Tag Archives: wizard of oz

Judy Garland in Blackface

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

Ugh.  Maybe I’m not the pop culture guru I thought I was, because I found out the other day that Judy Garland performed in blackface.

Around Christmastime, I watched the Wizard of Oz after not watching it since I was a kid.  As an adult, I really appreciated the Jude-ster’s vocal talents and, embarrassing as this may be, I began looking up clips of her other performances as an adult.  Her rendition of “Come On, Get Happy” is pretty great.

Should I be admitting a love of show tunes?  Yes.  #2018.

So anyway, the other day I was on YouTube, looking for another dose of Judy and low and behold, two clips appear of her in blackface.  She’s got the dark makeup, the wig, the exaggerated whites around her mouth and eyes.  She’s calling herself “Opal Pearl Washington” and singing about her “Mammy and Pappy.”

Holy crap.  I mean, maybe you could defend her on the grounds that in at least one of the appearances, she’s a kid and her parents and/or studio execs are to blame but even so, finding out that Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz appeared in blackface is the equivalent of:

#1 – Finding out that Santa snorts coke off of stripper asses.

#2 – Finding out that the Tooth Fairy uses the teeth she collects for no reason other than to just swim around in them naked and revel in all the pain the kids went through to lose their teeth.

#3 – Finding out that the Easter Bunny is a serial killer who cuts off people’s faces and wears them.

#4 – Finding out that America’s Dad of the 1980s Bill Cosby used to drug women for sexual perversion purposes and, oh shit, that happened and I felt bad then too.

#5 – Finding out that seemingly trustworthy morning talk show host Matt Lauer had a button under his desk he could use to lock women inside his office.  Oh shit…

So anyway.  I guess that information has been out there a long time and I’m just discovering it.  Did I mention the other video was basically a tribute song to FDR?  Yes, because in the 1940s it was totally cool to get in blackface and support presidential candidates apparently.

Oh well.  The woman died of a barbiturate overdose when she was 47 so I’ll assume there was a long list of shit the studios made her do that weighed on her mind.  People have pointed out she sold a house to Sammy Davis Jr when no one else in Hollywood would.

Not excusing it…just ugh…Judy!  Why, Judy, why?  Say it ‘aint so!

I’m not posting the video.  Feel free to look it up on YouTube if you want your faith in humanity shocked.

I’ll try to soldier on but if I find a video of little Toto in a doggie klansman outfit then I’m going to give up on life.

 

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow vs. There’s No Place Like Home

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB again.  Really, who else would it be?

Another observation about “The Wizard of Oz.”

There are two sentiments expressed in this movie, and they are very much opposed to one another.

In the beginning, Dorothy sings, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” i.e. somewhere out there is a whole shit ton of happiness…it’s out there, I swear.  It’s coming just around the corner.  It’s right there…over the rainbow.  You can’t get over a rainbow?  You can see the rainbow but you can’t get over it?  Don’t worry.  That amazing happiness is coming.

Then at the end, that bitch Glenda tells Dorothy that her ruby slippers held the power to bring her back to Kansas all along.  I call Glenda a bitch because she could have told Dorothy up front that her slippers could bring her back home and saved her a lot of trouble.

However, Glenda makes a good point.  Dorothy had to struggle through various ordeals in order to figure out that her happiness wasn’t in a fantasyland but it was at her home all along.

To put it all together, Dorothy thinks life in Kansas sucks big time balls.  She has to do chores and live on a shitty farm and get bossed around by Aunty Em and there’s an old bitch in the neighborhood who is constantly trying to murder her dog.

So she dreams of a better life in a better place.  But then she gets there and learns it is even harder.  To get anywhere good in Oz, she has to fight a witch that can throw fireballs, fend off winged monkeys, venture into a spooky forest, and help three assholes find their heart, courage and brains, respectively.

In short, she was better off at home.

Are you better off at home than chasing a dream?  Hard to say.  Dorothy fought through all the bullshit only to find out that her dream, i.e. a magical wizard named Oz who could grant all her wishes, was just a dumb ass hiding behind a screen.

Your dream might be real.  To get there, you might have to fight through a lot of shit and, well, yeah, you might get there and your dream might turn out to be bullshit, the equivalent of a charlatan working a fake head from behind a screen.

So maybe you are better off at home….better off in your shitty farm house with your Aunt and Uncle who love you and three apparently single, middle-aged farm hands who are capable of viewing a young girl as their friend and not engage in any perverted activities because it was the 1930s Midwest and adults were considered to only have good intentions toward children, not all how perverted and messed up it is today.

What do you think, 3.5 readers?  Is happiness over the rainbow, or is it at home?

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Top Ten Observations About the Wizard of Oz

Follow the yellow brick road, 3.5 readers.

I had the chance to watch this classic the other day.  It’s been years since I’ve seen it and as an adult I noticed a lot of things.  Most good, a few just me being my typical jerky self.

Without further ado:

#10 – Literally everybody in the film is frigging dead.

And not just dead but dead for like, a long ass time.  The movie was made in 1939 and its still a staple of childhood viewing for kids today.

It just makes me sad to see all these people in costume, singing and dancing, having a good time, then thinking about how they are all dead, many of them died before I was even born.

I mean, holy crap, the actors who play Oz, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion were all born in the late 1800s.  Frickin’ Abraham Lincoln was tooling around in the same century.

Sigh.  Such is life.  Here one minute…

(EDIT: I found a reference on the Internet that says Jerry Maren, an actor who played a munchkin, might still be alive.  Hang in there, Jerry.)

#9 – Toto is the best dog actor ever.

