritual pilgrimage. All others believe everyone should follow their own "yellow brick road" to discover what is needed in their lives.
Despite her familiarity with life in Kansas, Dorothy wondered what life offered beyond the small farm where she lived with Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and her dog, Toto. Dorothy wondered what was "over the rainbow."
One day, Dorothy and Toto were caught up in a tornado that took the house out of Kansas to the magical land of Oz. The house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East and killed her. The Good Witch of the North gives Dorothy magic slippers that once belonged to the Wicked Witch. The Good Witch tells Dorothy the only way she can return home is to follow the yellow brick road to Emerald City and get help from the Wizard of Oz.
On her way down the yellow brick road, Dorothy meets The Scarecrow who wants a brain. Therefore, Dorothy freed him from the pole on which he was hanging and takes him along. Tin Woodman wants a heart. She applies oil from a can to the rusted connections. Cowardly Lion wants courage.
Dorothy invites them to journey with her and Toto to Emerald City to get the help they needed from the Wizard.
All four of the travelers believe that the Wizard could solve their problems and give them what they want. They overcome many obstacles on their journey. When Dorothy, her dog, and her three companions get to their destination, they anticipate getting the help they needed. However, they find out that the Wizard of Oz can't help them because his image is an illusion.
Dorothy Gale does get back home to Kansas by means of magic. She was told to click her heels together three times and say, "There's no place like home." After she does exactly as she was instructed to do, she awakens in her bed in a room filled with her family and friends. Dorothy insists her journey was real.
This familiar story of Dorothy's journey along the yellow brick road reminds us of our own spiritual journey. Dorothy was uneasy with her life and wondered what was beyond her limited space in Kansas. She, like some of us, longed for something more when we become uncomfortable with our lives.
Like Dorothy, we desire to find out if something better is "somewhere over the rainbow." We go along with Dorothy and her companions on the yellow brick road as our own spiritual path to get our needs met. Like with Dorothy, there are barriers along the way.
It is interesting that Dorothy's need was to get back home where she wanted to leave in the beginning. By being away from home, she discovered that where she ended up was more flawed than the real world she was already living in.
The next time you watch The Wizard of Oz, pay attention to these details from the movie. Also, compare your own spiritual journey to Dorothy's journey.
"The Wizard of Oz" Trivia
The Magic Slippers
In the 1939 film classic of The Wizard of Oz, sixteen-year-old Judy Garland played the part of Dorothy Gale who wore sequined slippers. In the original book by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy's magic slippers were silver. The color was changed to ruby red in the technicolor movie so they would show up more vividly along the yellow-brick road. The red slippers are now on display in the American History Museum.
Judy Garland: Not MGM's First Choice
Judy Garland was not Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's first choice for the leading role as Dorothy. Because Shirley Temple was already under contract with 20th Century Fox, Garland got the part.