The Wizard of Oz is a beloved part of the American cultural heritage. Every year it introduces young children to a slice of Americana and reminds older Americans of this venerable triumph of innocence over evil. Its music, dances, and scenes have become iconic symbols in the American culture.
So beloved is the movie that it has fostered an annual conference, the Oz-Stravaganza. [From the website] In 1978, librarian Clara Houck set out on a mission to acknowledge the history of the Village of Chittenango as the birthplace of author L. Frank Baum. Clara organized the very first celebration. Local children dressed up as OZ characters and paraded around the library parking lot on May 15th. Then they went inside, had birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to L. Frank Baum. A lot has changed since then. The festival became a multi-day event. Changed names from Oz-Fest to Oz-Stravaganza, and saw crowds increase from a few hundred for the parade to several thousand for the festival. The event is now run by the International L. Frank Baum & All Things Oz Historical Foundation. Nearby is his home in Fayetteville where he lived as an adult.
Baum actually wrote multiple OZ stories. Dorothy would return there for additional adventures. So perhaps one day there will be multiple sequels as with other superheroes.
The Munchkins used to attend the festival in numbers but they have dwindled in ranks over the years and the conference last summer may have marked the end of a longstanding tradition.
But there is more to this sweet innocent girl of the Midwest than you might suspect. She was after all a serial witch killer. In the first instance, she dispatched the Wicked Witch of the East with great force. All one can see of the dead witch is the ruby red (not orange) items attached to her feet (not head). After her death is verified, the people erupt into a joyous song and dance of “Ding dong, the witch is dead” as if it were V-J Day (which hadn’t yet occurred when the movie was made) itself. Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the music!
However Dorothy’s work was not yet done. There was still another wicked witch to kill. This one even more formidable than her departed sister. This witch fought back to destroy the one who would slay her. The closer Dorothy came the more enraged the witch became, erupting into spasm after spasm of focused fury against the innocent Dorothy and her little dog Toto (tweets hadn’t been invented yet). She warned of the pending destruction of the witch-killer but to no avail. At last as Dorothy pressed on step by step in her quest, the Witch unleashed her flying monkey minions to rid her of the threat to her wellbeing. If you look closely enough even today you can even recognize from the faces of the flying monkey minions who they are in the real world.
Then at last, the moment of truth arrived. Just as the witch was ready to burn down those who threatened her, Dorothy reached for the waters of purity against which there is no defense. (Note – she couldn’t use the lasso of truth because it hadn’t yet been invented either.) As the vanquished witch began to dissolve into nothingness until only the item on the top of head remained, she shrieked those words which have become the dying cry of all witches dispatched to the great beyond: I’M MELTING. I’M MELTING.
“Hail to Dorothy, the Wicked Witch Is Dead”
There was no singing and dancing in the movie when the wicked witch of the West breathed her last words of condemnation and despair. In the real world, I suspect when the witch hunt is over and our witch is finally removed from his lair of evil, once again the musical shout of “Ding-dong, the witch is dead” rise to the heavens and people will rejoice as if it was V-J Day all over again. Robert Mueller, witch killer, will have prevailed. Once again there was peace in the shire.