First Ever Saturday Surprise!

Welcome to the first Saturday Surprise, a new feature on Filosofa’s Word.  My initial intent is to make this an every Saturday feature, but quite honestly, it may begin as an every-other-Saturday feature.  Not for lack of ideas – my readers gave me bunches of great ideas.  But next Saturday, I will be on a 4-5 day hiatus to visit my friend Herb, and that may mean this gets off to a slower start than I had hoped.

In addition to all the ideas you guys submitted, I came up with a few of my own, and today’s post is a combination of one of mine, and one of yours.  Mine is a “This Day In History” and yours, as suggested by JB of Mr. Militant Negro fame, is “Music”, including video clips.  So, let us see just what I can do with this, shall we?

On This Day in History, in the year 1939, The Wizard of Oz movie musical premiered in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.  Is there a person reading this post who has not seen The Wizard of Oz at least once?  Most of us have watched it numerous times.  The film, starring Judy Garland, was based on an American children’s novel written by author L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow, first published on May 17, 1900.  The book was translated into at least 50 languages, although sometimes with modifications, such as the Indian editions where a horse replaced the Tin Woodsman.  Hmmmm …

Original book cover and title page

But lest you think it has been all smooth sailing for the wonderful wizard, the book has had its share of troubles:

  • In 1957, the director of Detroit’s libraries banned The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for having “no value” for children of his day, for supporting “negativism”, and for bringing children’s minds to a “cowardly level”. Say what???
  • In 1986, seven Fundamentalist Christian families in Tennessee opposed the novel’s inclusion in the public school syllabus and filed a lawsuit. They based their opposition to the novel on its depicting benevolent witches and promoting the belief that integral human attributes were “individually developed rather than God given”. One parent said, “I do not want my children seduced into godless supernaturalism”. Oh for Pete’s …

A few bits of movie trivia …

  • “Over the Rainbow” was nearly cut from the film; MGM felt that it made the Kansas sequence too long, as well as being too far over the heads of the children for whom it was intended. The studio also thought that it was degrading for Judy Garland to sing in a barnyard. A reprise of the song was cut: Dorothy sang it to remember Kansas while imprisoned in the Witch’s castle. Garland began to cry, along with the crew, because the song was so sad.
  • The Munchkins are portrayed by The Singer Midgets, named not for their musical abilities but for Leo Singer, their manager. The troupe came from Europe, many of them were Jewish and a number of them took advantage of the trip to stay in the US in order to escape the Nazis.
  • The Scarecrow face makeup that Ray Bolger wore consisted, in part, of a rubber prosthetic with a woven pattern to suggest burlap cloth. By the time the film was finished the prosthetic had left a pattern of lines on his face that took more than a year to vanish.
  • The horses in Emerald City palace were colored with Jell-O crystals. The relevant scenes had to be shot quickly, before the horses started to lick it off.

There is so much interesting trivia about this movie that I cannot cover even a tenth of it, but if you are interested in reading more, check out the IMDB site. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane, and I will be back next time with something totally different!  Have a great weekend, dear readers!