Friday, March 8, 2013

We're Off To See the Wizard...

Heading for the Yellow Brick Road, so there's lot's to chat about today.

     Tomorrow, my 2 young daughters, my husband and I are planning to see the highly anticipated, "Oz: The Great and Powerful".   I almost feel that I should have written this piece for Multiple Personality Day; I  have so many converging thoughts about seeing the latest Disney production.

     Instead, this post coincides with International (Working) Women's Day, and Be Nasty Day.  Curious don't you think, given that this movie's intrigue is thanks largely to its witches?  Did some marketing person plan this?

      I am a huge fan of witches.  A lot has is due to Margaret Hamilton's portrayal of The Wicked Witch of the West for the 1939 Warner Brothers' "The Wizard of Oz".  I remember this movie being broadcast every Easter interestingly enough.  The big draw for me was the witch.  She scared the hell out of me.  I had nightmares.  Still didn't stop the intrigue though.  I insisted on watching it every year despite the impending nightmares and my fear of the green faced, cackling, crone.  I would huddle
down behind my mom's chair and beg her to let me know when it was "safe" to come out.   A couple of years later my mom pointed out "Cora" in Maxwell House commercials.  Whoa! That just added to the mystique of witches in my young mind.  From then on, I still insisted on watching every year, but was more empathetic toward the witch.  Did they really have to melt her?  Always "knew" there was a lot of untold backstory lurking.

     As time went on I read a lot about witches; their history, Salem Witches, the Pendle Witches,
and Wicca.  I have a gathering of Pendle, Italian and kitchen witch dolls that adorn my kitchen and dining room.

     So, when word got out that a new Oz was coming out complete with witches, I was hooked.  Not only about the current film, but nostalgia kicked in as I looked up about the 1939 film, and read about the original L. Frank Baum's story.

      I was born in the late 60's.  The first TV I remember was black and white.  When color TV came out, the black and white TV was retired to my parents' room for a bit, only to be chucked completely soon after, for an aptly sized color TV.   I know it's hard to imagine, how much impact this had on a child.   Especially since today, babies listen to classical music while in womb, and once they're out,  they are immersed in Baby Einstein and other baby geared media.  Imagine if you will, a child watching Technicolor TV after watching black and white.  Remember this is in the time before 24/7 line ups.  Children also had to share TV's with the grown ups.  During big news events such as the Watergate Trials, cartoons were cut.  At least that's what I was told.  The point is, for kids, you had classics like Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, and The Electric Company; but only if you lived in "the city" and were able to get a PBS station.  There was the ABC Afterschool Specials; but they were a little deep sometimes for a 5-8 yr. old.  Saturday mornings were what you lived for; along with Christmas specials such as Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman; and then there was 'The Wizard of Oz'.  My daughters cannot comprehend that TV progamming simply went off after a certain time, displaying only colored bars.  I recently told them that my family had a party line when I was young.  I had a pickle of a time explaining why parties that shared the party line were not full of joy and celebration.  Even though I was totally engrossed in the film, when I got old enough to read, The Oz series didn't interest me.  Especially when I found out that the Wicked Witch of the West, wasn't that major of a character throughout the series.  She didn't have ruby slippers, they were silver.  She didn't even have green skin!

      Back to "Oz The Great and Powerful"

      Since the movie is rated PG-13, I have been doing a bit of research to ensure that my daughters will not leave the theater forever irrevocably traumatized.  Much of the movie's marketing is labeling it as a treasure for the whole family; while critics warn that the witches along with their flying baboons are very scary.  So, I consider what my daughters have seen, and what they watch every day.  Yes, I am one of those horrid moms who lets her kids watch entirely too much TV.  They're also very active and have fuller social calendars, than I did at 25, so I figure they'll live.   I have heard a rumor that the Wicked Witch is green because she has been scorned in love, which I have to roll my eyes at.  If this rumor is true, I am curious to see if I am going to feel sympathetic toward her.  Will I be thinking "Sweetie, he ain't all that- he's not worth you getting your hat all pointy and your skin green!"?  After all if a woman gets wicked it must be because of a man.  Shameful.  Now that's something scary that I will definitely have to chat with my daughters about, if it proves to be true.

     That being said, I have been chatting with my girls about the scary parts, asking if they think they'll be too much to watch.  "No, no, no... we REALLY REALLY wanna see it!"

      So as the song goes "We're off to see the Wizard..."

      I will report back, before the weekend's out with a little peek behind the curtain, and let you know if I think it's worth the trip from Kansas, or wherever you call home.