The Movie - Trivia and Miscellany

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[NOTE: Among these questions are many about the characters in The Movie — but only for characters who appear in just The Movie. For questions about characters who appear in the books or other theatrical presentations as well as The Movie, see the section about Oz Characters.]

Contents

Does Miss Gulch swear in The Movie?

In 1939? With the Hays Commission, the Legion of Decency, and city censorship boards? In the same year questions were raised over Rhett Butler's parting words to Scarlett O'Hara ("Frankly, my dear, I don't give a...")? In a movie that millions of children would see? Not likely. No, the line that people mishear and think includes a mild swear word is: "If you don't hand over that dog, I'll bring a damage suit that'll take your whole farm." (Emphasis mine.)

What is Miss Gulch's first name?

Almira. Aunt Em reveals it to us in her tirade against the old hag after taking Toto ("Almira Gulch, just because you own half the county..."). And yes, that is the proper spelling, as given in the script.

Isn't Miss Gulch out there somewhere, ready to take Toto away again?

Probably. But it's never explained in The Movie where she is, whether or not she survived the cyclone, or what Dorothy and her family and friends are going to do when she comes back for Toto. An explanation was filmed for The Movie, but it was cut from the final release. Dorothy decided to give Toto to one of the farmhands, so he could look after Toto but Dorothy could still play with him.

What's the name of Professor Marvel's horse?

Sylvester. Professor Marvel reveals this as the cyclone is approaching: "There's a storm coming, Sylvester, a whopper!"

What color were the Wicked Witch of the East's stockings?

All we see of the Wicked Witch of the East in The Movie are her stocking-clad feet in the Ruby Slippers. And those stocking are black and white, in broad horizontal stripes.

Why does one of the Munchkin town fathers add "If any" to the Munchkin Mayor's mention of descendants?

In case you're wondering where this comes from, after the Wicked Witch of the East is declared dead, the Munchkin Mayor says, "Then this is a day of independence, for all the Munchkins and their descendants." To which one of the city fathers adds, "If any." That particular Munchkin is a lawyer, and "if any" is a legal term to cover the possibility of an event not happening. So that Munchkin lawyer was just doing his job.

Another comment I've received reminds me that The Movie came out in 1939, as the Great Depression was winding down and the economy was finally starting to look a little better. This would have been the first time many Americans would have had to fill out government forms for aid, Social Security, and the like. To quote my commenter, "Many of these forms had questions where 'if any' was used (such as 'children’s names (if any)) so people wouldn’t be confused if the question asked for something they didn’t have. And thus, in the Munchkin world, 'Then this is a day of independence, for all the Munchkins and their descendants.' 'If any' would bring a knowing chuckle from a form weary public."

Where does the Red Brick Road go?

Many people have spotted the Red Brick Road intertwined with the more famous Yellow Brick Road, and asked about this. There is no definitive answer, however. The Munchkin Army enters the city via the Red Brick Road, so that may be the way to the barracks. Also, Glinda's bubble appears to head in that general direction as she leaves, so that may be the way to her home in the north. (This was, in fact, the basis for an amusing story, "Follow the Other Brick Road" by Frederick E. Otto, in the 1989 edition of Oziana, IWOC's annual fiction anthology.) It does appear, however, that Glinda's bubble enters Munchkinland from the opposite direction. The Red Brick Road is used in Roger S. Baum's novel The Oz Odyssey.

What's a "ding-a-derry"? Or a "gizzard"?

Let's just say that lyricist E. Y. Harburg was more concerned with how his words fit together and rhymed than that they were all real words and used properly! These are two examples of lyrics he made up for the songs, both sung by the Scarecrow. "Ding-a-derry" is something good, but I have no idea how clever a gizzard is. (I doubt that this is the same gizzard that is a part of a bird's digestive system!)

What did the WWW write in the sky over the Emerald City?

"Surrender Dorothy." This was cut down from the originally planned, and possibly even shot, "Surrender Dorothy or Die, WWW."

What is that the Scarecrow is carrying in the Witch's forest?

