Opening in theaters is “Oz the Great and Powerful,” based on the writings of L. Frank Baum and constituting an unofficial prequel to the beloved Judy Garland film. The “Wizard of Oz” is the subject of a chapter in my new book “Hollywood Myths.” Following are some fun facts I learned about that 1939 classic.
No movie is more mythic — or the source of more muddled information — than “The Wizard of Oz.”
As with “It’s a Wonderful Life,” television turned “The Wizard of Oz” into a beloved classic. It first aired, on CBS, in 1956. Although most people did not have color televisions to fully appreciate the Oz sequences, the broadcast was watched by an estimated 45 million viewers. The annual broadcast was a Christmas-season tradition until 1967, then it rotated through various holidays and networks for another 30 years.
Between theaters, television and home video, “The Wizard of Oz” is believed to be the most watched film in history.