As we ready ourselves to observe the very important cultural marker of the 70th anniversary of the film, The Wizard of Oz, we should talk about the book on which the film is based. Why? First, because as you may or may not be aware, the book has some serious Chicago ties. Secondly, because references to the iconic story pop up all over the place. Even in other books.
The Wizard of Oz was not only written right here in Chicago, was first published in Chicago and was first seen by the public at a book fair taking place in Chicago. Many Baum scholars
believe the Emerald City in the novel was modeled after the 1893
World’s Fair in Chicago (“the White City”) and the novel continues to hold a presence in Chicago even now at the city’s Oz Park
(at Webster & Lincoln) and is often referenced in literature. In the instances below, the novel is references specifically by Dorothy’s famed ruby slippers:
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
“I look down to see why she is clattering and I see: ruby slippers. “They’re just like Dorothy’s!” Alba says, doing a little tap dance on the wooden floor. She taps her heels together three times, but doesn’t vanish. Of course, she’s already home.”
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
Actually, Lamb refers to the ruby slippers not once but twice: In The Hour I First Believed, a novel about Columbine High School, the shoes appear in dialogue: “Yeah, well, try clicking your ruby slippers together…” (In his She’s Come Undone, a description includes a “poster close-up of Dorothy’s powder-blue ankle socks and red ruby slippers.”)
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
“The Holy Grail of movie memorabilia. Better than the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz or the sled named ‘Rosebud’…”
Of course, there are tons of other examples. What’s your favorite?