Good afternoon, everyone. Sorry this week’s blog entry is so late; it’s been a weird week and the thing I WAS planning for you hasn’t quite pulled through yet. So here’s a simple MGM-related classic for you to chew on in the meantime- and I promise that this week I’ll have something extra-special ready!
Quite possibly the most popular film of all time, MGM’s The Wizard of Oz (based on the book by L. Frank Baum) recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. Everyone knows that Judy Garland had her breakthrough performance in this movie as Dorothy- but did you also know that she wasn’t the first choice for the role? That’s right- they originally wanted Shirley Temple for the part, but Temple was off-limits due to her contract with 20th Century Fox. So Garland stepped into the ruby slippers, joining an all star cast of Billie Burke (aka Mrs. Florenz Ziegfeld) as Glinda the Good Witch, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Jack Haley as the Tin Man, Bert Lahr as the Lion, Frank Morgan as the Wizard, and Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West.
I remember The Wizard of Oz as being one of the first movies I fell in love with as a kid, so it still holds a special place in my heart today. In fact, I have a “magic flip book” commemorating the 75th anniversary that my dad got me at Universal Studios as well as a Glinda Barbie that sits proudly on my shelf. Next up, I may have a full circle moment when a theatre company in my hometown mounts an onstage production in early 2015. Here’s hoping that whatever incarnation of this timeless story comes along, that you too shall smile and sing about “the merry old land of Oz.”