In a few weeks, I'll be off to this year's Winkie Convention, where the theme will be the centennial of The Emerald City of Oz. However, there's another important Oz centennial that we should also celebrate this year. The oldest existing Oz movie, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was released in 1910. And here it is:
My, we've come a long way since then, haven't we? I remember a time when this film was believed to be lost. Then, all of a sudden, there's Leonard Maltin showing it on Entertainment Tonight one evening! I recognized it as Oz right away, of course, but it certainly wasn't any of the other silent Oz movies I was familiar with. Turns out that, sure enough, it not only existed, it had been in the Eastman film archives the whole time! Needless to say, it got out into Oz circles as quick as possible. There were several screenings at the Oz Centennial convention in Indiana in 2000, it was released on some compilation DVDs, and it finally was made generally available to Oz collectors in 2005 when it was part of a DVD rerelease of the more famous film version (the 1939 MGM version with Judy Garland). Now, it's even been shown on TCM, and here it is available for anyone to watch on a computer.