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WMG / The Wizard of Oz

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The is WMG of the movie; see Land of Oz and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for theories about the original books by Frank Baum.

Auntie Em was "too good a Christian" to tell Miss Gulch to "go to hell"
Aunt Em was going to tell Miss Gulch to go to hell after she took Toto. But a good Christian wouldn't wish that on anyone. Miss Gulch realized it, explaining her look of shock.
  • I've been watching that movie for nearly 45 years, and I always read that as Em refraining from calling Gulch a "bitch", or even "cunt". But that's just me.

Glinda is a Villain with Good Publicity who used Dorothy to seize control over the Land of Oz as her Evil Plan.
Glinda, the so-called "Good Witch of the North," clearly has weather-control powers. She summons Dorothy's house from Kansas with a tornado and drops it on the Witch of the East, killing her. Glinda then gives the Ruby Slippers to Dorothy; these slippers can teleport the wearer anywhere she wants. Naturally, Glinda refuses to disclose this information to Dorothy until the end.

The Witch of the West shows up and demands to know who murdered her sister and tries to claim her sister's slippers as her rightful property. Glinda coldly rebuffs her and threatens to kill her with another dropped house. She then sends Dorothy on an unnecessary errand to the Wizard of Oz.

The Wizard figures that Dorothy is a tool of Glinda and sends her to fight and kill a far superior opponent, hoping the Witch of the West will do her in. This fails when Dorothy's companions break into the Witch's home and murder her by accident. Glinda then causes the Wizard's balloon to go out of control and blow away, getting him out of the picture. Since we never hear from the Witch of the South, we can only assume that Glinda got rid of her some other way. This leaves Glinda as the only remaining powerful entity in all of Oz. She installs the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion as puppet rulers and sends Dorothy home. Glinda now has control over all of Oz, including the Emerald City's lucrative opium (poppy) trade. Just as Planned.

  • This theory sounds familiar. I wonder, where have I heard it before?
  • The Witch of the West was still clearly willing to kill Dorothy to get her hands on the shoes. Even if they were rightfully hers, that's a bit excessive.
    • But Glinda still knowingly set Dorothy up as her fall-girl. Whether the Witch of the West was willing to kill Dorothy or not, Dorothy wouldn't be in danger without Glinda putting her there.
  • The Plan certainly isn't perfect. According to Return to Oz, the Ruby Slippers ended up in the hands of the Nome King, who used their power to take over Oz. Presumably, Glinda was executed when the Emerald City fell. Even after Oz is restored, her secrets are concealed by the new ruler, Ozma, for her own purposes.
  • Also, where is the Witch of the South?
  • Cracked provides a pretty thorough explanation of this here.
  • Just one little thing: Dorothy murdered neither witch, accidentally or otherwise. "Accidental murder" can only come under specific circumstances, such as "felony murder" and intending to cause severe injury, doing something clearly dangerous, and inadvertently killing a person. Dorothy was inside the house being carried by the tornado, and had no control over it. (The WWoE was Too Dumb to Live, flying on her broomstick next to a tornado, cackling for all she was worth.) Dorothy's killing of the WWoW was unpredictable from a person in Dorothy's position: water caused the WWoW to melt???

Dorothy and Tin Man were in a relationship.
Despite the fact most people assumed Scarecrow/Hunk was supposedly Dorothy's love interest in the film especially as she said she will miss him most of all Tin Man was actually Dorothy's boyfriend as there are a few clues that back it up. Most of the time the gang are together Dorothy is usually seen walking or running beside Tin Man. At one point in the haunted forest before the attack of the flying monkeys Dorothy is seen holding to Tin Man's arm. During If I only had a heart Dorothy gives him a smile. And let's not forget Tin Man was sobbing over Dorothy's welfare especially when she was affected by the poppies and being held prisoner by the Witch of the West. It may be possible Dorothy had a crush on Scarecrow and tried to make him jealous however.

Oz is real; it's Dorothy's life in Kansas that was All Just a Dream.
C'mon, someone had to suggest it.
  • She briefly became lucid due to a bump on the head when her flying house malfunctioned and crashed... When she "sees" Auntie Em in the crystal ball, it's a sign that she's starting to slip back into delusion. By the time she meets the Wizard, she's already half-hallucinating and thinks she sees and hears the Wizard talk about being from "her world" and flying "back" to it. At the end of the movie, she sinks fully back into her delusional madness and becomes a ward of the Emerald City. The Slippers remain on her until her death.

