The House Began to Twitch

I wanted to take a break from the intense navel-gazing that is my March Madness to write about Silas’ newest obsession.

When I was a kid, my mom started buying beautiful facsimile editions of the Oz books. We have about half a dozen of them. A couple of weeks ago, Silas asked JC to read him “that big book there,” which happened to be The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Silas has suddenly become able to listen to long stories and books without pictures. He loved The Wizard, and demanded the next book immediately. He likes to just take the books and turn the pages, touching the pictures and saying, “That’s the Tin Woman [Woodman]. That’s the Cowly Lion.” The Lion and Toto are his favorites.

This is how I always imagined parenting.

After a couple of weeks of this, we decided to let Silas watch the movie. My mom came, and I was glad that she got to be there. I always think of it as her movie. I remember her making An Event out of it when it was on TV every year (do they still do that?). She once told me that “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was her favorite song.

Silas loved it, of course. Highlights include: munchkins, flying monkeys, the oilcan, a horse of a different color, the MGM lion.

Here is a supercute supercut of Silas’ incessant reenactment of the movie…

I found, after not having seen the movie in a decade or more, that it was both better and worse than I remembered it. I don’t think watching it in HD is a great idea–the flatness of the painted backgrounds gets distracting, as does the wire moving the lion’s tail. There’s a lot about this movie that is totally hokey–but there is so much that is beautiful and wonderful. I never noticed, as a kid, how utterly graceful the scarecrow’s movements are, or the genius set design of the Emerald City. More than anything else, I noticed the deep commitment of every single actor. No munchkin was silently commenting on midget exploitation. The Wicked Witch doesn’t ever fail to believe in the world she is inhabiting, not even when uttering lines like, “Yeeeessss! Poppppiessss!”

The lesson the script writers intended was “There’s no place like home,” but the moral I took away from this watching was “You can get away with anything as long as you believe in it.”


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  1. […] started asking for his own DVD of The Wizard of Oz, because he was annoyed that he had to wait for me to reserve it from the library and then go get […]

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