I feel like there must be cut footage in a vault somewhere of the dog playing Toto taking a dump on Dorothy’s slippers or something.  Maybe not.  All I know is as I watch the movie, the dog playing Toto is like, the best train, most well-behaved on-screen dog I’ve ever seen.  The little guy walks in a straight line, following the actors, going where he needs to go, and does this even in scenes where like there’s hundreds of people behind him.

#8 – It’s a special effects bonanza.

People credit “Star Wars” for unleashing the special effects tidal wave, but I don’t think the movie industry would have gotten there without this picture.  While it pales against today’s standards, there are still some effects that are interesting to watch and probably made jaws drop in its day.  It was no doubt ahead of its time.  Dorothy looking at the twister out her window and seeing two dudes rowing through the wind in a rowboat is one example.

#7 – The Wicked Witch of the West is Justified in Her Anger.

I’m sorry, but the green bitch’s sister had a damn house dropped on her and then when she tries to collect the slippers, i.e. the property that should go to her as she is the rightful heir, Dorothy keeps them and Glenda threatens her that a house might drop on her too.

I mean.  Holy shit.  Is there any doubt that ugly people are treated like shit?  Imagine if the Wicked Witch were pretty.  Do you think people might, I don’t know, be like, “Um, yeah someone kills my sister and steals her shit, I’d be pissed too.”

I get that both witches were wicked and up to bad shit so the house drop was probably a good thing.  It’s kind of like if you were drunk driving and run over Hitler…yes, it’s good that Hitler died but still, you were drunk driving.

Then again, I suppose it wasn’t Dorothy’s fault her house went out of control.

By the way, Margaret Hamilton is having way too much fun playing that witch.

#6 – Judy Garland was better beyond her years.

She’s only 17 in this role but she’s just amazing, full of heart and perfect pronunciation.  So sad that she became a pill fiend.  I guess Hollywood will do that to you.  She performs better than any adult could have in this role.

#5 – Dorothy disses Tin Man and Lion.

I know that “I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow” has come to be thought of as a really heartwarming line, maybe something even tell people when they’re saying goodbye, but as a kid watching the movie pointed out to me, “Lion and Tin man are right there!”

Seriously.  How would you feel if you and two friends said goodbye to a fourth friend and she singled one friend out for extra missing?

Dorothy might as well have said, “Yeah furball and rustbucket, I’ll miss you guys I guess but holy shit, Scarecrow, I will miss the shit out of you.  I mean, Lion and Tin Man, you assholes were ok, but Scarecrow, I’m going to be balling my eyes out every night until I see you again, buddy.”

#4 – It’s possible for make-up to be better than CGI.

Scarecrow looks more like a talking scarecrow than a computerized version would, in my opinion.  I don’t know what they did.  They perfectly blended his head with whatever he was wearing to make his head look like a bag full of straw.

Tin man is no slouch.  He looks like an ancient attempt to construct a robot.

Lion basically looks like a dude in a lion costume which, ok, CGI might do better there.  Then again, why can’t people where lion costumes now?

#3 – I doubt a remake would be as good.

I’m surprised with all the reboots and remakes, Hollywood hasn’t remade this one.  Crap, I hope I didn’t just put that idea out into the ether.  Oh well, only 3.5 people read this blog anyway.

This movie has so much heart and is basically Hollywood’s first special effects extravaganza (I think, correct me if I’m wrong.)  A remake would be like that kid who has his mom do his art project vs the kid who does his best with macaroni and string.  Yeah, the more polished version would be better but the macaroni has more heart.

#2 – Dorothy and Friends Get Stoned

They can call them poppy flowers all they want but we all know that Witch got our favorite quartet stoned on opium.  Oz and Afghanistan, two places to avoid if you’re an opiate abuser.

#1 – “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” is the Most Profoundly Emotional Song Ever

Did you write it off as cheesy fluffy?  Think about it some more.

No…actually, think about the worst person in your life.  Surely, there is someone who lives to make you miserable.  They make fun of you.  Mess with you.  Hurt you.  Ruin you.

If that person were to die, you might secretly be glad on the outside, but out of sheer respect for the value of life, you’d probably feign an, “Oh that’s too bad” when someone tells you of the bully’s untimely demise.

The Munchkins, on the other hand, don’t just hate the Wicked Witch of the East, they despise her, so much that when a house is dropped on her head, they break out into a spontaneous song and dance number, engaging in perfect choreographic precision, expressing to Dorothy just how happy they are that she capped the Witch.

Literally, the song and dance routine goes on for several minutes.  Munchkins young and old take part.  There are interludes where various munchkin groups and dignitaries opine on the happiness they have over the witch’s dead, the coroner is consulted just to make sure that the celebration is in order, and the Mayor provides a joyous decree.

I mean, I don’t know what that witch was doing but imagine how awful she must have been to those munchkins for them to have broken out into such a dazzling, Broadway style revue to express their happiness at the hag’s death.  It’s almost as though those literally people were secretly rehearsing the routine in anticipation of the Witch’s death.

Can you imagine it?  All those little people huddled together in a back room.  “Oh man, we hate that bitch so much that we have to totally nail the song and dance routine we’ll give when she finally kicks the bucket. Ed, you get the costumes ready and Fred you call the Lollipop Guild.  We are going to rock this house when that hag croaks.”

I believe there is a line about bondage so the East Witch must have been enslaving the munchkins…or forcing them into a perverse BDSM lifestyle.  Either way, they’re happy she’s dead and they have a song to prove it.

Kinda makes you think, doesn’t it.  If you can honestly say that all the people who know you will break out into a song and dance number when you die, then you might want to make a few positive lifestyle changes while there is still time.

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