I originated in a time before VCRs.
Movies were in theatres in far away towns, or presented with commercial interruptions on the two (2) channels we could manage to entice with the antenna on the roof.
No repeated viewings, at my convenience.
Movies were, in short, an event.
There were a couple that I’d wait for, impatiently. Mary Poppins. The Sound of Music.
The biggest and best? The Wizard of Oz.
I adored it. I’d nearly puke with anticipation in the hours before I knew it was coming on. I could have sworn it was 5 hours long, because it seemed to cover so much more territory, had a story outsizedly bigger than anything else I’d ever seen.
And it made me feel….weird. Unsettled. A little scared, maybe, and definitely like my horizons had been expanded.
My scary moment? The Lollipop Guild.
Specifically, the Munchkin on the far right. He defied categorization. Was he a kid with adult features? A little person with an especially boyish face? Why did he look so angry? Was he going to be hiding under my bed that night? I seriously lost sleep over that little dude.
My boyfriend says for him, it was the classic: The Wicked Witch of the West.
Bitch was angry and green and always popped up at exactly the wrong god-damned moment.
The best man at my wedding was completely petrified of the Flying Monkeys.
To the point where he was at a sleep-over at my ex-husband’s house when they were kids, and he demanded to be driven home due to the sheer monkey-related terror. (And on the way out of the yard, my ex-father-in-law ran over the family’s dog, Shamrock.) (Whose death was conflicting for the ex: Shamrock was a notorious leg-humper, but he was still his dog, and the monkeys were forever after tied in with his pet’s death.)
Speaking of the aforementioned ex, the movie had a….different effect on him.
He had it bad for Dorothy.
(He made the mistake of confessing this to me, once. It struck me as so funny, I fell off a couch laughing. I used the moments I caught my breath to inquire “And her little dog, too?”) (Damn, that man put up with a lot.)
Piecing together all the anecdotal evidence at my disposal, I came up with a theory. The Wizard of Oz was a little like the kid version of a trip.
It messed with us, but in the very best way possible. A little frightening, leaving us all unsettled. Years later, we’d need chemical help to replicate that feeling.
Well played, Mr. Baum. Well played.