Day Four

My Favorite Book

Wonderful Wizard of OzThis would have to be The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It’s a classic that I’ve probably read more than a dozen times. I usually find myself picking it up and spending a day or so just reading through it about once a year.

Some of my earliest memories have The Wizard of Oz etched into them. Of course, there was the movie. This was back when CBS would air the movie annually, and each year when it came on, it was a pretty major event. It was for me, anyway. I know it wasn’t like having the Super Bowl come on, but you know there were families out there who looked forward to that Sunday night when Dorothy would travel down the Yellow Brick Road, desperately trying to find her way back home. Maybe your family looked forward to it, and you all sat together and lost yourselves in the fantasy, technicolor world of Oz.

The Wizard of Oz still comes on TV, but it just isn’t the same these days. Usually you can find it on TBS or TNT every few months. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It just doesn’t feel as special as it did when I was five and I got to stay up late to watch the whole thing on a school night.

Aside from the movie, there was the cassette soundtrack. But the soundtrack wasn’t just the songs from the movie, it had clips of the dialogue as well. One of those stories that my parents always liked to tell was how I would listen to that tape each night when I went to bed. Dad said that I would get through it one and a half times before I finally fell asleep. When the end of side 1 hit, I would yell for him to come in and turn the tape over. I’d do the same thing at the end of side 2. But that was usually when he would stop hearing from me. They liked to show me off to their friends sometimes, all because of that tape. Since I listened to it every night, it gave me ample opportunity to memorize it. And at 3 years old, I didn’t always pronounce the words correctly, and hilarity would ensue.

For my 6th birthday, my aunt and uncle gave me my own copy of the book. I’ve since lost the dust jacket, but the binding is holding up pretty well, especially for a printing that’s more than 30 years old. I actually just read through it again a few weeks ago. I’m pleased to report that Dorothy still made it to the Emerald City. She still defeated the Wicked Witch of the West. And she was able to magic herself all the way back to Kansas, thanks to those spiffy Silver Shoes that she got when she landed on the Witch of the East.

Some of you may be saying, “Silver Shoes? I thought they were Ruby Slippers?” Well, kids, in the book, the shoes were silver. But silver just doesn’t pop on the big screen like red does. So, in order to show off that amazing new technicolor technology, they tweaked the story a bit and made the shoes into the famous Ruby Slippers. Isn’t that nice? You get my favorite book and a little cinematic history lesson.

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