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‘The Wizard of Oz’ Turns 80: Can Kids Today Relate? Absolutely!

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This year, “The Wizard of Oz” movie adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” turns 80 this year. Although the sepia tones and pop culture concepts of the time come shining through, quickly date-stamping the beloved film in the era in which it was produced, the underlying inspiration that can be derived from it still holds true. Regardless of the date and times in which we watch the movie, like its original theater audiences in 1939, we’re treated to an unforgettable experience.

Decades ago, when viewers first saw Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) transported from Kansas in her dreams, it truly must have seemed as much a dream as anything. Known for its use of Technicolor, the film was a departure from the traditional viewing experience many movie-goers were familiar with in the black and white films that owned the day. Not only that, the characters, the story itself, and the brilliant musical score combined to create cinematic magic. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture (losing to “Gone With the Wind”) as well as five other categories. It won Oscars for Best Original Song and Best Original Score, and was considered a critical success during its original release, although it wasn’t profitable for MGM until its re-release in 1949.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ Turns 80: Can Kids Today Relate? Absolutely!

Photo: Facebook/The Wizard of Oz

What was achieved in its release was the ability of its audience to relate to its themes. Although set in Kansas, the character of Dorothy could easily be anyone, from Michigan through Texas, and Maryland through Oregon. It was easy to believe that our problems were things we could all conceivably escape from at some point, if only in our dreams. It was easy to believe that despite the support of our family and friends, there was always someone – a bane of our existence – who would come along and try to pluck every ounce of happiness away from us, but that good would triumph in the end. And it was easy to believe there’s no place like home, wherever that may be. Where were you when you first watched “The Wizard of Oz?” Some remember it like it was yesterday. Others make it a point to relive the memories by watching it at home with their kids and grandkids. It’s been sewn into the fabric of American culture and history, and it’s a movie that will continue to live on as long as fans continue to find value in its story.