Dorothy is the first incarnation of Haruhi Suzumiya
After seeing the magical land of Oz and its wonders, her soul strove for more and more supernaturality and never found rest.

Also, if there's a time lord, there must be a Haruhi as well.

Witches are not weak to water, but to houses
Forget the Weaksauce Weakness. The Witch of the East died from being hit by a house. In the land of Oz, water is made up of tiny houses, which combined to slowly churn the Witch of the West into a liquid state.
  • "Water is made of..." The internet will be presented to you in a tasteful ceremony on the steps of town hall. Now buy me a new keyboard with your fancy winnings.

The entire film is a pre-emptive allegory of World War II and its lasting effects
All of which was written by a time-traveler who worked for MGM.
  • Dorothy is America (she desires a return to the status quo), the Scarecrow is the USSR (he seeks validation of its system of government), the Tin Man is Nazi-occupied nations (struggling to regain their national character), and the Cowardly Lion is Great Britain (struggling to regain recognition of status as a world power). Toto represents American minorities (seen as a lesser force which nevertheless proves invaluable to the war effort).
  • The Wicked Witch of the East is Japan, the Wicked Witch of the West is Nazi Germany, the flying monkeys are the Luftwaffe, and the Winkie soldiers are the German people.
  • Glinda the Good is the fleeting promise of peace, the Munchkins are the people of Japan, and the Yellow Brick Road is the journey to prewar norms.
  • The house dropped on the Eastern witch is the atomic bomb, and the bucket of water thrown on the Western witch is the chain of events begun by the Normandy invasion. The ruby slippers are the prosperity and political influence offered by being a major world power.
  • The Emerald City is the dream of a post-Depression prosperous future, and the Wizard is FDR (who unintentionally abandons Dorothy/America in her time of need). The poppy field represents World War I, whose status as the "war to end all wars" lulled the major world powers into a false sense of security. (Also note Flanders Fields.)
  • The Kansas farm and all its inhabitants represent a nostalgic, sepia-tinted vision of American life before the modernized nightmare begun by WWI. The fact that Dorothy returns to it was an optimistic footnote added by the time-traveller.
    • That's a complex theory, filled with in-depth symbolism. It also depends on the idea that Japan surrendered first in WW2. As it turned out, Germany was defeated earlier.
      • The writer didn't get everything right; they might have jumped around in the time-stream a bit and gotten mixed-up. Maybe all the competent time-travelers were under contract to Warner Brothers, and Jack wouldn't lend them out. Or, even more likely, the release of the film affected the events of the war itself.
    • Partially jossed. The film is based off of a book written by L. Frank Baum in 1900. This would mean that he would have to be a time traveler as well. In addition to that, couldn't these so called "Time traveling writers" do something more useful? Like warn us in a more direct fashion?
      • Maybe he was a sociopathic jerk? Or a time travelling Nazi?
      • Or he did it as a fairy tale, because he was a writer AND a time traveller, and, after time travelling to the Victorian Times, decided kids needed decent books that were fun and entertaining to read, and also to not upset the world at the time and start WWII early, causing history to change.

Oz is real, Miss Gulch is the Wicked Witch of the East, and the shoes created the appearance of All Just a Dream
Gulch follows Dorothy but is crushed by the house. When the shoes brought Dorothy back to the real world, she fell asleep, leading to the apparent All Just a Dream ending. This also explains how Return to Oz could work and why Toto was never in any danger again.

It's all a Reaper's Game
Dorothy and her family were all killed by the twister and entered Kansas' UG. Glinda is the conductor, the Wizard is the composer and the Wicked Witch of the West is the GM. Dorothy's entry fee was her Aunt Em, the others' fees are obvious. All differences between Oz and the Shibuya UG can be chalked up to regional rule differences (which canonically exist according to the secret reports).

Oz was a matter of life and death.
Uncle Henry tells Professor Marvel at the end of the movie, "For a moment, we thought she was going to leave us!"

