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posted by martyb on Sunday May 17 2020, @06:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the following-the-yellow-brick-road dept.

'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' Turns 120:

Playwright, chicken farmer and children's book author L. Frank Baum published "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" 120 years ago Sunday. The book would sell out its first run of 10,000 copies in eight months and go on to sell a total of 3 million copies before it fell into the public domain in 1956.

Baum would try his hand at other children's books but returned to his Oz characters time and time again, adapting them for a stage production in 1902 that ran for a while on Broadway and toured the country. Baum would write a total of 14 Oz novels, but his biggest success – a 1939 movie version – would come long after his death.

Baum's intent was to create a fairy tale along the lines of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. Baum also admired the character of Alice in Lewis Carroll's work and chose a similar young girl to be his fictional hero.

[...] A portion of the success of the book has been attributed to Baum's illustrator, W.W. Denslow, who he worked with closely on the project. Denslow, in fact, was given partial ownership of the copyright of the book. This caused problems later when Denslow and Baum had a falling out while working on the 1902 stage adaptation.

The most popular adaptation of Baum's first Oz book was the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland.

Wikipedia has many more details on the story and the film.

[Aside: I had heard only the land of Oz was filmed in Technicolor because it was so much more costly than black and white. I've been unable to corroborate. Are there any Soylentils here who can confirm or deny it? --Ed.]


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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by mcgrew on Sunday May 17 2020, @07:20PM (1 child)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Sunday May 17 2020, @07:20PM (#995439) Homepage Journal

    To be fair, almost everyone was a chicken farmer in 1900 that didn't live in a city, and even some who did.

    As to color film, it was a whole lot more expensive than black and white, especially when that movie came out, but having Kansas in black and white and Oz in color was an artistic decision. If it had been for monetary considerations the whole movie would have been monochrome.

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    mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @10:02PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @10:02PM (#995475)

    You are probably right with the artistic decision. But it sure did not hurt. Remember that movie was the 'low budget B plan'. If Gone with the Wind failed this would at least keep MGM alive. Lucky for them they both did decently.