8.02.2009

Off to see The Wizards

(originally posted 7/4/06...following the acquisition of my own pair of ruby red slippers for travelling purposes)

Here I am halfway thru my fifth decade and I never knew that Judy Garland's Wizard of Oz was a remake of a remake and that The Wiz with Diana Ross was a remake of a remake of a remake.

Wiz number one was a 13 minute short made in 1910. The second one came about in 1925. Both were in black and white and were silent. The 1925 version had a black man in it as one of the main characters. It also had Oliver Hardy without Stan Laurel.

All of the films manage to hit the high points of the L. Frank Baum story. But Toto has a much bigger role in the 1910 version. He is actually transformed by Glinda into a big dog protector of Dorothy. In fact, he's about as big as the lion. And there is a donkey and a cow along with the tin man and scarecrow. The movie also ends without Dorothy returning home, something of a mystery.

I like the cyclone in the 1910 version too. It was a haystack that was lifted with Dorothy, the cow, donkey and scarecrow inside it and twirled in front of painted paper that was supposed to be scenery.

I watched all of the versions on Turner Classic Movies back to back starting with the 1939 Judy Garland version. It still has the most impact on me, I guess because It imprinted itself on my psyche when I was so young. When I was small, it was only shown once a year, around Easter and we watched it as a family.

The Wiz came about when I was older, in 1978. Never liked Diana Ross but I loved Michael Jackson and Nipsey Russell. I had already seen the stage version by then too.

To my mind Stephanie Mills was the only Dorothy, the true successor to Judy Garland, and the only one who can sing the song "HOME.."
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