Where Is The On Ramp To The Yellow Brick Road?

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

You can't plant him in your penthouse, he's going back to his plough (Image via Wikipedia)

We call songs that are a part of any serious music collection standards. Films that everyone should see are classics.

These classics and standards not only entertain us, they provide common language reference points for us. We refer to lyrics, movie lines, or even entire scenes in casual conversation. They become part of the repertoire of dialogue that we use without thought and interpret without effort.

But what happens if a person hasn’t really seen or heard one of these icons? How are they affected?

I can tell you from personal experience.

I’ve never seen The Wizard Of Oz.

A Respectful Pause

I know that there is a level of shock that occurs when I tell people that I’ve never watched the Wizard of Oz. Go on, take a moment.

Now let’s move on to the question I get from people when this matter comes up. How is it possible that someone my age, who grew up with this film on television every year of his life,  has not seen this movie? Some parts I can explain, others I can’t. I remember it being on when I was a kid, but I was always doing something else. Short attention span? Could be. Truthfully, there have been times I have avoided the film for no reason other than to see how long I can survive without it.

Over the years, I have seen parts of the movie on television. I know there’s a scarecrow, a lion and a tin man. I know there are good and bad witches and a trip on a yellow brick road. I have no idea if they get what they need on the road trip. I suppose they do, but I can’t confirm that from my own knowledge.

The Consequence Of Ignorance

Like anyone who doesn’t know a language, I fill in the pieces I’m missing with the bits and pieces that I think I do know. Sometimes I get by, sometimes I don’t.

Margaret Hamilton as the Witch in the 1939 fil...

This is not my high school Italian teacher. This woman is much better looking.(Image via Wikipedia)

In high school, a girl I sat with used to sing the Wicked Witch Of The West theme whenever our Italian teacher (remember her?) walked in the room. Of course I got blamed for doing it. The teacher didn’t get agitated with me for pointing out that the voice that was singing was a girl’s and not mine. I got in trouble when the teacher asked why I would sing the Wicked Witch Theme about her and I answered “is that what it is?” She told my mother that was the moment she was sure I was lying to her.

More recently, in conversations with others, I’ve figured out things like:

  • Flying Monkeys aren’t just a good idea. They are also characters in the movie. In the movie, Flying Monkeys are bad. Obviously this movie is fiction.
  • The Lion is not brave or tough.
  • The reason the Wicked Witch Of The West is designated as wicked is that there is a Good Witch. The existence of a Good Witch seems counter-intuitive to me. Wicked Witch is redundant.

Usually there is some measure of embarrassment on my part when I learn these things. There is also the need for denial of the possibility that I grew up under a rock.

Will I Ever See The Movie?

I know that I will probably give in. There will be a point where I sit down with some popcorn and watch the movie. The whole movie. I don’t know when that will be.

Part of what I like about the world is that I’ve always got something to learn. I’m always eager to see something new,  even if it is old. But why rush on this?

I’ve got time, and I don’t want to give up my dream of airborne simians.


68 Comments on “Where Is The On Ramp To The Yellow Brick Road?”

  1. Next you’re going to say that you’ve also never seen The Sound of Music, The Godfather, or Goodfellas.

    • omawarisan says:

      Well, not The Sound Of Music. I don’t get musicals.

    • I’ve never seen all of any of those, including the Wizard of Oz. Someone once mentioned the monkeys to me and I was astonished that there were flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz.

      O, do you think it’s a Maryland thing?

      • omawarisan says:

        No, not a Maryland thing. Wendi is in Bawlmer.

        You’ve got to see all the Godfather’s and Goodfellas. What great movies, and no singing! Although Goodfellas uses the instrumental portion of Clapton’s Layla quite a bit…

  2. Betty says:

    Wow. I’m absolutely stunned. I mean, I probably haven’t seen it since the early 70s, I’m not one of those who watches it regularly but….wow, not once? Huh. I’m curious, has the Omawari-son seen it? Although I’ve never done this, I’m told that if you start the movie (on mute) and Dark Side of the Moon at precisely the same time, it’s supposed to be perfect. Maybe that’s how you should have your first experience.

    • omawarisan says:

      Not once. Maybe I’ll go to a blog conference and hold a viewing session and make that my first time.

      The Omawari-son has seen the movie. He is not a cultural infidel like me.

      Pink Floyd Wizard of Oz, I could work wiht that.

  3. Laura says:

    You realize today’s comments will be filled with references that you won’t get, right?

    Oh, Oma. If you only had a clue.

  4. Lenore Diane says:

    Oma, I accept the fact that you’ve not seen the Wizard of Oz. Will you please forgive me for not reading (or watching) anything related to Harry Potter or the 3 installments of Star Wars after the ‘original’ three Star Wars that were sequels? I could share other ‘classics’ I’ve yet to experience, but I fear the repercussions.

    • omawarisan says:

      Thank you for your support.

