How Long Did’ya Stay Fresh In That Can

Over 7o years and still as beautiful as ever.  I may have seen Wicked on Easter Sunday.  I may have enjoyed it… even appreciated it but there is not even a remote chance that I will ever LOVE it as much as the original 1939 masterpiece The (Wonderful) Wizard of Oz.  I remember watching it as a young boy on CBS once a year on a Friday night pre-empting The Dukes of Hazzard and Dallas (heartbreaking that my mother would miss a week of J.R.).  I was one of those kids who held a cassette recorder up to the television every time a song came on.  I memorized where every commercial break would be.  Tonight, Turner Classic Movies had its first of two trips down the Yellow Brick Road over the holiday weekend (tomorrow at 8PM is the final showing this time around).

Why is the movie so beloved?  I don’t think any two people has the same reason.  For me, there are many reasons why I watch it year in and year out.  The theatricality for one.  The set looks like it was created on a huge stage.  Painted backdrops.  You can tell that the land of Oz is created artificially and that is part of the movie’s charm.

The casting is brilliant.  Even at 17, Judy Garland portrayed a magnificent young Kansas farm girl.  She won a special miniature Oscar for the role in Best Performance by an Adolescent (I believe the official award was).  To generate the on-screen chemistry between Dorothy and Toto, the dog Terry lived with Garland for a time prior to filming.  The actress became so enamored with the dog that she asked the owner for permission to adopt female canine.  The trainer knew what a gold mine he had as he turned to offer down.

As has been reported quite frequently, the classic “Over the Rainbow” was actually cut from initial screenings of the film.  The song was thought to have slowed the action of the film.  However, level heads soon prevailed and who can imagine the film without it.  1939 is considered to be the year of the classic movie.  More classics were made during that year than any other in history.  Another little film, Gone with the Wind, also premiered and was the odds on and run away winner at the Academy Awards.  Oz was a cinematic hit from the start but it took a few years and re-issues before MGM felt that it was a financial success.

Of course my favorite part of the masterpiece, is one of my favorite character roles… The Cowardly Lion.  But to carry around an 80+ pound costume must have needed a large amount of physicality.  I could do it, though!

Who wouldn’t ming getting up at 12; starting to work at one; taking at hour for lunch; and then at 2 be done?  Or being clever as a gizzard?  Wait a minute, clever as a gizzard?  Unless there is a reference to something other than a bird’s internal organs.

7 thoughts on “How Long Did’ya Stay Fresh In That Can”

    1. OOOK then. Maybe we confused Alice in Wonderland with Wizard of Oz, but I don’t think an Oz XBOX game exists 😉

  1. I still haven’t played the first Alice game. No Oz games either- do any exist? On to topic, I watched WoOz a few months ago, but I don’t think it’s one I could see once a year. For movies I do see more than once, often music is a factor so one would think this movie *would* be one I see over and over, but for some reason it isn’t. I’d better stop now before I confuse myse… er, anyone. 😀

  2. I could watch it more than once a year, but I’d rather increase my encyclopedia of movie experience by using my movie time to watch new ones.
    As you know, WoZ is my favorite movie. It’s a classic, and a perfect movie, really – action, heartache, great music, and the special effects, cinematography, and costuming it achieved for its day are my favorite things about it. I had lots of fun being in the stage play… so much fun that I had to do it 3 times, but hey, it was a paid acting gig 😉
    I have heard of a video game or two based on Woz, but never played any, I don’t think. I did have quite the collection of memorabilia though, but I lost over half of it somewhere along the way.
    There are many interesting behind the scenes facts about the movie. I didn’t realize you were such a fan; maybe you want to borrow my book that talks about many of these things. I’ve also been looking for the 50th anniversary special hosted by Angela Lansbury that I used to watch over and over – lots of backstage secrets revealed there too.
    One of my favorite WoZ memories is when they re-released it into the theaters. Hubby and I went to see it, and we were the only ones in the theater, so I got to recite the movie and sing along with it on the big screen! Maybe they’ll do that again for the 100th anniversary, hope I’m still around to enjoy it! Thanks for the post!

  3. Oh, yes big fan! I believe the Lansbury special is on my DVD. It was on last night before the movie, too. Perhaps we can swap the book and the DVD. I remember going to see the theatrical reissue, too. I think we were the only ones there, too!

    I didn’t know that Terry lived with Judy prior to filming and the whole adoption attempt. But apparently the pooch had a relatively long career in movies. I like watching the movies on TCM, always a bit of insight before and after.

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