Thursday, January 19, 2012

All in the family!

The fun thing about being an older brother and an Oz fan, you have younger siblings to share Oz with. It's more or less because of me that my three youngest siblings, Genevieve, Arthur, and Daniel got to see the MGM Wizard of Oz. And Disney's Return to Oz. And a large number of other Oz films as well.

Since Mom didn't approve of Oz, when she'd go away with Dad for an evening, my Oz tapes got to be watched. In fact, they even really enjoyed the silent Oz films, which I had on videocassette. (I donated them to a church sale after upgrading to DVD. I kinda wish I'd hung onto them and made sure they'd gone to actual Oz fans, but it's not really something I regret.) Along with me reading the title cards to them, we'd often create dialogue for the characters.

One case was a lot of fun. The Wonderful Land of Oz seems to have a low audio volume on video prints, so one time, we just turned the audio all the way down and made up new dialogue and songs, with no care about how well it actually fit the story. When Mombi is about to leave Tip downstairs. My sister Audrey (younger sister, but not little) ad-libbed "I'm going to climb up this ladder and then fall down and break my neck and die! Except... I don't think I want to do that. I'm a chicken. (At this point, Mombi points at Tip.) Just like you."

This was then followed by my ad-libbed song, "This cheese is as hard as a rock." Later, when Tip is holding up the cloth that held their food, saying that was the last of it, it became, "Jack, why did you dump all our food out on the ground?" Jack protests, "I had to sneeze!"

There was one accident, though. For some reason, The Jitterbug video at the end of Warner Brother's Wizard of Oz tape was enough to terrify Gen and Arthur. When they had to go bed one night, they protested they didn't want to because they were afraid of the Jitterbug. Mom told us we weren't allowed to watch fantasy movies then, something that didn't hold. (They didn't have such a bad reaction to anything in Return to Oz, except when Mombi's heads start screaming. Then they covered their eyes.)

But the real fun came when I retold them Oz and Baum stories. I more or less told straight retellings of Baum's Oz books and The Sea Fairies and maybe other fantasies, with few changes. One was that in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, they stumble into the Voe fish market, an alteration made due to the humorous way I'd say "feeesh!"

The most popular stories they'd ask for actually came from Baum's American Fairy Tales, particularly, "The Magic Bon-Bons" (which I just renamed "The Magic Candy" for simplicity's sake) and "The Box of Robbers." (Italian accents are funny!)

They didn't ask to read the Oz books and I never made them, but when I had Oz comics (either from the library or I'd added to my collection), they'd enjoy those with me willingly. When I got a copy of Dick Martin's Cut and Build the Emerald City of Oz, Daniel looked forward to the day when it would be put together, something that didn't happen until 2010.

Today, Gen lives in Texas with Audrey and her husband Shaun, where she enjoys her own interests. Arthur still lives with my parents (-ish, it's complicated) and is a fledgling cartoonist and filmmaker. Daniel lives with my oldest brother Aaron, his wife Jessica, and my niece Amber. Daniel has a shelf of books he's read, including The Chronicles of Narnia and other novels.

As for Amber, last Christmas, I decided it was past time I put some Ozzification in her life, so I gave her a copy of the Del Rey Wizard of Oz paperback and the MGM movie on DVD. Ah, we Oz fans, infecting the next generation...

1 comment:

Arthur Davis said...

I do remember the Purple Cow Song. That was freaking hilarious.