In honor of the current collaborative campaign among Warner Bros., The Wizard of Oz and Habitat for Humanity, we have chosen Dorothy’s famous declaration, “There’s no place like home!” as the theme of this month’s blog.
When we think about our earliest memories of watching The Wizard of Oz for the first time, many of us think of home. That is, we probably recall anticipating the impending annual television broadcast with great excitement because we knew it would be a special “family night.” Perhaps we’d take a bath early and change into our pajamas so we’d go off to bed as soon as the movie ended. Maybe we’d head over to grandma’s house to see The Wizard of Oz there. Or it may have been one of the only times we can recall everyone in the family agreeing on what TV channel to watch!
When the day arrived, we’d count down the hours with excruciating suspense until the magical moment when The Wizard of Oz finally began, preceded by an announcement that regular programming was pre-empted for this special broadcast. For the next two hours, we’d be totally spellbound! Who remembers the unspoken rule that no one could talk except during commercials? And yet we couldn’t help but boo the Wicked Witch of the West or laugh out loud at the Cowardly Lion. When Judy Garland sang “Over the Rainbow” with such beautiful simplicity, did any of us shed a small tear? The Kansas twister was certainly fearsome—but no more so than those dreaded Winged Monkeys! Yet through it all, we knew we were safe and cozy under a comforter or blanket, surrounded by family.
How many of us remember chattering about The Wizard of Oz in the days before its telecast? Maybe our teacher made a point of announcing the airdate, and in the days prior not only reminded but urged, us to watch. Or did it become the primary topic of discussion on the playground or lunchroom? Perhaps after the movie aired—while that magical feeling still lingered—we’d “play” The Wizard of Oz at recess or after school with our friends, siblings, or neighbors.
In those days, watching an annual television broadcast of The Wizard of Oz was always bittersweet. While thrilling and enchanting to behold, the experience always seemed to end too soon, and this special movie was not to be seen again for another whole year.
You may also have a fond memory of watching The Wizard of Oz on television.