I'm testing a theory that Victor Fleming's masterpiece "The Wizard of Oz" is so woven into popular culture that someone or something makes reference to it at least once every day. It comes up in conversations, songs, TV shows, ads, other films, colloquial saying, etc. For one year I'll be updating this blog each time Oz comes up. Check back daily to see if the theory holds water, or melts in it. (And try it yourself. You'll start to notice Oz everywhere, I promise.)

Friday, December 28, 2007

thanks, Darlene

I was at the computer, half-writing/half-listening to a History Channel show called Shockwave. They began a segment on tornadoes, and started to show twisters turning over cars and ripping through houses. I knew a Wizard of Oz reference was coming...

They were talking to a woman named Darlene who was inside a house that was lifted 120 feet in air (and caught on camera). Her exact quote was:
When I looked out my back window, it reminded you (sic) of the Wizard of Oz when the house went flying through the air.
I'm very glad Darlene survived to tell her tale, and grant me a WoO reference.

p.s. That amazing picture is from a website called The Astronomy Picture of the Day. Every day NASA posts a new, oft-breathtaking picture. I guess the government is good for something.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

x-mas in Oz

After several busy x-mas preparation days without any noticeable Oz references (granted, our heads are in different places during the lead up to x-mas, so I wouldn't be surprised if I missed something), x-mas Eve's reference came when my 8-year-old niece was listing all the movies she'd watched at "Nonnie and Poppie's" the night before. Wedged between a gang of Disney Princess movies and a few nature-related shows was Oz, which I was really happy to hear.

Santa brought two Oz references on x-mas day. First, when my wife and I arrived at her mom's house, on the coffee table was a new copy of "Son of a Witch," Gregory Maguire's long-anticipated sequel to "Wicked."

Then, as we watched "A Christmas Story" for the umpteenth time, I noticed that during the parade scene (right before Ralphie sees Santa), Oz characters and the witch's monkeys are featured in the parade. Also, right after Ralphie gets sent down the slide, Dorothy and the other Oz characters reappear skipping down the mall's center aisle as Ralphie's parents approach.

It was nice to see -- Film directors pay attention to details like that, so it would seem that "A Christmas Story" was paying homage to Oz.

Rock on, A Christmas Story.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ask, and ye shall receive

Yesterday I posted that there was a shortage of Oz references going on, and today I had two.

First, I was doing some casual research for a Disney book I'm working on, and I came across this in the wiki entry for Pinocchio's friend Jiminy Crickets:

Another example occurs in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. When the group first enters the Wizard's chamber, they are startled by the Wizard's sudden thunder-and-lightning display, and Dorothy (Judy Garland) cries, "Oh! Oh! Jiminy Crickets!"

Second, while watching the news today they mentioned ticket prices for Wicked going down, or something. I was half listening, as I've heard Wicked is terrible and I'd already encountered a solid reference for the day.

Back in the saddle. Come on, Thursday, let's make it two in a row.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the cause of my neglect

I've been neglecting the blog because a) I've never been so busy at work and it's the holiday season at home which means lame tasks need a-doin, and b) Oz has been nowhere to be found.

The other morning I was drifting in and out of sleep as I was snoozing Talk Radio, and I could have sworn I heard someone mention Oz, but I think I was just having a dream. Jeez, that's sad.

Come Oz references, where are you??

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

so close...

I thought I had an awesome reference today, but alas, I got some facts crossed. I will spare me the embarrassing details.

I'll have to go with a weaker reference, but a reference none-the-less: someone brought Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins in to work this morning.

(I just discovered that each time I type "munchkins", my fingers instinctively put a "d" on the end of the word. So I keep typing "munchkinds". Weird.)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Imperial Life in the Emerald City

I got a great Oz reference today while listening to NPR. They had on author Rajiv Chandrasekaran talking about his book Imperial Life in the Emerald City. With a title like that, I'm sure the book is riddled with Oz references.

This has nothing to do with my usual reason for keeping this blog, but apparently the book is about some of the terrible mistakes and bad decisions made inside Iraq's Green Zone during the war. Chandrasekaran discussed certain events, for example: when the Iraqi infrastructure was destroyed by the war, instead of American bureaucrats focusing on rebuilding it, getting electricity back on, or water and food to hungry people, or getting Iraqis back to work, they spent their time re-writing the Iraqi TAX CODE line-by-line. Umm, I don't think the people of Iraq are all that concerned about their tax rate when they're starving, thirsty, and huddled in the dark. It sounds like many opportunities to win some support of the Iraqi people were severely mismanaged and lost. Sad.