When you go off into a strange forest to fight a wicked witch, be prepared. That's what's up with all the strange devices Dorothy's three friends are carrying. The Tin Woodman, besides his ax, wields a large monkey wrench. The Cowardly Lion has a butterfly net and an old-fashioned chemical sprayer labeled "Witch Remover". And the Scarecrow has a very large stick and — this is the one that is hardest to notice, and causes the most alarm when people do see it — a pistol. (Dorothy is only carrying her basket, so I guess she thinks the others will protect her.) Some have thought that it might be a water pistol — what better way to deal with an aquaphobic wicked witch? — but close-up examinations of freeze-frames of the DVD show that is is not a water pistol, but a standard one. (Don't forget, our friends don't know that water will melt the witch until Dorothy throws that bucket at her.) The Wicked Witch later caused these items to disappear in a portion of the scene that was cut during editing.

What are the Wicked Witch's guards called?

Although not named in The Movie, those tall, green-skinned men she has enslaved to be her guards are the Winkies. This name goes back to the book, as the Winkies are the people who live in the west and are enslaved by the Wicked Witch there as well. Some have speculated that, since the Winkies and the Wicked Witch are both green-skinned and long-nosed in The Movie, the Wicked Witch is herself a Winkie. The Winkies in the book, it should be added, are not tall and green, they're rather ordinary Ozites like the Munchkins.

What is it that the Wicked Witch's guards are chanting?

The Witch's Winkie guards, while parading outside her castle, are chanting something that sounds almost like it might actually mean something. Some have speculated that they're saying "All we own, we owe her," or "Oh we love (or loathe) the old one," or just nonsense, like "ooh ee ooh, ee ooh ooh." According to the screenplay, they're chanting, "O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!"

What is wrong with the Scarecrow's math? Doesn't he know the Pythagorean Theorem?

No, he doesn't. In The Movie, when he receives his diploma, the Scarecrow quite clearly but rapidly states: "The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side." But this is mathematical nonsense. The Pythagorean Theorem, which I assume he is trying to say, states that the sums of the squares (not square roots) of the legs (not just any two sides) of a right triangle (not an isosceles one) is equal to the square of the hypotenuse — which would be the remaining side, so the writers didn't get it entirely wrong... At any rate, the Scarecrow's diploma isn't as effective as he or his friends believe it to be, at least not in that scene. (In the book, the Wizard fills the Scarecrow's head with bran, pins, and needles, thus making his bran-new brains sharp. But they actually seem to work in the book, as he is wise enough not to recite any math equations at all.) The German language version of The Movie, at least, has the correct formula for the theorem. For more about the Pythagorean Theorem, take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_theorem.

What's this I hear about a connection between The Movie and the classic Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon?

There seems to be one, if you look for it. Nobody seems to know how this phenomenon was discovered, but if you start Dark Side of the Moon on Leo's third roar at the very start of The Movie, you can observe some unusual coincidences. Sometimes the action in the album matches the action on the screen, sometimes the characters seem to be lip synching or dancing to the music, and sometimes other odd things happen, such as the cash register for "Money" starting up just as The Movie changes to color. Since Dark Side of the Moon is shorter than The Movie, people have tried a variety of ways to extend the effect, either by repeating Dark Side or by putting on another Pink Floyd album. Others have even tried starting the album at different points in The Movie, or changing the order of the tracks around. All seem to have found some success.

This raises the question, was it deliberate? Did Pink Floyd plan to match the album up with The Movie? Probably not, since there was no home video version of The Wizard of Oz in 1973, the year Dark Side of the Moon was released, that the musicians or writers could have consulted for the timing. The variety of different ways people have found to play the two together, and the other albums people have tried to play with The Movie — or other movies with Dark Side of the Moon — also casts doubt on any sort of plan. The members of Pink Floyd also have denied any knowledge of this, claiming The Movie never came up once during recording.

There are a number of WWW sites that delve into this phenomenon, and they can be found on my own web site (TMOHH) at http://thewizardofoz.info/wiki/The_famous_film_version. Some of these go into the wider topic of album/movie synchronization, with a variety to try out.


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