“Lions and Tigers and ______. Oh, my!” – SCN Encourager 3/11/2014

“The Wizard of Oz” movie is 75 years old.

Can you believe it?

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 9.14.30 PMThe Warner Brothers musical fantasy was produced in 1939.

It was big budget in every way, and no doubt, was an early adopter of the latest cinematic technology.

Although astounding special effects, an award-winning musical score, and a talented high-profile cast lifted the film to unparalleled popularity through several generations, it was the solid storyline that cemented its legacy.

That’s the serious opinion, anyway.

Me?  I just loved those flying monkeys!

Niko's my name. (Really.)

Niko’s my name. (Really.)

Who could forget those guys?

And you wouldn’t be able to – even if you tried!

The movie has been rerun about 325,000 times since it was first telecast in 1956.

There’s simply no chance of forgetting your favorite Oz memories.

When my daughters were little, they were captivated by Dorothy and her sparkly ruby slippers.

It would’ve been a blast to “trick or treat” down the street with little flying monkeys in tow, but fate denied me this opportunity.

My girls never deviated from their annual Halloween costume rotation of Snow White, Madeline, a floppy-eared bunny, and Dorothy.

I think Dorothy was their top choice all because of the ruby slippers.

They were so happy wearing those shoes … even if they frequently had to wear boots over them because of bad weather.

For years, if you had asked me what made “The Wizard of Oz” so wonderful, I would’ve answered “the ruby slippers” and “the flying monkeys.”

But not anymore.

I’d now talk about its tremendous story.

And if you are like me (a scary thought) who occasionally writes articles for a school newsletter or website, “The Wizard of Oz” offers a surprising 21st century lesson in storytelling.

There’s a turning point in its plot that is actually quite trendy today.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 5.32.54 PMThe pivotal moment I’m referring to is when Toto pulls back the curtain on the not-so-magical, all-too-average Wizard.

In mere seconds, Dorothy and her friends learn they’ve been scammed all along and all hope of ever returning to Kansas are about to be dashed.

That behind-the-scenes glimpse of truth altered the course of the movie.

Another major obstacle had to be overcome.

Admittedly, very few stories or articles we’ll ever write in our work are likely to spark this kind of drama, but a behind-the-scenes insight or a pull-back-the-curtain profile is a proven winner for attracting higher reader interest.

All of the reality shows on TV confirm it.

This might be something to keep in mind when you think about your upcoming school programs and events. There are probably people out of the spotlight who were instrumental in the program’s or event’s success — and they may have a cool story worth sharing.

I know I should seek these stories out more than I do.

But dang.

I keep hoping for a flying monkey to swoop by.

Now that would be something to write about!

Tom Page, SCN
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