The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Cultural Impact

Cultural Impact

The Wizard of Oz has been an inspiration for many fantasy novels and films. It has been translated or adapted into well over fifty languages, at times being modified in local variations. For instance, in some abridged Indian editions, the Tin Woodman was replaced with a snake. In Russia, a translation by Alexander Melentyevich Volkov produced five books, The Wizard of the Emerald City series, which became progressively distanced from the Baum version, as Ellie and her dog Totoshka travel throughout the Magic Land.

However, its fame has greatly increased mainly because of the many network telecasts of the 1939 film version of the book.

In 1967, The Seekers recorded "Emerald City", with lyrics about a visit there, set to the melody of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy".

In 1995, Gregory Maguire published Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a revisionist look at the land and characters of Oz. Instead of depicting Dorothy, the novel focuses on Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West. The Independent characterized the novel as "an adult read reflecting on the nature of being an outcast, society's pressures to conform, and the effects of oppression and fascism". Universal Pictures, which bought the novel's rights, initially intended to make it into a film. Composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz convinced the company to make the novel into a musical instead. Schwartz wrote Wicked's music and lyrics, and it premiered on Broadway in October 2003.

Many of these draw more directly on the 1939 MGM Technicolor film version of the novel, a now-classic of popular culture shown annually on American television from 1959 to 1991, and shown several times a year every year beginning in 1999.

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