The brilliant Technicolor of Oz is the temptation. She may stay or she may return home to the gray dustbowl. If she returns home, she lives and recovers. If she stays in Oz, she dies.

  • To reword that, Dorothy's exposure to dust, debris, and being hit on the head almost killed her, and Oz was a near-death experience. The entire thing was either a genuine vision of the afterlife (or a hallucination of same if you think near-death experiences are all created by the brain). She saw what could be her eternal reward, which is colorful and full of adventure, unlike Kansas. But she really was dying the whole time, and if she had chosen to stay in Oz she would have died in the real world.
    • Watch Charley Grapewin's face as Dorothy tells what happened to her. This is exactly how he is playing it. He is the only one who doesn't laugh with the others, and says "Of course we believe you, Dorothy."
    It wasn't a dream. It was a place. I remember some of it wasn't very nice, but most of it was beautiful! But all the same, all I kept saying to everyone was "I want to go home," and they sent me home. Many people describe their own near-death experiences in similar terms.
    • This is the opposite of the way it is in the books, where Aunt Em does come to believe her, and Uncle Henry is the one who thinks Dorothy simply has vivid dreams.
    • I viewed Oz as the temptation, and the image of her "eternal reward" as phony —- possibly generated by her own mind, possibly otherwise. The poem "Der Erlkönig" comes to mind.
Kansas is Dorothy's first-level dream. Oz is her second-level dream.

"Professor Marvel", "Hunk", "Zeke", "Hickory", and "Miss Gulch" are a team of dream thieves who are trying to incept in her the idea that all your troubles will be easily avoided or resolved by surrounding herself with the comfortable and familiar.

By extension, the Munchkins are Dorothy's projections, and the Gatekeeper, Doorman, and the grandiose Wizard of Oz are manifestations of Professor Marvel's subconscious narcissism, which threaten the plan by trying to take over the story as the real villain. "Miss Gulch" therefore arranges to be a distraction while Marvel resolves his personal issues; by the time Dorothy and company return to the Emerald City, Marvel is back in control and managed to retcon Oz's original appearance into an intentional trick covering up an inferiority complex.

Because Dorothy isn't nearly as self-reflective as Fischer, only two levels of dreaming are needed; hence, the sedative is normal, there's no risk of Limbo ("Miss Gulch" is woken up when she melts), and there doesn't need to be a simultaneous kick in Oz to boot her back into Kansas. (The kick from Kansas is, of course, the house falling to the ground.)

The Coroner of Munchkinland has other jobs.
He examined her (the witch) as coroner, because it would be inappropriate to examine her as butcher or tanner. It's either this or one of the next two or three guesses.

  • In real life, coroners are often doctors or lawyers. The coroner is actually a/the Munchkin doctor. There's no proof that the Munchkin village comprises the entire population of Munchkinland.

Munchkinland is so idyllic even under (or perhaps because of the witch's rule) that anyone can have whatever job they want.
Segregated by sex, of course. They have a coroner not because they need a full-time coroner, but because the coroner thought it would be a cool job, and all he really has to do is kick the body and see if it kicks back, or hold a mirror under its mouth if he's feeling really thorough.

Munchkinland has an extremely high birthrate and a lot of fatal crime.
Hence why they have a full-time coroner with a population of around a hundred.

The Munchkinland Coroner's job boils down to professional skiving.
Assuming everyone is immortal in Oz no matter how dead they seem, like in the books, he's pretty much never called in. When he is called in, he either says "yep, they're dead" and that they were only mostly dead in the event of a revival, says "nope, they're not dead" in the case that the body kicks back, and "not are they only merely dead, they're really most sincerely dead" in the rare event that something he knows can't be revived from happens (like a witch getting watered) or he is better off with them Deader Than Dead and doesn't want to risk them being healed (like when a maniacal despot who made his life miserable has a house fall on her, and is incapable of kicking back because of full-body paralysis).
  • Alternately, since in the film it appears that people can actually die, the coroner's job amounts to determining how dead somebody is. Somebody who's been rendered effectively helpless but still alive is not dead. Somebody who is helpless and unresponsive but capable of revival is "merely" dead. In the Witch's case with the house, she was "most sincerely dead", meaning dead forever and incapable of being brought back.
    • Considering how some of Oz's inhabitants, like the Scarecrow and Tin Man, don't have any biological functions to speak of, determining what "death" even means for such individuals might pose quite a challenge for him in any case.

