Consider the Late Mr. & Mrs. Gale…

What happened to that girl in the building who gave you the cold shoulder for no reason?

Whenever we cross paths, she just glares at me. I usually step aside and look to the floor. Fortunately, she keeps to herself. I rarely see her at all.

Next time she glares at you, why not pretend she has heat vision?  Just scream and pretend to melt.  You could even lament, "What a world, what a world!"

Speaking of the Wicked Witch of the West, I just finished reading Baum’s book. Other than being a good title, I don’t know why it’s called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Wizard has very little to do with the story. Anyway, I read it because I recently sat through a high school production (largely adopted from the MGM feature film). The early Kansas scenes dragged on a bit, unlike the novel—where, from beginning to end, Dorothy is in Kansas for less than five quick pages. But as I watched this school production, something occurred to me… 

What happened to Dorothy’s mother and father? Might there be a compelling story about how Dorothy ended up in Kansas? Could this be the basis for a dark prequel? 

In a subsequent novel, Baum reveals that Dorothy’s mother is dead. Based on what little I’ve read about Baum’s work, he never mentions Dorothy’s father. There is a well-established orphan trope, of course (e.g. Cinderella, Annie, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter).

But what if—long before a cyclone swept Dorothy away to Oz—she suffered hallucinations? What if the child’s chronic phantasmagoria somehow caused the death of her mother? Perhaps life in the big city had simply overwhelmed the fragile little girl. Driven to despair, Mr. Gale then sent his troubled daughter to the comparatively placid country, where her stolid Aunt Em and staid Uncle Henry farmed the land.

Alas, while Baum’s Dorothy is in the public domain, MGM’s Dorothy remains under copyright for a few more decades. Further, Baum’s Dorothy does not reimagine relatives, farmhands, and teachers as scarecrows, tin woodsmen, cowardly lions, witches, munchkins, or as anything else.

I fully expect you to write your Oz prequel. Why were you attending a high school production of The Wizard of Oz?  Did you know someone in the cast, or were you just starved for entertainment?

A niece of mine played the Mayor of Munchkinland, among other bit parts. I fully expect never to write my Oz prequel. Had Arthur Fleck been a ten year old girl living at the end of the 19th century, my prequel would essentially be Joker. 

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