But this isn't a political blog, because I know next to nothing about politics. The book sounds very interesting, so check it out.

On a lighter note, I got my Oz reference for the day.

nearing the end of the yellow brick road

alas, the weekend was light for Oz references, but i'm about an hour from completing Tin Man. i'll give a full report then.

is it just me, or do Zooey Deschanel's legs look totally whack in this promo poster?

Friday, December 7, 2007

oz kismet

i was sitting in traffic this morning on my way to work and something to my left drew my attention. i looked over and was staring right at the wicked witch and the good witch.

unfortunately it was an ad on the top of a cab for the musical Wicked, but it was an Oz reference none the less.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Return to Oz

also, my reference for the day came when i was talking to a co-worker about Fairuza Balk.

she asked me if i remembered the film Return to Oz. i wasn't sure, so i headed to you tube where i found this clip featuring the Wheelers.

good god, those things were terrifying. they jogged my foggy memory. i added Return to Oz to my Nextflix right away.

does sci-fi's "Tin Man" have heart?

i'm about two-thirds of the way through Part One (of Three) of Sci-Fi's Wizard of Oz update -- Tin Man. so far it's had it's decent moments and it's disappointments.

the acting is up-and-down. i love Zooey Deschanel, but i think she's better suited for slightly less dramatic roles. when she's really supposed to be giving us serious emotion, she falls a bit flat.

i flat-out don't care for Neal McDonough. he's hack-y. sorry.

everyone else is holding their own.

the special effects are also a bit on the weak side. we've seen it all before in Lord of the Rings, and it was executed right. they raised the bar too high. now anything else, made-for-tv film or no, just doesn't cut it.

instead of trying to do something grand on the small screen, i wish the producers would have concentrated more on the creative aspects of the retelling. they've come up with some original ideas, but they seem to be glossing over them. it's as if "Tin Man" is trying to do too much. they'd have done well to tone down some of the grand attempts at special effects.

i've still got a ways to go, so i'll reserve further judgment for now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

the mini-series

i'm about to settle in with Part One of Sci Fi Channel's "Tin Man." excited to see what it's all about.

Monday, December 3, 2007

synchronicity while researching synchronicity

I was reading the Wikipedia entry about "synchronicity" and came across this following quote:

"During production of The Wizard of Oz, a coat bought from a second-hand store for the costume of Professor Marvel was later found to have belonged to L. Frank Baum, author of the children's book upon which the film is based."

Total synchronicity.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

right on target

today at Target i saw a greeting card with the four Oz characters on the front. it was blank on the inside.

also, regarding the Oprah reference, O was giving one of the guests shit for smoking back in the day, and they had a picture of the woman with a cigarette in her mouth, and the woman said, "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Tin Man

i've been so busy i haven't had time to update. just saw a commercial for "Tin Man", a sci original mini-series. it's a remake of Oz.

yesterday Oprah made an Oz reference. (i have it recorded in the DVR, i'll have to get the exact quote tomorrow)

well, "Beyond the Yellow Brick Road: The Making of 'Tin Man'" just came on. i better see what this thing is all about

Sunday, November 25, 2007


crap. been so busy i've neglected the blog.

just got back from Target where i saw about 15 Oz-related items. i'll count that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

muchkin star

MSN's homepage features a video story about a munchkin who is getting a star in Hollywood. Here's a link to the story:

Munchkin gets a Hollywood star

Monday, November 19, 2007

where are you, Wiz?

Dorothy? ... Toto? ... Tin Man? ... Flying monkeys? ... Wicked Witch? ... Man behind the curtain? ... Horse of a Different Color? (an effect WAAAAY ahead of its time) ... Tornado? ... Lollipop Guild? ... Hot air balloon? ... Scary witch socks? ... Scarecrow slipping around Oz? ... Somewhere over the rainbow? ... Oh wee oh? ... Dude allegedly hanging himself in the background even though it's clearly the silhouette of a bird? ... Where are all my WoO references?!?

I did see a commercial for Wicked today. Does that count? I hear that thing is an abomination.

Friday, November 16, 2007

do kids hate tornadoes?

Today was day two of the photo shoot for the dance book, and again the Oz came up. I was talking to a co-worker about how I was specifically told, by decree of my boss's boss, not to include anything "tornado-related" in any children's books I work on.