The Lollipop Guild is some kind of Confectioner's Labor Union

The Lollipop Guild is actually the Munchkin answer to the Boy Scouts. The Lullaby League is their answer to the Girl Guides. Notice how all the members seem to be kids.

The Wicked Witch of the West is related to the aliens from Signs.
It explains her greenish skin, clawed hands, and water vulnerability. She wears the big black dress to hide her chameleon powers.

The "secret 60s ending" wasn't from MGM.
  • The alleged "secret ending", according to many discussion boards including Snopes, allegedly shows the ruby slippers still on Dorothy's feet as she lies in bed. Another rumor dating from the late '40s has Dorothy saying "There's no place like home", and the camera pans down from her face to show the ruby slippers under the bed. Apparently these rumors are very convincing, to the point that people swear they saw it at least once, similar to the "I saw the baby!" claims made by people who saw Rosemary's Baby.
  • The alleged secret ending shown once, sometime in the sixties, and it wasn't just a dream.
  • The movie was first shown in 1939, so we have a three-decade gap between that and the supposed ending.
  • Why would MGM have had another ending on tape but only used it once? If it wasn't theirs. My idea is that it was made by a TV network for that one viewing. The real ending would have still been shown. (Senshi Sun)

Dorothy really is a witch.
She just doesn't know it, and so uses all her magic unconsciously. She was bored with her dull, dreary life in Kansas, so she summoned the tornado to take her to Oz. The Good Witch of the North, seeing that Dorothy has immense magical potential she's unaware of, makes a show of offering her protection to get in her good graces, while sending her to see the Wizard, the one person (she thinks) who might be able to handle this Tyke Bomb.

Along the way to the Emerald City, Dorothy gets lonely, so she brings a scarecrow and a statue made of tin to life to keep her company. And when a lion attacks them, she uses a spell to turn the great beast into a coward. And, when faced with the wrath of the Wicked Witch of the West, turns a bucket of water into a potion of dissolving in order to kill her. Again, all unintentionally. Under this theory, the silver/ruby shoes are just placebos like everyone else's gifts; Dorothy transported herself back to Kansas by her own power; she just needed Glinda to convince her she could.

  • This theory actually makes some sense when it comes to the books, as she comes into possession of a magic belt that grants wishes, and uses magical artifacts with the same ease a native Ozian would. It would also fit with TinMan, where her granddaughter (the lavender-eyed Queen) and great-granddaughters (DG and Azkedellia) are shown to have some potent magic at their disposal.
  • Plus, she misses the people she knew in Kansas so when she makes the scarecrow, tin statue and lion into her friends, she creates them to be like the hired men from her farm.
  • Dorothy therefore, would be the Good Witch of the South, a literal Angel Unaware.

There is no Witch of the South, only the Wizard.

We see a total of four practitioners of magic in the movie. Glinda in the North, the Witches of the East and West, and the Wizard of Oz. If three of the four are assigned to a specific direction, it just stands to reason that the fourth is assigned to the remaining direction. The Emerald City must be somewhere in the South. Glinda doesn't seem to know that the wizard can't do real magic, she and the other witches have accepted his Sufficiently Advanced Technology as proof of his wizardry and appointed him the magician of the south.

  • Or, the Wizard got his position by finding out the Wicked Witch of the South's Weaksauce Weakness and killing her. With a powerful 'magician' and an open position, Glinda decided to let the Wizard take the role of the Good Wizard of the South.

The house didn't kill the Wicked Witch of the East.
It was the still-dripping water intake pipes that went plumb through her body, making a slowly-dissolving wound. The socks didn't curl up because the lack of slippers made her feet dissolve; her feet were already dissolving from the inside, and the slippers just kept them shaped like feet until the removal of the slippers and the subsequent collapse of the feet. The coroner looked in the slight gap and saw the witch's body slowly dissolving under the house, which is certainly a sign of being really, most sincerely dead in witches.
  • That's certainly way more plausible than the "Oz water is made of houses" theory.

