I confess: I am able to mimic the Wicked Witch of the West much better than Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. But, one has to admit, it's much more difficult pretending to float in a bubble and speak in a lilting voice that sounds as though it were helium-filled than being hunched down on solid ground and implementing the craggy, tonal threat of "I'll get you, my pretty. And your little dog, too!"
Ah, the Wizard of Oz. I do wonder, though, if the very young can appreciate this movie the way those of my generation did. After all, we had to wait once a year for it to air. In my house, it was an event. My mother would make a generous bowl of popcorn and my siblings and I would sit around the television riveted, waiting for that frightening green face to appear. I'm not sure just how we knew it was green since our television was black and white. However, one year, when I was about ten or so, our neighbors invited my family over to their house to watch the movie on their brand new color TV. I can still see Mr. Damour playing with the antennae, trying to make sure we'd get the full effect from when Dorothy opened the door to look out on to the very colorful world of Oz. It was astounding to see for the first time, but I still liked being in my own home, curled up on the couch, and taken somewhere else, somewhere, well, over the rainbow, even if it weren't in Technicolor.
Like Dorothy, I lived on a farm. Like Dorothy, I wanted to escape the colorless world in which I lived. Unlike Dorothy, however, I didn't eventually think there was no place like "home." Still, there was something about the story that had me enthralled and each year I looked forward to watching that young girl from Kansas collect the oddest of friends and going with them to find her way back home. But imagine my alarm one year when my father wouldn't allow my older brother and me to participate in the yearly event as punishment for fighting with each other. Always one to stick to his word, I wasn't surprised that Dad didn't relent, but, after all, it was The Wizard of Oz! Fortunately, my bedroom was directly above the living room and I sat quietly at the top of the stairs and listened, envisioning each scene. Maybe that's when I discovered that I could impersonate the Wicked Witch of the West quite well because for years afterward I liked to entertain friends by making myself shrink as small as possible as I sunk onto the floor while screeching, "You cursed brat! Look what you've done! I'm melting! Melting! Oh, what a world, what a world!" Needless to say, it's been years since I've reenacted that scene.
No longer an annual occasion, the classic is readily available on DVD, and just recently, as I was channel surfing, I saw it airing on cable-as if it were just any movie and not a special event! Not a special event? It's just not right coming across the yellow brick road without any anticipation. But I suppose a wizard in the Land of Oz is just as ordinary as wizards from Hogwarts, while munchkins, flying monkeys and green-faced witches are no longer all that exciting. Oh, what a world, what a world, indeed.