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Since Judy Garland set off to see the wizard 75 years ago in the 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the story of Dorothy Gale has lured other filmmakers hoping to make similar movie magic. Oz-inspired films include the Michael Jackson-led musical adaptation The Wiz (1978) and, most recently, 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful, starring , and .
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Finally the witches have their hour – on Broadway and beyond. The musical tells the other side of The Wizard of Oz, based on 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Like its anchoring show tune “Defying Gravity,” ticket sales since its 2003 debut have soared with performances around the world.
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A CHRISTMAS STORY
Think Ralphie should have just asked the wizard for that Red Ryder air rifle instead of waiting around for Santa? The 9-year-old encounters the core cast during a department store parade in the 1983 holiday classic. Coincidentally, both films were produced by MGM, although the studio has since sold the rights to A Christmas Story.
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Dorothy could probably relate to Lost’s plane crash survivors, who find themselves stranded on a mysterious island with no way to get home in the 2004-2010 TV show. The Oz themes explored include the fourth season finale, fittingly titled “There’s No Place Like Home,” and saluting imagery of a man in red shoes being crushed by scaffolding.
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OVER THE RAINBOW
Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” – which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song – has received no shortage of encores. American Idol runner-up covered the song on the show in 2006 – which was a change of pace from James Stewart’s drunken rendition in 1940’s The Philadelphia Story. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Ray Charles and Harry Nilsson have all recorded their spins on the classic, too.
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NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN
Decades later, the ruby slippers worn by Garland are still one of the most recognizable pairs of shoes in cinematic history, even if evil Pharaoh Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) scoffs at the pair on display in the 2009 sequel. Little did he know: According to the Smithsonian, the slippers are one of the most asked-about artifacts at the institution.
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MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE
They are so not in Kansas anymore! The most famous faces of the Wizard of Oz – from Dorothy to the Wicked Witch – made their way to N.Y.C. last November on a 47-foot tall, hand-painted hot air balloon paying homage to the film’s 75th anniversary.
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In The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West keeps good (er, bad?) company with the winged monkeys, her posse of blindly obedient primates. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) calls out Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) as two of Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) flying monkeys in the 2012 comic book movie adaptation. Bottom line: Even superheroes tip their hats to the yellow brick road.
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ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA
More proof The Wizard of Oz will always rock: Dorothy’s iconic ruby slippers grace the cover for Eldorado, British band Electric Light Orchestra’s 1974 album. Sharon Osbourne masterminded the art for the concept album, which aptly tells a story that takes place in a dream.
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