Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Went To See The Wizard!

(In this blog, I'm linking to several pictures of the theatre to help you visualize my experience a bit. Check them out!)

Today, I took the bus (and a little walk) to the Gillioz Theatre. By the time I got there (35 minutes early... that's me!), I saw the guy working outside centering the title "WIZARD OF OZ" on the front marquee outside.

Yep, the Gillioz, in association with the Moxie (a theatre that re-runs movies and shows foreign and independent movies and documentaries) was showing MGM's The Wizard of Oz. This was the first time I would be seeing this movie or ANY Oz movie on the big screen.

After buying my ticked (only $5), I entered, to discover a yellow brick pathway through the lower hall. Over to the right, an adoption center for dogs had a couple little dogs that were available for adoption, as well as a jar for donations. Closer to the door was a table where a lady was handing out free "Oz Kits," which contained some coupons (including a buy one get one free coupon for a dozen Krispy Kreme Doughnuts... I'll use that, never fear!), a little jar of bubble potion, and a card reading "How To Bring Oz To Life." I'm writing the card's text, unaltered, below.

- Visit our concession stand and purchase a Lollypop Guild lollypop or other fine treats
- Blow bubbles when Glinda appears on screen
- Experience the winds that sweep Dorothy away to Oz
- Read L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" when you return home

(Can't argue with that last one.)

Sponsors for the event were listed on the other side of the card: Borders (where I bought a copy of Tin Man on DVD), Chick-fil-A (who had an abridgement of Ozma of Oz as a premium in their kid's meals sometime ago), Springfield's Incredible Pizza Company (who once had an Oz Playroom, but last time I visited, it was gone), and Krispy Kreme (who are just plain awesome... oh, and they all but chased Dunkin Donuts out of town).

After getting my ticket taken, I entered. Through the rotunda, a green electric light was shining. Baum would have approved. I carefully made my way through the lobby to the auditorium.

The stage (on the left, only photo) looked quite appropiate...

Before the screening, they were playing the songs and overture and Tornado music from the Movie in order. They were likely playing the selections from the soundtrack CD, as I noted the extended "If I Only Had A Brain." During this, they cycled through trivia for the movie and advertisements for the sponsors (I already knew most of the trivia, but they surprised me with a couple items * .)

Halfway through "If I Were King Of The Forest," the Movie started. 4PM sharp!

I believe the version of the film they used was the same restoration for the 50th Anniversary release, but the Warner Brothers logo before the Movie was quite modern. There were pops and scratches in the picture, in many places, especially since it was on a big screen, it was a little blurred, but, unlike recent re-issue film copies, this was not cut to widescreen.

My overall enjoyment of the film was, I would say, a medium level. I guess I've seen the Movie on DVD and video (and a few times, TV) too many times. I made sure to get a good seat, but it was still worth an ovation at the end.

One of the best parts was after I had left the theatre. On the bus I was taking home (which would be followed by another walk), a couple who had also seen the Movie (and bought a lollipop) talked about their experience and gave their bottle of bubble potion to a lady who hailed from Kansas. (They didn't ask her name... Hmm...) She blew a few, and the husband of the couple mentioned he owned the recent restoration. (He failed to note 2-disc or 3-disc.) I was tempted to break in, but decided I'd have more fun with my ears than with my mouth.

Yeah, I guess I listen pretty well. (Whenever I make it to an Oz convention, I'll probably be doing a lot of listening...)

* The two trivia items that surprised me were that "Nikko" is also the name of a city in Japan where a temple holding the See No Evil/Speak No Evil/Hear No Evil monkey statue resides; and also that the sparks from the Ruby Slippers was actually dark apple juice squirting from the shoes, sped up to look like sparks. (Wonder how many pairs they had to repair for that shot.)


Nathan said...

You know, "Gillioz" sounds like a combination of "Gillikin" and "Oz" anyway, so I guess it's a quite appropriate film to show there.

My sister gave me the Chick-fil-A abridged book as a gift. I found it amusing that the book they chose was the one with a chicken as the main hero.

Jared said...

I've heard people pronounce it "Gilly-Oz" and "Gill-ois." I believe "Gilly-Oz" is correct, as the "ois" sound is not suggested by the spelling.