"I guess the higher-ups think kids don't want to read about tornadoes..." I postulated.

"But what about Wizard of Oz?" my coworker asked.

I smiled. Then I got my little notebook and wrote that down.

p.s. I didn't come across anything overtly Oz yesterday, but we'll turn a blind eye this once.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

a good day to be the Wiz

This morning I had a photo shoot for a children's dance book I'm editing. It basically involved three little girls dressing up like three different Disney Princesses.

Cinderella was wearing sparkly silver shoes and kept clicking her heels together and saying, "There's no place like home." Then she'd giggle.

A few hours later I asked Belle (Beauty and the Beast) what she dressed up as for Halloween she proudly exclaimed, "Dorothy!" I asked, "From Wizard of Oz?" and she shot me a no duh look. I smiled to Belle's mom, who added, "She's obsessed with that movie."

It's only 6:10pm and the Oz has already come up twice.

Oh, and I didn't get a chance to update yesterday, but when reviewing my work for the dance book we shot today, someone referred to one of the dance moves, which involved the child clicking their heels together. The individual sarcastically commented, "Gee, wonder where you got that move from..."

Monday, November 12, 2007

AMAZING - the power of Oz

As you'll see from my post 20 minutes ago, I'd all but given up on a Wizard of Oz reference today. Well, the Good Witch must have heard my plea because no sooner did I post that than I pulled up the San Fran - Seahawks game on the DVR.

I was watching Chris Berman's "Fastest 3 Minutes", in which he quickly recaps the key games of the week. I usually skip this three minutes, as those overly-zealous ESPN guys can be annoying, but for some reason tonight I watched. Half way through the segment Berman was making fun of a stupid play by humming the following melody: dat da-da da-da da-da-duh, da-da da-da da-da-duh. ... If I Only Had a Brain.

The Gods of Oz are smiling on my little experiment.

a slow day

It's 9:30 on Monday and I'm just sitting at my computer writing and half-assedly watching a boring Monday Night Football game. The odds of an Oz reference at this point are slim. So much for our theory. Twos to be disproved. Great.

I'm not giving up yet, though. Maybe I missed something today because my Oz radar isn't sharp enough.

Oh, my wife did mention earlier that if our future kid is not cool we'll make him watch the WoO synced with the Dark Side. ... Like that'll make him cool. That'll just turn him into a stoner.

... No, I'm not counting that one.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Does Dark Side of the Moon count?

This morning I was in the shower and I thought to myself, "I need to keep my eyes open for 'Oz references." Just then I looked up at the t-shirt I was going to wear under my sweater. It was a Paul Frank tee I got at the Village Discount Outlet -- a Salvation Army-like resale shop. It has a decal on the front. I only bought it to wear a black shirt to wear under long sleeve shirts so you'd never see the decal.

The decal has two beams of light on it. One is a white beam and it's passing through a glass house, which is having a prism effect on the light. When the light passes through the house/prism, primary colors are emerging on the other side. The shirt is paying homage to the cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

You've probably heard about the old rumor/myth/urban legend that you can sync up Dark Side with the 'Oz with some interesting, if not stoner-friendly results. Not the least of which is the cover of the album -- white light transforming into color, just like the blank and white film transforms into color.

My friends and I have done "the sync" a number of times. In fact, I wrote a short article about it here:

Syncing Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon

So Paul Frank is referring to Dark Side, which could arguably refer to the 'Oz.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

One Year of Wizard of Oz references

For some time now, my friend and I have shared a theory that every single day we encounter at least one reference to Victor Fleming's masterpiece The Wizard of Oz. This film has become so woven into popular culture that if you pay attention you will be astounded at the frequency of 'Oz references. Songs, TV shows, conversations, ads, other films, colloquial saying ... the list goes on and on.

I will not seek out these references. They have to occur naturally and unforced.

It's not in my interest to overly stretch an occurrence to count it as a reference. I will try to be a fair and unbiased as possible. I'm merely a scientist testing a theory. Also, I'll try not to reuse references -- if there's a commercial with a yellow brick road in it, I'll only cite it once.

I will be updating this blog daily (unless impossible, in which case I'll record past references and update back dates when I'm in front of the computer.) Check back often to see if the theory holds water, or melts in it.

As I write this, TBS is airing the 'Oz. I'd say that counts as today's reference. (There was another one early this morning but I forgot what it was -- which won't happen again now that I'm officially doing this.)