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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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @10:18PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @10:18PM (#995479)

    Yeah, sometimes I read kids' books of the late 19th and early-mid 20th century, and it's astounding how mortality, failure, risk, even rape and physical abuse, were in the stories. Kids' books of today are cotton candy. I would rather my kids think about how the horse feels when it's whipped, how the ant stores for the winter while the grasshopper starves, how the rabbits feel when the warren is gassed, and how the fleeing slaves had to hide, than about how the happy clouds and happy trees had a happy tea party.

    I guess a lot of it is that kids today have never seen someone kill pluck and dress a bird for dinner, or clean a fish, or so on. It's still weird.

    Thanks for the "Return to Oz" tip, I'll put it in our queue. Appreciate it, have a great day!