80th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz

This year marks 80 years since The Wizards of Oz (film) was released (1939). The 1A (a favorite radio show of mine) posted this article about it today, which describes it as “the most influential film of all time.”

The Wizard of Oz holds a special place in my heart. It’s a big part of my “what made you want to be a meteorologist?” story. Like many young American kids, I sat down one day to watch it. I was HORRIFIED of the tornado, and simply could not shake the notion that one would come for me and my basement-less and stormcellar-less home in less-than-tornado-prone West Virginia.

[Here’s a fun aside from Tim Marshall about how the tornado effect was accomplished in the film. Pretty amazing for its time, and one of the most classic renditions of a tornado for the big screen.]

I’m sure I was incredibly annoying about it, always asking and pleading for a shelter plan. Instead of ignoring me, my parents and a close family friend put their heads together and decided to buy me some kids weather books. I soon had National Geographic and Weather Channel books about thunderstorms and tornadoes and learned how to not be so scared. As they say, the rest is history.

Every time I see The Wizard of Oz, I’m reminded of how I ended up here. Influential indeed. Also… my PhD adviser, Evgeni, often told me I remind him of Judy Garland’s Dorothy. If only I had that singing voice!

Some theaters are bringing the classic back in celebration. Check your local spots. Happy Anniversary to The Wizard of Oz!