Monday, March 23, 2020

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Kingdom of Dreams

I am intrigued by this title! See, way back in 1914, when the first map of Oz was published as the endpapers of Tik-Tok of Oz, there were several countries that, at that point, had not been visited in the Oz books. Over the next few years, however, L. Frank Baum filled in the gaps and recorded adventures in all of them—except one. The Kingdom of Dreams is down by the lands of the Phanfasms and Growleywogs, and just north of Boboland. And it never appeared in the Oz books. But this episode may just address that! Okay, let me go ahead and get started.

A rabbit comes to Dorothy asking for help. Some sort of monster is scaring away the animals of the Emerald Forest. Naturally, Dorothy thinks this is a job for the king of the forest, the Lion. Unfortunately, he's in the Kingdom of Dreams. Dorothy thinks this is a metaphor, but it urns out that in Oz, the Kingdom of Dreams is a real live place. The Scarecrow and Tin Man don't know where it is, so Dorothy seeks help from Ozma. Sure enough, it was Ozma who sent him there, but forgot to mention that he wouldn't want to return. It's up to Dorothy to convince him to want to leave! So they head to the Isle of Yew (!), where the kingdom is located. The Ruby Slippers can't take them, so Ozma conjures up a magic sleeping pillow to take them there. Once they wake up again, they meet up with Theodore, a bear with a magic sailboat who promises to take them to the Kingdom of Dreams. Before long, everyone has turned into kid versions of themselves, as that's a lot less scary for the Lion to imagine. They find the Lion (as a cub) sliding down the greatest, most magical treehouse any of hem have seen, and he is very happy to see them. But when Dorothy tells him why they are there, he resists. He's happy to be a kid again, with nothing to be scared of. He takes his friends on a tour, and they end up flying around his treehouse. But as it's all a dream, the Lion figures he can save the Emerald Forest without going back to Oz, Sure enough, he dreams himself into the Emerald Forest, where he single-handedly conquers all the monsters. But then he realizes that it was all in his head, and not real life. But he is enjoying his new life so much, he still can't leave. The rest go back to Oz and try to figure out what to do, but have no luck. But then the Lion appears, fully grown, and deals with the monsters. He then thanks Dorothy for reminding him what's really important.

Getting back to my lead paragraph, they got the geography on this all wrong. In the books the Kingdom of Dreams is on the mainland, but here it's on the Isle of Yew, the setting for one of L. Frank Baum's non-Oz fantasies. Oh, well, it's not like this show is striving for complete fealty to the books anyway. It was still fun. The Kingdom of Dreams reminds me of Little Nemo's Slumberland, with all the unusual but kid-friendly dream imagery. The gang as kids (or, in Dorothy's case, an even younger kid) are cute, and a fun way to show the sharp divide between the real world and Lion's dream. And you knew, the moment the Lion realized that his dream was not reality, that he would come back and deal with the monsters, even if they faked us out a little before it actually happened. Anyway, another fun episode that definitely played to its intended demographic.

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