Spare me, Lord, from the Munchkins

Saturday night, TBS showed "The Wizard of Oz," one of the all-time acknowledged film classics.  I've always thought it was a fine film, nicely acted and filmed, although I wouldn't place it among my top ten favorites.  Some folks have taken "The Wizard of Oz" and interpreted it as an allegory for political reform (see for a decent overview).  The movie was just a movie in my estimation.  It went through four directors, and Buddy Ebsen almost died playing the Tin Man, before he was replaced by Jack Haley, so it was achievement enough just getting the sumbitch on the screen, much less assembling a veiled political agenda. 

Another fabulous interpretation of "The Wizard of Oz" doubtless came from the oft misunderstood resource known as "stoned college kids."  One of these bonghit-addled geniuses somehow discovered that if you start Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" as the MGM lion roars the third time, that some pretty bitchin' coincidences arise between film and music. (  Admittedly, I've never tried this–I heard about it after my pot smoking career ended–but no dope-crazed Floyd/Oz meshing could affect me as much as the film did tonight.

I realized that hell, for me, would be Munchkinland.  Beyond the oversaturated colors, glaring light, and alarming lack of pollution, the Munchkins themselves scare the shit out of me.

I should point out that I'm a bachelor, and that I've never reproduced.  Many of the women I've dated over the years have had kids, and I've generally managed to achieve a pleasant enough detente with them.  The smallest of them, though, freaked me out, just because they're so low to the ground and move so quickly.  I'm six-five, with all the grace and balance of a crumbling building.  Having these Munchkins running around below my center of gravity? No, thanks.  And their creepy, screechy voices speaking in cheerily inane rhymes? Sorry.  I would tell the Lollipop Guild and the Lullaby League to get the hell off my lawn. 

"We thank you oh, so sweetly,
 For mushing her discreetly;
 And doing it so neatly,
 While killing her completely."

I'd flip a cigarette butt into that annoyingly clean creek.

"Now listen here, dear munchkins;
 I have myself a hunchkins,
 If you don't bring me lunchkins
 Soon, I'll smack you all with punchkins."

"Bring me a case of Maker's Mark, a carton of Marlboro's, a nice cold cut platter, some fresh onion rolls, a variety of narcotic painkillers, a Dark Side of the Moon cd, and Glinda the Good Witch's panties, or I'll fly this damn house again, and start dropping it on your families."
"Oh, and Wicked Witch of the West? You want the ruby slippers? It'll cost you a plasma screen TV.  Then just rig-up my cable and Internet service, and the damn things are yours.  They wouldn't fit my mutant size fifteen feet anyway."

One other thing struck me: the Wicked Witch of the West had quite an army working for her.  Does she pay them all? Do they get benefits? Is there a WWW company store where they can buy boot polish and mustache wax and candy bars? Did she sew the uniforms themselves? If she could run an entire batallion of minions, then why couldn't she develop a raincoat? If she melts when water hits her, are we to assume she's never bathed? Maybe her skin wasn't green by design, but due to mold.  And can she drink water? If so, how? And if not, does she pee green dust?

Did I mention that I used to frighten my parents with some of my questions?

Puddin's four year-old, Captain Chaos, was freaking out once because a giant moth was flying at him.  The child was traumatized.  So she tells me to fix the problem and hands him the phone.  I asked him if he was afraid of butterflies, and he sniffled that he wasn't.  I then told him that moths are simply ugly butterflies, and they come out at night because they're so ashamed of not being pretty. 

Amazingly, it worked.  And in the pantheon of lies I've told to stop a kid from crying, that one's pretty tame  (both moths and butterflies are in order Lepidoptera (God bless you, Sol M, lunatic biology teacher)).

Sol M would be played in the movie by Ernest Borgnine; his chemistry teacher wife by Julie Andrews. 

Following "The Wizard of Oz," TBS segued immediately into "Herbie Fully Loaded." 

I couldn't make this up: in the opening credits, we see Herbie, the Volkswagen race car, weaving in and out of traffic, then passing a line of cars on the shoulder.  As this happens, the credits flash the star's name: Lindsay Lohan.

Fantastic.  Of course, Lindsay would never drive erratically without a damn good reason. 

"See, officer, I was just doing research for a film."
"What film would cause you to weave like that?"
"I was doing bonghits, blasting Pink Floyd, and trying to see if it synched up with the `Wizard of Oz' dvd."
"I see.  And what about this gram of cocaine we found in your car?"
"Oh, the Cowardly Lion must've dropped his baggie of Columbian Courage."

And POUF! She's off to see the wizard.

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3 Responses to “Spare me, Lord, from the Munchkins”

  1. Hmm… As a mom, I'm kind of horrified by your "only the beautiful get to come out into the light" logic in the moth story. Also? You're quite tall with big feet. Sometimes I can't help but state the obvious.Munchkin land was always my favorite part of the movie, but it's been quite awhile since I've watched it.

  2. I admit my moth-as-ashamed-ugly-butterfly allegory wasn't out of Dr Spock (or even Mr Spock, for that matter). It was an ad lib under duress, but it worked: CC is no longer afraid of moths. Happily, he hasn't started mocking them for their shortcomings either, so maybe I did no lasting damage. As far as Munchkinland…I think what bothered me the most last night was realizing that I'd have been less freaked-out had my house crashed in the evil forest than in Munchkinland. It's sad, more than anything, that having ghouls and witches and evil minions around seems more like home to me than overly happy, brightly costumed rhyming people. I suspect I've grown a bit jaded over the years. I guess when the trees smack you enough times, you stop craving the apples.Of course, I stopped craving apples after I had the stomach flu my freshman year at Furman U, which was kind of like Munchkinland in its own way, but that's a different issue. Happy Sunday.PS: You haven't been exiled from Munchkinland have you? PPS: Or Kansas, for that matter?

  3. Darling – first thing at work… I saw this and thought of you…
    Wizard of Oz Munchkins finally get star on Walk of Fame
    LOS ANGELES (AP) – They've been following the Yellow Brick Road
    for nearly 70 years, and finally, the Munchkins have reached
    Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
    Seven of the actors who appeared in the 1939 classic, "The
    Wizard of Oz," were on hand for the honor. They arrived in a
    horse-drawn carriage and were trailed by a marching band. And there
    was a yellow carpet leading to the stage, to represent the movie's
    Yellow Brick Road.
    Eighty-eight-year old actor Mickey Carroll told the crowd, "We
    love you; you have touched our hearts." He tells The Associated
    Press they were paid 125 dollars a week while the film was being

    (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    AP-NY-11-21-07 0059EST

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