The Wizard of Oz

I put in six hours of work.  I talked about “The Handmaiden,” “Jackie,” and “Rogue One” with different people.  After I was done, I had a salad for lunch and went over to the record store to browse their classical music section. I bought three CD sets of Maria Callas.  I took the bus out to the Paramount Theatre for their showing of “The Wizard of Oz.”  They gave away 500 bags of popcorn and reminded us throughout the night that the theatre was celebrating its 85th year.  I took a seat in the balcony.  The organist started playing at 7:30 with “Winter Wonderland,” several songs from the movie, and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”  It was a bit late for Christmas songs.  The newsreel showed Babe Ruth, Adolf Hitler, and the new Paramount Theatre.  We saw a cartoon in which Elmer Fudd bought a rabbit from a pet store.  The rabbit, of course, was Bugs Bunny.  Bugs did say “This means war.”  They spun the Dec-O-Win wheel only three times and reminded us that in two weeks they would be showing “Vertigo.”  I’ve seen “The Wizard of Oz” many times, the first time in a theatre perhaps in 1984.  The sound system in the Paramount could use some more power, as the dialogue didn’t come across too clearly to where I was sitting.  It felt like the real hero of the movie was Toto, who showed a lot of grit in the face of adversity.  I wondered what happened to the lollipop that the Lollipop Guild gave to Dorothy.  It disappeared before Dorothy started down the yellow brick road, and I had to suspect that one of those Munchkins stole it.  Why is Glinda considered to be such a good witch?  She is controlling and makes Dorothy jump through a lot of hoops to learn a lesson of dubious value.  Who is she to decide what Dorothy needs to realize?  Glinda is also amazingly superficial: “Only bad witches are ugly.”  That doesn’t mean that all bad witches are ugly.  Besides, you have to question what her standards of beauty or ugliness is in the first place.  Dorothy is not the sharpest girl in Kansas, as she doesn’t know not to go out into an approaching storm and is oblivious to people’s faces.  One thing I keep noticing is that Einstein isn’t mentioned in the lyrics to “If I Only Had a Brain,” but Lincoln is.  I wished that the string on the Cowardly Lion’s tail wasn’t visible.  The biggest character flaw in the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion is that they don’t recognize that they already have what they want.  I put some of the blame on Dorothy.  The biggest response from the audience naturally comes when the Wicked Witch of the West gets hit in the face with the water.  However, if the water missed the Scarecrow, why didn’t he continue to burn and turn into ashes?  I wondered how much rehearsal they had to put the Munchkins through to get their dancing just right.  I guess I could talk about this movie for hours on end.  I never get tired of it.  Watching “La La Land” made me wish that it had songs that were as good as the ones in “The Wizard of Oz.”  It’s impossible to bring back those days.  It seems a letdown that the movie ends in black and white with Dorothy making a childish speech.  It ends too suddenly.  The organist played “Over the Rainbow” after the lights came back on.  I took a photo of the Christmas tree in the lobby as I made my way out of the theatre.  I took the buses back home and felt quite sleepy.  I watched the news and question whether Obama’s punishment of Russia was meaningful.  Some of the people who died on January 1 include Hank Williams (1953), Maurice Chevalier (1972), Beulah Bondi (1981), Victor Buono (1982), Cesar Romeo (1994), Townes Van Zandt (1997), Ray Walston (2001), Shirley Chisholm (2005), Patti Page (2013), Donna Douglas (2015), and Vilmos Zsigmond (2016). Today is a birthday for Verne Troyer (48).

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