August is always a busy month for me personally, but I will always make time to do a Blogathon for really amazing fellow classic film writers, and especially when it’s about a movie I so adore.
The Wizard of Oz (1939) is a special movie that holds a place in my heart. The VHS tape I had as a child became worn out and I remember it was one of the first DVDs my Mom bought way back around 2000. To this day, I still have my Wizard of Oz Barbie set as well as have a replica copy of the original edition of the novel.
My feelings of the Wizard of Oz have remained unchanged since I was a child. Every time I watch Dorothy and her friends navigate their journey to Oz, I fall in love with the film all over again, and rediscover the true meaning of home. Dorothy’s quest to Oz has always been one that I am willing to take over and over, and what makes it fun is the friends she meets along the way. Of course, she already has Toto (her dog- of course!), but I’m talking about her three best friends she comes to love: The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion. Of all three of these marvelous friends, the one who has held my heart has always been The Scarecrow. Not only is he the first person to tag along with Dorothy to Oz, but throughout the film he is the one who keeps her focused and cheers her up when she’s down.
Part of what draws me to the Scarecrow is the warmth and familiarity Ray Bolger brings to the role- he’s a perfect dancer and you believe he really is wobbly. I can’t imagine Buddy Ebsen as the Scarecrow (or even the Tin Man, Jack Haley is the Tin Man!) because Ray is so flawless. When I was little, I considered Dorothy and The Scarecrow to be a team, while the Lion and Tin Man were the other part of the team- I’m not sure why, but I always saw it that way!
In the Kansas scenes, the farm hand Hunk (The Scarecrow counterpart) was originally meant to be a love interest for Dorothy and hints of their relationship are present in the film, most notably in the Oz goodbye scene. It’s tearful when Dorothy’s saying goodbye to the Tin Man and Lion- but every time I watch her hug the Scarecrow saying, “I’ll miss you most of all”, it gets to me and tugs at my heartstrings without fail!!! The emotion in that scene just breaks the barriers and you really feel the true fondness Ray and Judy had for each other.
One little stand out moment for me between Dorothy and the Scarecrow occurs during the escape from the Witch’s castle when they use the Tin Man’s axe to break down the door. The Scarecrow hands Toto to Dorothy before she hugs anyone- it’s something I have only noticed in recent years, but it’s a detail I have come to adore. The Scarecrow knew Dorothy would be worried sick over Toto and made sure she saw him first. In the past, during this scene I was always focused and obsessed with the red hour glass of the Wicked Witch’s, (to satisfy my obsession my parents bought me a mini hot pink hour glass when I was 5; sadly it cracked!!), but its little details such as these which make their friendship really translate to the audience.
Another major reason I am drawn to the Scarecrow is, when I was little, my Uncle Mike would dance and talk like the Scarecrow for my sister and I. Uncle Mike dance and sang “If I only had a Brain” in a funny manner- and even fell down like the Scarecrow, and when watching the movie, I would always laugh extra hard because I would think back to Uncle Mike’s dance. For me personally, they became connected and to this day they still are. Because I have two Uncle Mikes, I even list Uncle Mike as Uncle Mike (Scarecrow) in my phone. In 2005 when I was going to Disney World for the first time, My Aunt and Uncle bought my sister and I Disney autograph books and they were the first ones to sign them, Uncle Mike naturally signed it as, “The Scarecrow”.
Overall, I can’t honestly say I have a true favorite character from the Wizard of Oz (I mean it’s a bit impossible!!!), but rather I can say The Scarecrow is my “special character”. My “special character” from my “special movie”!
Please click Here to read other posts from Taking Up Room’s Wizard of Oz Blogathon and Thank you so much for hosting this wonderful Blogathon to honor this amazing and timeless film!! Happy 80th Birthday Wizard of Oz!!!!