Dan and the Wizard of Oz – KGUA #46

For the April 26, 2021 KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour, I am asked to free write about the Wizard of Oz character with whom I most identify. 

It’s Dorothy. 

But first let me say that I saw the Wizard of Oz as a kindergartner at the local theater in Hawthorne, NJ.  Seeing the Wicked Witch of the West scared the beejeezus out of me.  Don’t get me started on the terrifying flying monkeys.  Who lets a five year old see such a horror show?  I’m guessing my parents wanted to just toughen me up.  You be the judge how that’s worked out.

Back to Dorothy.  First of all, she has the classic line for those dealing with the unknown, Toto, I have a feeling that this isn’t Kansas anymore. Problem solving 101: Acknowledgement the issue.

Dorothy Gale had the adventurous spirit that I wanted as a kid who was quite comfortable at the ballfields, gyms, and playgrounds of my youth. I saw no reason to get out of my comfort zone and leave little ole Fair Lawn, New Jersey. 

This is where my parents stepped up.  With my brother and sister, I was packed into their woody station wagon for the Tetons in Wyoming and the deserts of Tucson, Arizona.  Seeing that the West wasn’t such a dangerous place, I had the seed planted for an adventurous life. 

Marrying a homebody like Hannah, I drew upon my inner Dorothy Gale and planned our own family trips to the Mountain West and later driving 4500 miles to Alaska to set her free and let our kids know that we weren’t in Maine anymore.

Our kids have since been to Iceland, China, Colombia, and Afghanistan (in that case, thanks to Uncle Sam) and little do they know that they can thank a young girl from the Heartland, one Dorothy Gale, for that inspiration.

Words – 287

Cast. Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale. Frank Morgan as Professor Marvel/Gatekeeper/Carriage Driver/Guard/Wizard of Oz. Ray Bolger as “Hunk”/Scarecrow. Jack Haley as “Hickory”/Tin Woodman. Bert Lahr as “Zeke”/Cowardly Lion. Billie Burke as Glinda the Good Witch. Margaret Hamilton as Miss Almira Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West.

Release date: August 25, 1939

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