It was not just a dream
  • Even as a kid I always thought it was real.
    • Oz could be located on the Astral Plane, in which case Dorothy astrally projected there while she was unconscious—both real and a dream, as it were.

Oz really is a wizard, and encountered Dorothy in Kansas as Prof. Marvel after the events in the Land of Oz.
He felt the society built around him was limiting his potential, so he used Dorothy as an excuse to downplay his existence so he could escape to travel through space and time.

Glinda isn't purposely keeping Dorothy in Oz by not telling her about the slippers.
Glinda isn't aware of what the slippers can do; she told Dorothy that they must be powerful, or the Wicked Witch wouldn't want them. She may have a fair guess, but she doesn't know, and she doesn't want to risk WWW getting her hands on magic powerful enough to allow her sister to enslave a county/country, especially since "she's worse than the other one was".

She decides to let Dorothy hang on to them in lieu of a better plan, and then runs off to do research and figure out what they do, while keeping an eye on her. By the time she realises that the slippers can help Dorothy get home, Dorothy has already killed the WWW and has just lost her alternative ride home with the Wizard. Cue Glinda.

See? There's no reason Glinda has to be secretly evil.

Toto's fine.
After learning the true meaning of Brains, Heart, and Courage in Oz, Dorothy was emboldened to go speak to the mayor with Miss Gulch and make the case for sparing her dog. She won.

Toto's fine. Miss Gulch relented after Dorothy was injured in the Tornado
Unlike the Wicked Witches, the real life Miss Gulch isn't a monster. She's a rich spinster who (according to Aunt Em) owns half the county and, unpleasantly, likes to throw her weight around.

What happened to set her off? Dorothy's dog chases Miss Gulch's cat (a spinster's favourite companion) in Miss Gulch's own yard. Then, Toto bites Miss Gulch. Miss Gulch is legally in the right, and being a none-too-nice woman, decides to avenge herself and her cat. So she visits the Gales, and is completely immune to Dorothy's pleas. Right? Wrong!

Miss Gulch isn't cackling with glee. She's showing hard, cold, stubbornness. She's shocked when Aunt Em insults her. Later, when she's cycling home, she's not happy. It's more a look of grim determination. Her conscience's bothering her, but she's too stubborn to relent.

Miss Gulch left way before Dorothy. There's no reason to suggest she would have been fool enough to go out in the storm after she discovered Toto's escape. But she would have heard that Dorothy suffered a concussion and was knocked unconscious. That's enough to have her relent. Getting even with a biting dog is one thing. But to raise your hand against a girl who has very nearly died?

Either she sends a letter outright, wishing Dorothy well and saying that she didn't want Toto destroyed. Or, she pretends to forget about the matter entirely - and never again goes after the dog.

Toto's fine. Miss Gulch was killed in the tornado and is no longer a threat.

Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Lion are the Three Stooges
Scarecrow= Moe (I know the analogy isn't perfect, but this IS WMG), Tin Man= Larry (even sounds a little like him during the "March of the Winkies" scene), Lion= Curly (as the dumb muscle of the team.) Lacking a proper foil, they crossed franchises and imported Margaret Dumont as Dorothy, who understands them even less than she understood Groucho, Chico and Harpo.

Miss Gulch died
She isn't seen or heard of after Dorothy awakens and she's obviously based on the Witch of the West who died in Oz. Not sure if this even counts as a WMG, as it's also suggested by the website.

The Tin Man is a crossover character...
... from the fantasy film that popularized the genre and made WoO possible. Don't believe me? Pay close attention to his introductory song. "Picture me, a balcony, above a voice sings low," and then a female voice chimes in, "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?" This would be fairly insignificant, save for the fact that that actress is the same that played Snow White a few years earlier. Even further, this vocal cameo was deliberately written for her; it even says "Snow White's Voice" in the script. Now, what character in Snow White had a connection with hearts? The Huntsman. Think about the Tin Man's backstory from the novel: he was in love with the Wicked Witch of the East's servant girl, so the Witch placed a spell on him to "accidentally" hack off his own limbs one by one. They were each replaced with tin, but the tinsmith forgot his heart. Could it not be that the Queen is this witch, he was in love with Snow White, which is why he allowed her to live, and his punishment (which is clearly implied to be grave, but is never revealed) is exactly this? Now, this does run into some issues when one considers that WWE (pun not intended) died under a house falling out of the sky, and the Queen is implied to be crushed by a boulder. One could surmise that she magicked the large stick she had into a broomstick and flew out of the path of the boulder, only to be caught immediately into the tornado, where she met the house. It doesn't really matter. However, the fact that both happen in the midst of a storm is certainly noteworthy.

