The children’s classic book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has a special session at Wikipedia: Portal:Oz, or something like, all you ever wanted to know about Oz, but was afraid to ask. Or something near of that. The WikiProject Oz is designed to organize and create better articles about the books in Oz series as well as their authors, illustrators, characters, and stage/film adaptations. And it’s open to contributions, as all the Wiki projects.
Even if you don’t like the story, you can’t deny that it’s open to many interpretations, from semiotics, psychology, literary, political and historic (why not?). And I’m not counting the versions of it, to cinema theatre and the different visual interpretations, like illustrated versions. It’s a vast an interesting area to explore, based in a series of books.
Let’s talk about the Oz books. In case you never had read one of them, the Project Gutenberg 14 different versions and books about Oz by L. Frank Baum. From Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. And more four audio versions: Dorothy and the Wizard, The Marvelous Land of Oz, The Marvelous Land Of Oz and Little Wizard Stories of Oz. Unfortunately there are no illustrated versions there.
Don’t worry, there is a LibraryThing group to The Oz books and it seems that they created a site, International Wizard of Oz Club, where there are many images of covers and some illustrations too. The Library of Congress has more images at its on-line exhibition The Wizard of Oz: An American Fairytale. Book’s covers, illustrations, posters, sheet music, pictures, artifacts and more memorabilia images are available to satiate the curious.
Ok, maybe you didn’t read the book, but you saw at least one film based on The Wizard of Oz book, didn’t you? I bet you saw. The Portal of Oz has 29 entries for stage and film, however, IMDb goes even far, with 40 results. Probably the most famous of them was the 1939 with Judy Garland as Dorothy. That version, considerate classic wasn’t the first adaptation to the screen.
Probably, the first version ever made to the cinema was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, made in 1910 by Selig Polyscope Company. This early version, directed by Otis Turner, was partly based on the 1902 stage musical, though much of the film deals with the Wicked Witch of the West, who does not appear in the musical. This film, or what survived of it, I’m not sure, is available at Google Video (13 min), but to be sincere, if you never read the book or watched any other version this almost rudimentary film will many few sense to you.
Films, plays, toys, stickers, sites, blogs, exhibitions, instalations, games, dolls, series, music, in almost all that you can imagine The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was transformed. You can spend a week searcing for imformation about it and that’s why my contribution stops here. But, before I finish this post I have to give a last suggestion: visit The Dark Side of Oz, a site about the urban legend around the Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon and its correspondence with The Wizard of Oz. Read also the Dark Side of the Rainbow article about that.
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