August 25:August 25, 2012
August 25: Wizard of Oz debuts
On this day in 1939, The Wizard of Oz debuted.
Based on the 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, the film starred Judy Garland as the young Kansas farm girl Dorothy, who, after being knocked unconscious in a tornado, dreams about following a yellow brick road, alongside her dog Toto, to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard of Oz. Along the way, Dorothy encounters a cast of characters, including the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Wicked Witch of the West. Though the scenes in Kansas were shot in traditional black and white, Oz appears in vivid Technicolor, a relatively new film process at the time.
Nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category, The Wizard of Oz lost to the Civil War-era epic Gone With the Wind. The Wizard of Oz won a Best Song Oscar for “Over the Rainbow,” which became one of Garland’s signature hits.
A modest box-office success when it was first released, but The Wizard of Oz’s popularity continued to grow after it was televised for the first time in 1956. An estimated 45 million people watched that inaugural broadcast.
The Wizard of Oz was one of the first 25 films to be put on the National Film Registry, which is reserved for culturally or historically significant movies.