Utah State Representative Joel Briscoe on OZ and BANNED

Joel Briscoe (D), a former educator, represents District 25 in the Utah State House of Representatives.

Before Judy Garland’s Technicolor trip down the yellow brick road there was the book THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, published in Chicago in May, 1900.  As wonderful as it is to see great stories on the big screen, as in all fiction-to-film translations, something had to be lost.  There was not room in the film to tell the story of the Queen of the Field Mice, or to visit Glinda’s palace in the Quadling Country, or meet Mr. Joker or the Hammer-Heads.

Obviously my parents did not believe that L. Frank Baum’s book would have an “ungodly” influence on me as a boy, nor would they have agreed with the city of Chicago which banned THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ from all city libraries in 1928.  Santayana would not be surprised that more recently Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson tried to prevent the movie from being broadcast on public television because of “moral turpitude.”

Does OZ promote ‘godless supernaturalism’ and undermine long-standing gender roles by depicting women in strong leadership roles, or, in the words of Professor Russel B. Nye, does it send a message “that love, kindness and unselfishness make the world a better place.”?

I hope you will join with me on May 3 for Plan-B Theatre Company’s AND THE BANNED PLAYED ON as I read from the American classic for all ages, The WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ.

Click here for tickets and info.


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