Prof. Marvel's horse Sylvester is the Kansas counterpart of the Horse of a Different Color

Well, Frank Morgan does play both Marvel and the Coachman.

The Wicked Witch of the West was a Magic User Girl

She is an AA+ witch who physically damaged her harness after attempting to modify it. To an extent she was successful, as she no longer needs a pill every 30-35 hours and can use her magic to her heart's content. However, it altered her biology to give her green skin, and if she gets the harness's circuitry wet, it will malfunction and eject.

Dorothy's teacher looked a lot like Glinda

In the first scene, Dorothy is coming home from school. Miss Good is the local schoolmarm who runs a one room schoolhouse, meaning she teaches Dorothy American history while also teaching first graders their ABC's. It's a job that requires brains, a heart and courage. She's a kind teacher who encourages her students to learn things for themselves. At one point, Miss Gulch tried to interrupt Miss Good's class to scold Dorothy over something Toto did. Miss Good told Miss Gulch that she had no power in her classroom and should be off immediately. Even Miss Gulch knows not to tangle with Miss Good.

  • Brilliant, I love it! Glinda definitely needed a counterpart.

It wasn't the Witch of the West Dorothy saw on her broomstick

It seems rather odd that the Witch of the West would happen to be flying around the very tornado that was about to kill her sister, and yet did nothing to prevent it (unless of course she wanted her dead so she could get the slippers, and letting the house fall on her was the only safe way she had to get rid of her...). Anyway, so barring that, the explanation for what Dorothy saw, of course, is that the Witches of the East and West were twin sisters. Miss Gulch became her because Dorothy's mind made the connection in appearance and the Witch of the East happened to be the one her house encountered first (and we never saw her feet so she could well have been wearing striped socks—plus Kansas and Oz clothes didn't correlate anyway). So it was because the Witch of the East was flying in/near the tornado when it came to Oz that she was in the right place to get crushed by the house. This would also explain why the Munchkins (who presumably had never seen the Witch of the West before) would be so frightened of her, since she looked just like the tyrant whose death they'd just been celebrating.

  • Strongly supported by the lyrics: "Just then, the Witch, to satisfy an itch, went flying on her broomstick, thumbing for a hitch—and oh, what happened then was rich!"

The Witch of the South is Dorothy's "Oz Counterpart".
Hey, if Professor Marvel, Hunk, Zeke, Hickory, and Miss Gulch have "Oz Counterparts", why not Dorothy herself? Plus, it would explain why the people of Oz think Dorothy is a witch when they first see her-they mistake her for a different (real) witch.

If the Good Witch of the North had been a separate character as in the book...
...she would have been played by Clara Blandick (Aunt Em).

The Wicked Witch Is A Winkie Like Her Guards
  • Hence her green skin and big hooked nose.

Oz is hyper-real
  • Oz is at a "higher level of reality," as theorized by Timothy Leary, and Dorothy is there in a lucid dream from a very precise head injury. The Oz characters look like people she knows not because they're part of the dream, but because each of them is the Higher Truth or Realer Self of that Kansan. This is what kills Miss Gulch — the Witch is Gulch's shriveled soul, and destroying it destroys her. (This is true of Toto, too. It's the hyper-real Toto that accompanies her in Oz while the real Toto remains on Earth. A domesticated dog is enough of a person to have a soul, and a dog is honest about itself so its soul and body look the same.)

Yes, this does mean one could perform very efficient assassinations by traveling to Oz and murdering the Ozite corresponding to your target. Perhaps this is what Professor Marvel is working on; if he's a government agent it would explain both his behavior, oddly responsible and compassionate for a criminal, and the prominence of his soul-self in Oz.


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