Wizard of Oz house, Coronado, California

I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Arguably one of the greatest films ever made is The Wizard of Oz. At the end of the Twentieth Century, the American Film Institute had this to say about The Wizard of Oz:

  • #6 movie
  • #4 villain (The Wicked Witch of the West)
  • #1 song (Over The Rainbow)
  • #82 song (Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead!)
  • #4 movie quote (“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”)
  • #23 movie quote (“There’s no place like home.”)
  • #3 musical
  • #1 fantasy film

The film was a box office bust at the time of its release. It cost $2.8 million to make but only earned a little over $3 million. However, with its many re-releases, video releases, and television releases, its gross now exceeds $287 million.

The film was based upon a children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum and published in 1900. And that brings me to……….drum roll please…………

San Diego… specifically Coronado.

At 1100 Orange Avenue in Coronado is the Museum of History and Art, operated by the Coronado Historical Association:

Museum of History and Art, Coronado California

Museum of History and Art, Coronado, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Inside the Museum of History and Art is a huge display about L. Frank Baum. The question is, Why? I’m here to give you the answer.

Baum was born in Chittenango, New York, in 1856, and died in Hollywood, California, in 1919. Baum discovered San Diego, Coronado, and the Hotel del Coronado sometime in the mid-1890s. He often wintered in San Diego and actually took up residence at the Hotel del Coronado from 1904 to 1910.

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, California

Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Much of The Wizard of Oz was written while Baum was in Coronado, as were several of his Oz follow-up books:

  • The Sea Fairies
  • Sky Island
  • The Scarecrow of Oz
  • Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz
  • The Road to Oz
  • The Emerald City

Many of the locales described in his books are right here in San Diego — the sea caves and sandstone cliffs in La Jolla, the Santa Fe train station….

Baum also rented a home in Coronado on Star Park Circle, ultimately buying it:

Wizard of Oz house, Coronado, California

Wizard of Oz house, Coronado, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although it’s difficult to see in the picture, that black oblong at the right of the lower middle window is a witch, and over the front door entrance is this:

Wizard of Oz Avenue

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you go over to the Coronado Public Library at 640 Orange Avenue, there are several Wizard of Oz suspended glass panels at the entrance to the Children’s Library:

Wizard of Oz suspended glass panels, Coronado Public Library, Coronado, California

Wizard of Oz suspended glass panels, Coronado Public Library, Coronado, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wizard of Oz suspended glass panels, Coronado Public Library, Coronado, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wizard of Oz suspended glass panels, Coronado Public Library, Coronado, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wizard of Oz suspended glass panels, Coronado Public Library, Coronado, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wizard of Oz suspended glass panels, Coronado Public Library, Coronado, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now you know where Dorothy and Toto were since they weren’t in Kansas anymore….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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24 thoughts on “I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore

  1. patinaandcompany

    So very interesting. “Number 1 fantasy film”! Wow, consider the competition!

    I think the San Diego tourism board should be paying you, btw. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’m getting a real craving to visit S.D.

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  2. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    Russel,
    We just got the word that our son has reached San Diego, where he’s renting a place. Maybe he’ll turn out to have the Frank Baum experience of renting and then buying.

    We will be visiting him and his girlfriend on Oct. 16th. If you have any tkts for that week, perhaps you can let us know.

    Thanks.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      When he buys his home, Jim will be happy to represent him as his Realtor, and I, of course, will be happy to do the home inspection. Meanwhile……….

      My Zoological Society annual pass expires September 30. I usually renew well before it expires because they give discounts for early renewal. It normally comes with all sorts of goodies, such as free tickets and discounted tickets to the Zoo and the Safari Park, as well as discounted tickets to Park rides, dining, and shopping. Confirm with me around 9/30 that you will be coming and I’ll reserve them for you. Also, if you need a guide, I do play Docent for a Day for those who need one.

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  3. Maxi

    Thanks for the memory, Russel. The first movie I ever saw was The Wizard of Oz; I still love it aaaand … the witty sign on the door. Wonder what it’s like inside.
    Blessings – Maxi

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