Last week, Erik had a post about a piece of writing from Chicago author L. Frank Baum that was considerably less whimsical than Baum's usual fare-- it was, astoundlingly, an argument for genocide of Native-Americans. Not what one would expect from the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the basis for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.
On the way to work every day, I pass by the bland townhouse that is now where the house that Baum lived in was when he wrote the book (it's at 1667 N. Humboldt Blvd., for all you Chicagoans).
I've never actually read the book. Like every child in America, I grew up watching the movie on television.
When I was a junior in college, my parents moved to California. There was no big problem with this: they'd given me a car, and I lived in off-campus housing. I enjoyed the fact that it gave me an excuse to go to California over Christmas break.
On Spring breaks, I'd stay at my aunt's apartment, in Chicago's South Side Beverly neighborhood. My aunt was often off with her boyfriend on vacation trips around then, so I usually got the place to myself.
My senior year, she was there for a couple of days of my visit. One afternoon, the movie The Wizard of Oz was playing. She and I sat down to enjoy it.
Toward the end of the movie, something went wrong with the television-- or so I thought. The color disappeared. I got up to try to adjust the set, and my aunt asked me what I was doing. I told her that I was trying to fix the picture-- it had just gone all black and white.
My family did not own a color television until I was in high school, so I had never seen The Wizard of Oz in color before. And so it was at that moment, at the tender age of 22, that I learned that the beginning and end of the movie, where Dorothy is on the farm, is in black and white, while the middle, where Dorothy is in Oz, is in color.