Monday, May 25, 2009

The Guy with the Stuffing is Packing

During an enjoyable neighborhood barbecue last night most of the kids plunked themselves down in front of The Wizard of Oz, the beloved classic celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Although they didn't make it all the way through the movie (late start + hot day = sleepy kids) Fiona and Bryan had lots of questions about the movie, mostly revolving around the business relationship between flying monkeys and the Wicked Witch of the West.

However, they stumped us with this one: "Why does the Scarecrow have a gun?"

What?! Nah, he doesn't have a gun, we've seen that a million times and...

Holy cow, the Scarecrow has a gun!!! As the link suggests, this may not have been the best idea, since the Scarecrow "makes Barney Fife look like Patton." Nevertheless, there it is.

Listen to your kids. You can learn a lot from them. You can also learn a lot from people with a good pause button and infinite amounts of free time (h/t J).

Update: I forgot to include a link to this New Yorker piece on Victor Fleming, the near-simultaneous director of both Oz and Gone with the Wind. The latter film has lived at or near the top of my personal list of All-Time Overrated Films but I may need to check it out again.


J. said...

I still cannot believe the Scarecrow was packing heat! (I just thought he was happy to see Dorothy. ; ) And I must have seen that movie, oh, 17 times growing up -- and never noticed the gun or just accepted it, like the flying monkeys, a guy in a tin suit, a talking lion with a bow in his hair, and the Great and Powerful Oz.

Your kids sure are observant, Mr. S.

jjv said...

This is an easy question to answer. He has a gun because he has a brain! He's going to fight an army of Halberd wielding drones. Obviously he's packing heat. The bigger question is why he never uses it. I remember the gun and do not know why he didn't use it except for fear or he lost it climbing up to the witch's castle. Obviously, the con man wizard had a gun as he could not rely on his facile tongue all the time.

jjv said...

Now I've read the Denby article. Of course he accuses Clark Gable of homosexual acts on zero evidence. This is par for the course nowadays. I will say this, to have two movies in one year like GWTW and WOO is amazing.

GWTW is a little much for me but there are scenes in it that one never forgets after seeing them which is not the case with most movies. The same with the dialogue.

Forty years after it was made Carol Burnette could spoof the dress from the curtains scene and get laughs. Hard to do with most movies. As for lines here are just a few from memory

La de da.

Tomorrow is another day.

Frankly, etc...

Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.

I don't know nothing 'bout birth'n no babies.

Anonymous said...

I faintly recall seeing the gun. At the time, I thought that someone in the Emerald City probably prevailed on the scarecrow to arm himself, and I think we all knew that he was as dangerous to his friends as the Wicked Witch was at that point.

For me, that was in the 1970s, when guns were still pretty much everywhere on both television and the big screen. As for Ray Bolger making a stand against firearms, let's recall that the movie was released on August 25, 1939. On that date, a small German battleship, Schleswig Holstein, entered the port of Danzig on a professed peaceful visit. One week later, it opened fire at point blank range on the adjacent Polish barracks. Four days earlier, the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee slipped into the North Sea unnoticed to start a commerce raiding campaign a couple weeks later. A single gun, appearing but unused in "The Wizard of Oz"? It was child's play.