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