The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: the subject of sequels, reboots, and adaptations (oh my!) But nothing is ever quite what it seems with this children’s fantasy novel.
The book that started it all
In 1900, L. Frank Baum published a book that would go on to be beloved for generations. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a critical hit from the very start and followed the adventures of Dorothy in the land of Oz. We all know how it goes. The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion all accompany Dorothy as she tries to find her way back home to Aunty Em. A few years later, Baum would start penning sequels at the behest of his many fans. Over a hundred years later we are still reading these classics, finding just what we need in the land of Oz.
A movie adaptation like no other
Almost exactly 79 years ago, MGM released their ground-breaking adaptation The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland as Dorothy. After a tumultuous production, the film premiered in 1939 to riotous praise. Critics loved the music, the effects, and the use of Technicolour, then still a new technology. Despite not making a profit in its initial release, The Wizard of Oz is the seminal adaptation of the book and has been the introduction of the works of L. Frank Baum for many.
Yellow Brick Road Facts
- In over 100 years since the novel was published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been adapted for theatre, silent film, movie, TV, book, comic book, and games. Not to mention countless pop culture references and musical influences.
- Baum’s novel is in now the public domain… but the 1939 MGM film is not. This legal grey-area has led to some later adaptations flirting with the idea of what’s considered ‘fair use’. Many film-only elements are often seen in other works said to be based on the novel.
- The Wicked Witch of the West is not green in the original book. The green skin is a creation that is completely MGM’s (and still under copyright!) The original Wicked Witch was also short with one eye that was all-seeing.
- The Ruby Slippers were also an invention of MGM, in the book they are silver. The filmmakers wanted to make full use of the new Technicolour and made them red to stand out against the yellow brick road.
- The film went through two Witches and two Tin Men during production. The first Witch left when a sexier interpretation was canned for the terrifying icon we know today. The story of the first Tin Man is more unfortunate. He suffered a serious reaction to the aluminium-based make-up.
- The poppy field scene is an iconic moment that occurs about half-way through the film. The vision of the snow falling on our leads in the flower meadow will stick in memories for a long time. But what did they use to make that snow so white and fluffy? Why, asbestos of course!
The Oz Legacy
Writers, artists, and film makers have never stopped looking to the land of Oz for inspiration. A notable example of a modern adaptation have been the novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire and the Broadway musical based on it. The novel and musical both tell the Oz story from the perspective of The Wicked Witch, with Dorothy as a minor character.
The small screen can’t get enough of The Wizard of Oz either, with the characters making appearances in shows like Tin Man, Once Upon A Time, and Lost in Oz. Sometimes all it takes one episode, with the like of Scrubs, The Rugrats, and Supernatural giving their show the L. Frank Baum treatment.
Oz has even touched the world of slots with one of our foremost providers, Williams Interactive making two titles.
Ruby Slippers brings back all the famous faces from the beloved MGM film. Dorothy, Toto, and Glinda are all here as the high paying symbols in this five-reel slot. The ruby slippers are here to randomly click, sending the reels into a spinning frenzy and transform them into expending wilds.
Want to nod your head along to the unforgettable tunes from The Wizard of Oz? Every time you click spin on Road to Emerald City, the jolly music starts up as you stand in the poppy fields. Spin a combination of three emeralds, and you’ll get to play one of seven mini games with Toto, Tin Man, Glinda, Dorothy, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and The Wicked Witch. Get boosts, Free Spins, and multipliers with these timeless characters and be on the road to some big wins.