web analytics

What Easter means to me

That’s right. It means the Wizard of Oz on television again.

My original interpretation of the afterlife was eternity in a large, barn-like structure with picnic tables inside, where I hung out with my grandmother and ate icecream. That’s the best infant me could work out the “heaven” concept.

Then I saw the Wizard of Oz and instantly recognized it as the afterlife; it was a dangerous, sparkly place full of scary midgets and wingèd monkeys and evil green ladies in striped socks. Oh, it’s so obvious: Oz was in color, Kansas was in black and white. Dorothy gets smacked on the head, falls into a coma and is transported to a beautiful, horrible place. When she wakes up back home, Uncle Henry says, “we thought we would lose you.” Ergo, Oz is where you go when you go. Plus, they put it on at Easter (“…and on the third day, Dorothy arose crying, ‘verily, there is no place like unto home!’…”).

I never missed it. Never. Not once. It’s hard to remember the sense of specialness movies had in the days before VCR’s and DVD players. Most movies came around once a year. Some less. But Oz was a unique occasion, a religious holiday. I never got over a sense of trascendant awe on WoO day. I’m no friend of Dorothy, I’m an acolyte.

In college one Spring, I decided to treat my friends to an evening of Oz and LSD. Yes. That was every bit as bad an idea as it sounds.

Oh, Oz went fine. It was afterward that the flying monkeys truly arrived. I knew my party wasn’t going well when the girl from downstairs stood up and declared, “welp, I’m going to go nail myself into my room now.” Then we heard the sound of her footsteps and nails being driven into the doorframe.

Hoping to lighten the mood, I put on the soundtrack to the Sound of Music. For, like, eight straight hours. I’m pretty sure there are one or two people who still haven’t forgiven me for that inspired act of cruelty.

The hills. The hills are alive, man.

I permanently ruined recreational drug use for myself that night, but I didn’t ruin Wizard of Oz. Once, not long after, I even saw it on the big screen; a brand new print that had arrived at the theater that afternoon. It was amazing: you could see the strings holding up the Lion’s tail and those odd bird creatures in the background and everything. It was only when we got to the end that the projectionist realized the last reel was missing. Crucifixion without resurrection. Oz interruptus.

I kept up my annual pilgrimage to the Merry Olde Land faithfully for another five years, until I got my first VCR. Then, somehow…once I had it on tape, I never watched it again. It didn’t seem right that I could watch it any time I wanted to. It was subversive and dangerous. Once I had the lightning in a bottle, I was afraid of it. Afraid I’d wear it out. Afraid I’d hear the overture and not get all chuffed. If ever that happens to me, the last vestiges of my spirituality will be swept away forever.

So it is a Very Big Deal that I ordered the (three volume collector’s) DVD this morning. It’s been almost 25 years. I’m bringing Xanax. And a hanky.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 10, 2007, 12:22 pm

Meanwhile, in Daneland:

Easter may be an important holiday in Denmark, but a recent study indicates that Danes are generally sceptical about Christianity’s claim that Jesus rose from the dead.

Only one in five Danes believes in the Resurrection and over 50 percent flatly deny that it ever occurred.

The Zapera / metroXpress survey found that, when asked whether they believed in the Resurrection, only 22 percent of Danes answered yes, while 48 percent said no and the remaining 30 percent were uncertain.

Svend Andersen, a noted professor in theology, recently said that the Resurrection should be seen as a ‘symbol’, while bishop Jan Lindhardt of Roskilde diocese told metroXpress that he did not feel concrete belief in the Resurrection was a necessary requirement for being a good Christian.

Look, without the resurrection, Christianity is completely pointless. If Jesus didn’t survive death, you sure won’t. And if you don’t believe the most important bit, why believe any of the others?

Comment from OmbudsBen
Time: April 10, 2007, 12:46 pm

I’m with you on how the magic wears off with ownership. I liked Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes very much, bought the tapes, hardly watch them. Same thing with recent Nero Wolfe DVDs, too. I bought the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and still haven’t checked it out.

First noticed it years ago when I had to listen to certain songs all the way through when played on the radio, but hadn’t bothered to play the same record for years.

Maybe it’s partly that, broadcast, you know it’s shared with millions if not thousands if not dozens of others, right now?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 10, 2007, 1:13 pm

There certainly was a sense of specialness and shared experience when we all watched stuff together. Especially when there were only four stations and very few good programs. But, I suppose that’s a way of saying the good things seemed better because you had to work harder for them and most things sucked.

Comment from Pupster
Time: April 10, 2007, 2:06 pm

Drugs are bad…’umkay?

Nailing yourself “in” is actually a pretty good idea. Until you have to get “out” ’cause the flying monkeys are in your hair.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: April 10, 2007, 2:47 pm

You know, I’ve never seen the Wizard of Oz. Oh, I’ve seen pieces of it here and there, certainly and I generally know the story arc and many of the notable quotes. I don’t know why not. Maybe because of the psychological scars left by being made to watch The Wiz in Jr. High school instilled in me an aversion to all things Ozian.

Since it’s been so long I guess you haven’t tried out “The Dark Side of the Oz” eh?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 10, 2007, 3:01 pm

Okay, it pains me to admit this, but I kind of liked the Wiz. And I watched it fully expecting to hate it with a flaming hatred of hateful hateness, given my religious feelings about the original.

It was sort of a high budget Harlem meets Busby Berkeley thing. It was kind of a departure for Michael Jackson, too — he played a black guy.

I’m just getting gayer by the minute over here, aren’t I?

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: April 10, 2007, 3:46 pm

…he played a black guy.
It came out in 1978 – he was still a black guy.

getting gayer by the minute
Dude, you’re easing on down, easing on down that road! 😉

I sincerely hope that when you get the DVD’s and watch it again it will be everything you remembered. May it never lose it’s chuffiness!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: April 11, 2007, 10:29 am

When the scarecrow goes a-dancin’ (“If I only had a brain”), he bounces off some fences. Ever notice that the fences start wiggling and vibrating BEFORE he hits them? Like they “want” him,or are anticipating him hitting them.

Fences with brains. With self-awareness.

This terrifies me. I’ve screamed, and tried to warn others, but no one believes me.

Comment from OmbudsBen
Time: April 11, 2007, 1:09 pm

Wizzle, I’m sensing a trend here. I’m guessing you like the guy behind the curtain, too, flipping the levers and hitting all the buttons. Oh, the control.

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” indeed.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 11, 2007, 5:07 pm

McGoo, you are my anchor in a troubled and confusing world.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny