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"Over the Rainbow" was a ballad with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E. Y. “Yip” Harburg written for the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.”It was introduced about five minutes into the film by Dorothy Gale (played by Judy Garland) after her Aunt Em told her to "find yourself a place where you won't get into any trouble." Addresses her dog, Dorothy mused, “Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat, or a train. It's far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain..." (The song was initially deleted from the film because MGM chief executive Louis B. Mayer and producer Mervyn LeRoy thought it "slowed down the picture," but associate producer Arthur Freed and Garland's vocal coach Roger Edens fought to keep it in. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts ranked it #1 on their "Songs of the Century" list, and the American Film Institute claimed it was the greatest movie song of all time.) The film was shown annually on American television from 1959 to 1991. Soon after the song, Dorothy and her house were blown by a tornado to the Land of Oz; awed by the beauty and splendor of the place, she remarked, “Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more. We must be over the rainbow! “Then a bubble appeared in the sky and became Glinda the Good Witch. Dorothy again confided to her dog, “Now I... I know we're not in Kansas!” [In the book that started it all, Baum used the word “gray” 9 times in 4 paragraphs to describe Kansas.]
The Land of Oz was created by American author L. Frank Baum in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” (1900). It was cut off from the rest of the world because it was completely surrounded by the Deadly Desert, which turned anything that touched it into sand. In the book’s first scene actually set in Oz, the Good Witch of the North (Locasta or Tattypoo) explained that Oz still had witches and wizards since it was not civilized, but they could be either good or evil. (In a 1903 interview with Publishers Weekly, Baum said that the name came from his file cabinet labeled "O-Z.") The book was published by the George M. Hill Co., but only after the manager of the Chicago Grand Opera House committed to make it into a musical stage play to publicize the novel. The 1st edition’s 10,000 copies was sold out in its first month, and its 2nd edition (15,000 copies) followed suit. Baum quickly capitalized on the book’s success, adapting it into a play in 1901 with music by Paul Tietjens and Nathaniel D. Mann and again as “The Wizard of Oz” in 1902 with music by Tietjens and others (with jokes by Glen MacDonough); it opened in Chicago with the comedy team of David Montgomery and Fred Stone as the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow, moved to Broadway in New York in 1903, and continued (on tour or in New York) until 1909. Four years after the first Oz book, he published “The Marvelous Land of Oz” (1904) and to promote it, a newspaper comic strip, “Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz,”which ran until 1905, when he wrote the Oz-based “The Woggle-Bug Book: The Strange Adventure of the Woggle-Bug” and the play “The Woggle-Bug” with music by Frederick Chapin (based on “The Marvelous Land of Oz”), followed by “Ozma of Oz”(1907),“Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz,”(1908), “The Road to Oz,” the play “The Rainbow's Daughter, or The Magnet of Love”(an adaptation of “Ozma of Oz” and “The Road to Oz”) with music by Manuel Klein but quickly revised as “Ozma of Oz”[and ultimately produced as “The Tik-Tok Man of Oz” with music by Louis F. Gottschalk], and an unpublished play ,“The Girl from Oz” [later adapted for radio as “The Girl of Tomorrow” by Frank Joslyn Baum](all in 1909), and “The Emerald City of Oz” (1911), in which he said he could not produce any more sequels because Oz had lost contact with the rest of the world; nevertheless, in 1913 he published “Little Wizard Stories of Oz,”6 short stories to help re-launch the series of novels beginning with “The Patchwork Girl of Oz”(and an unproduced stage version with music by Gottschalk, which was developed into the scenario for the 1914 film), and continued the series every year for the rest of his life (“Tik-Tok of Oz,” “The Scarecrow of Oz,” “Rinkitink in Oz,” “The Lost Princess of Oz,” “The Tin Woodman of Oz,” “The Magic of Oz” (published a month after Baum’s death), and “Glinda of Oz.”In addition, he wrote the short story, “"The Littlest Giant: An Oz Story," in 1917, but it was not published until 1972. After his death, his publisher, Reilly & Lee, put out an additional 26 Oz books (19 by Ruth Plumly Thompson, 3 by John R. Neill (who had illustrated all of Baum’s Reilly & Lee sequels), 2 by Jack Snow and 1 each by Rachel Cosgrove Payes and Eloise Jarvis McGraw & her daughter. An original Oz book was published every Christmas between 1913 and 1942; by 1956, 5 million copies of them had been published in English. By 1938, more than a million copies of the first book had been printed; by 1956, when it entered public domain, its sales had grown to 3 million.
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