      I too have avoided Potter and wish I’d done the same with the second three Star Wars movies. I fell asleep in at least two of them

  5. Todd Pack says:

    You’re not missing much by not seeing The Wizard of Oz. As long as you understand the references — following the yellow-brick road, paying no attention to the man behind the curtain, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” — you’re good. The movie is a technical marvel — the “Avatar” of its time — but as narrative, it’s pretty hard to sit through.

    P.S. I haven’t seen “Avatar.”

    • omawarisan says:

      Hard to sit through…I’m going to end up heckling this movie aren’t I?

      PS, I’m with you on Avatar. I also haven’t seen Titanic. Hypothermia and panic are not romantic.

  6. jacquelincangro says:

    Good for you for coming out like this. But you know you’ve always had the power…

  7. Spectra says:

    I would say I pity you, but I understand the ‘holding off” part. I have never seen Alice in Wonderland all through, and do not ever intend to. If I ever did, it would only be to please the masses. Rather like I should eat Cow Tongue to please the congregation, should I ever convert to Judiaism. Not gonna hapen, if ony to avoid cow tongue.

    I support your right to ignore this movie. (but you are so missing out…maybe see it with the first grandchild who comes along?)

  8. omawarisan says:

    I would not derive any pleasure from you eating cow tongue, but then I am a Unitarian. I believe you should see Alice in Wonderland, but my lack of dogma prevents me from being all uppity about it.

    No grandchildren until the Omawari-son is thirty. He is nineteen now.

    Maybe I will have a Blurt Convention and one of the sessions will be a Wizard of Oz screening. I will be the guy yelling out “good witch? wtf?”

    • Betty says:

      You should definitely launch a Blurt Convention. If you need event planners and conference directors, I’ll bet I could hook you up with a few good people 🙂

      • omawarisan says:

        You know, I’ve looked at conferences for bloggers. There are so many for either food bloggers, women bloggers or people who are into the tech stuff…coding and such.

        I’m not any of them so I dont fit in any of the stuff that I’ve found, but I’m a big fan of all those people.

        If I have one, it will have to be somewhere warm. Or maybe somewhere not here.

  9. What’s The Wizard of Oz?

  10. omawarisan says:

    Ok, see, there’s this girl and she carries a dog around in a basket…this is waaaaay before Paris Hilton made it mandatory…anyhow, there’s a lot of witch ambiguity and a robot.

  11. Blogdramedy says:

    It was the second movie I ever saw in the theatre (classics night.) The first was “The Sound of Music.”

    I’m still in recovery.

  12. madtante says:

    The amount of “pop wisdom” I’ve missed is even more abundant than my ignorance of classics, which is saying something.

    I’ve never seen The Goonies (mention because people keep mentioning it in reference to Super 8–you included, I believe), ET, any Disney films, Dr. Seuss books, etc. My childhood wasn’t much of a childhood, so in addition to the bad stuff, I didn’t get any much good. While I was into music at a young age, I completely missed all the videos–didn’t have access. Hell, I loaded Da Da Da the other day to listen (on youtube) and it was quite interesting seeing the video for the first time of something I owned a 12″ single for in ’82. Weird stuff!

  13. Spectra says:

    You’ve never seen the Goonies? Someone please arrest this woman.

    • omawarisan says:

      I think she deserves the chance to see it retroactively. All the Seuss books too.

    • madtante says:

      I think peoples’ connections to Seuss or those kid movies are because you saw them during a point in your life where you were safe and happy/ carefree. Seeing them now isn’t going to affect me the same way. Your warm fuzzy feelings are like when as a 40yo, you see a person you went to primary school with: you’re excited / delighted and it’s super-duper fun! That’s cos you remember your childhood friendship and the fun you had at recess.

  14. Amy says:

    Purely from a statistical standpoint, it’s amazing that you haven’t seen this movie. At this point, I would refuse to see it just to be contrary.
    I’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life and I don’t really have any desire to. There. I said it.

  15. omawarisan says:

    A bold commitment Amy.

    Contrariness is all that keeps me from seeing it at this point. But contrariness is powerful stuff.

  16. Kim Pugliano says:

    There was a wizard in Oz? I thought it was just a bunch of hard-core inmates. Who was the wizard and what did he do there? Push the button to open up all the cells? Confusing.

    I’ve never seen any of the movies based on the Hobbit…what are those movies called? See I don’t even remember and I’m not going to open up another web page to Google it either. I simply don’t care.

  17. Katybeth says:

    Movie scared me to death-scared me for life. I would pass on the popcorn and watching it all the way will just give you bad nightmares.

  18. Z.N. Singer says:

    Oh blah. There are TONS of popular movies I have never watched. I don’t watch much movies. And my responses to public pressure in these things reminds me of something I learned in The Horse Whisperer. Apparently, horses are ‘into pressure animals’. That means they react to pressure by leaning/pushing into it. So if you want a horse to move, pushing it is the exact wrong thing to do.

