Monday, September 28, 2009

If I Only Had a Brain - The Wizard of Oz Turns 70

In the spring of 1988, back when I was in the 8th grade, I starred as The Scarecrow in my middle school chorus' production of The Wizard of Oz. Basically, the play was just a scaled-down version of the 1939 Judy Garland movie (although with extra lyrics for "Over the Rainbow" and "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" that, although written by Harburg and Arlen, weren't used in the movie), and watching it today is always mildly embarrassing. Of course, some of that is no doubt the embarrassment always felt at watching one's younger self make mistakes of the kind the older self has learned to avoid in the years since ("Watch your downstage foot!").

Some of the embarrassment is also a bit unfair, in that one can't help but lose in a comparison between one's own performance and the better-known version. However well I may have performed as The Scarecrow, let's face it—I'm no Ray Bolger. That man was a genius! Compared to his performance, my Scarecrow may as well have been the Tin Woodsman without his oil can. (It seems that Bolger was 35 when that movie was released. The same age I am now.  That's kind of surreal...)

But lest I dwell on being unfair to my 13-year-old self, The Wizard of Oz has been one of my favorite movies ever since. I've collected a small amount of Oz memorabilia, most of it Scarecrow-centric, and although it doesn't get anywhere near the amount of recognition that my Transformers collection does on this blog, it's still important to me.

So I was actually a bit annoyed to learn this past week that I'd missed the 70th anniversary of the movie's 1939 release, which was apparently back in August, and was somehow totally unaware of the special one-night-only "Hi-Def" theatrical re-release last week. But perhaps I can be forgiven in light of other events that were unfolding that evening. Well, I'll go with that story, but I still wish I'd known about it....

Of course, that special theatrical event was, itself, a part of the big publicity push for the "Ultimate Collectors Edition" Blu-ray release tomorrow (Tuesday, September 29th). I'm on the fence about whether or not I'll get that, which is actually saying something, since I not only already own this movie (a couple of times over), but don't even own a Blu-ray compatible player! Still, I at least didn't miss knowing about that part of the anniversary festivities!

1 comment:

  1. Those are good pics. I thought you were an *awesome* Scarecrow. :) I was very proud to tell all my friends "That's my big brother!!"



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