This year marks the 70th anniversary (and a rerelease) of MGM's The Wizard of Oz, which is really quite startling. It's one of those films that's absolutely timeless, and it's so ingrained in each one of our childhood memories that it seems like it was made for our childhoods. If that sounds mawkish, I apologize. To be honest, Oz isn't even one of my favorite movies today, but it rocked my world when I was small, most memorably during its 50th Anniversary in 1989. I know that isn't the first time I saw the film, but I was absolutely enthralled with the little collector book and the documentaries and "deleted scenes" featured on the VHS. It's one of the earliest times I can remember finding out there was a "making of" tale behind a movie I adored, and it struck me as absolutely impossible that the movie was 50 years old. I'm not even sure I was aware
Judy Garland was long gone, though there were certainly enough "if we'd only known" hints in those documentaries.

But I digress. As I said, I outgrew the movie and I was never particularly fond of L. Frank Baum's original book or any of the sequels, though I dutifully read them. (I should take that back -- I adore Marvel's 8-issue run. Beautifully illustrated! Buy it!) I've never known much about Baum beyond his history with the Hotel Del Coronado (he stayed there while writing, and designed the light fixtures!), so Meghan O'Rourke's Slate article on Baum was a treat. I'll leave you to read it for yourselves, but what thrilled me was finding out some of the history, myth, and inspiration behind the book.

Continued below the jump

categories Movies, Cinematical