    Man is a social animal, and I am a social into pressure animal. When they’re pushing where I personally was not already inclined to go, I instinctively push back. My parents still have trouble with this idea. If you really just need a way not to embarrass yourself, you could cheat and read the book. You’ll get most of the facts without ever seeing the actual cult object, and nearly everyone will be fooled. I won’t tell. Promise.

  19. Z.N. Singer says:

    Oh yeah, and I actually have seen the movie, but it took me years because I was scared witless of the monkeys. I don’t know about flying monkeys in principle, but those monkeys were bad. Definitely. Please don’t let your regime conduct that particular experiment. I’d have to move to Spain or something.

  20. spencercourt says:

    I’ve never seen the Wizard of Oz either. My excuse is that I didn’t grow up in the U.S.

    I also have seen short portions on TV, but of course as an adult I’m not really interested in seeing the movie.

    I did see Old Yeller as a child, which is another “classic.” Of course, I left the movie in tears.

  21. Patricia says:

    I have never seen Sound of Music or any Star Wars movies. Or the Rocky Horror Show which given the generation I am part of that is almost sacrilegious…more so since I was a genuine Flower Child.

  22. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I don’t know whether to click my heels three times and go somewhere else or stay here and dredge up the dozens of Wizard of Oz references I could. The best part of that movie is when it goes from black and white to full technicolor. It’s wonderful. I do wonder if my hatred of monkeys has anything to do with that movie. Or my hatred of oil cans, red shoes, men dressed as Cossacks, and cocaine. That was cocaine falling out of the sky wasn’t it?

    • omawarisan says:

      There are Cossacks? That’s a new one on me!

      The cocaine explains a lot. The robot was probably the only one who still had his wits about him. Yeah, i know he was the Tin Man, but lets face it, he’s a robot. A robot who doesn’t fly or have a ray gun. Not the good kind of robot.

  23. I tend to be pretty far behind the curve when it comes to popular culture, but even I’ve seen Wizard of Oz. Anyway, there are so many lines from WoO that are part of daily usage you can probably qualify as having see it.

    • omawarisan says:

      In truth, I could probably put a summary of the movie together based on that sort of thing. Same with It’s a Wonderful Life, although I’ve consciously tried to watch that.

  24. pattypunker says:

    i’ve never seen star trek but i like the way william shatner sings.

  25. Jeane says:

    I have never seen It’s a wonderful life. Every year people pressure me to watch it as if Christmas morning isn’t going to come if I don’t…so I don’t because I am a Grinch like that!

    • omawarisan says:

      I think I might have seen all of that movie if you put all the parts I’ve seen together. You are right though, people can be kind of aggressive about pushing that one on you!

  26. I’m with you, Oma, when you say you don’t get musicals…me either! I have also resisted anything Harry Potter or Star Wars or Star Trek or Avatar, which the nerds I live with find difficult to understand! I haven’t seen Gone With the Wind, The Godfather, or GoodFellas, or Titanic either. I have, however, seen Ole Yeller and The Wizard of Oz. Ole Yeller made me cry, and The Wizard of Oz scared me, especially the flying monkeys and the Wicked Witch! The costumes were very good though, considering it was the 1930’s…except for the silver paint making the Tin Man sick…


  27. You’ve never…what?…how?

    Movie night, my house, this weekend.

  28. […] Where Is The On Ramp To The Yellow Brick Road? ( […]

  29. […] much today. However, L. Frank’s birthday reminds me of something I still have never done. This. No, not even […]

  30. omawarisan says:

    Reblogged this on Blurt and commented:

    I just heard that The Wizard Of Oz premiered 75 years ago today. That’s one more year in the books for my streak…

  31. robincoyle says:

    Cancel our Tattoo tattoo. I want a Toto tattoo. You in?

  32. shoutabyss says:

    May I suggest the soundtrack for this post? It’s a scene out of Peter Jackson’s latest extrapolations:

  33. Dan Hennessy says:

    Spoiler alert ::: No one mentioned the ruby slippers .

  34. pegoleg says:

    Now you can NEVER see the movie or it will ruin your record.

    My cool cousins had a super talented artist friend who painted that album cover life-size on the wall of their family room (at that time called a rec or rumpus room which was, of course, in the basement.) As you walked down the stairs, it was right at the bottom and it looked like 6-foot-tall Elton John was inviting you to step in with him. Just as long as you had your enormous glasses and platform shoes.

  35. Besides the cultural references, that I am sure you are aware of and that have been mentioned in the previous comments the cinematic aspects of the film are significant. The first part of the movie takes place in “Kansas” and is filmed in black and white. When Dorothy and her wee dog Toto enter “The Land of Oz” it is filmed in colour. This would mark the first time most people saw a colour film. The were shocked, amazed and spellbound. With the advances in cinematography since then it seems extremely mundane. You just had to be there.

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