The year was 1939 and Hollywood was still a small town that was just starting to grow. Film and movies were already a favorite pastime, and inroads were being made to make films even more interesting and stimulating.
Produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, The Wizard of Oz was breaking all kinds of new frontiers in story telling, especially in the film market.
A fantasy, based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum, it would become one of MGM’s most endearing movies. Generation after generation have watched and been enchanted with Dorothy, Toto and the three sidekicks who end up searching for their own way home. Somehow there was a character or a group of characters, in the movie, that everyone could relate to. You could see yourself as Dorothy, or the Tin Man, or the Cowardly Lion or the beloved Scarecrow, who couldn’t scare anyone but himself. You got caught up in the search for the way back home, just as much as Dorothy was inclined to do.
The movie started out like many in those years, as a grainy black and white movie, showing the farm (dull), the storm (very dark) and the ensuing rise of the farmhouse taken up through the air to land in places yet untraveled and unknown.
The gasp of the fellow movie goers as the black and white renderings all of a sudden become so colorful and bright once the house lands in Oz.
The Wizard of Oz did not live up to it’s expectations financially and fell far short of the earnings it was targeted to make. It wasn’t until 1956 when it was released to television, that the film made it’s mark on history.
It became the most viewed motion picture on television, with yearly re-runs making it an annual tradition for the public. The story has many life lessons embedded into the fairy tale that made it a favorite with families from coast to coast.
The production of this film took over a year and had many remakes along the way as actors and scenes were changed or discarded and re-configured. After many production changes, actors reassigned or new actors hired, the first film was previewed on August 11, 1939.
It opened nationally on August 25th 1939.
The Wizard of Oz was and still is one of the most endearing movies ever made and although almost all the stars are now deceased, their lives live on in this wonderful story of a girl, a dog, and a storm that blew through Kansas.
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