Today in Gay History: 'The Wizard of Oz' Was Released

8.16.2013

By Jerry Portwood

The year was 1939, and Judy Garland's legend was cemented 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'

Most of us came to know Dorothy and her gang on TV, but the 1939 premiere of The Wizard of Oz, a cinematic event that shaped so many lives and altered pop culture forever, took place 74 years ago this week (there were several actual screenings in Los Angeles and New York and for test audiences). Of course we now know about the Friends of Dorothy, now, but did anyone know then that the story of a marginalized youth who finds friends and the meaning of creating one's own family and finding her way back home? 

Whether you relate to the ingenue Dorothy, starring an ingenue Judy Garland in her most iconic role ever, or you think of yourself as a Cowardly Lion, a Scarecrow (was he the original twink?), a Tin Man in need of a heart, or Toto, it's been a story that has inspired millions (thank Gregory Maguire for his own original retelling in and the blockbuster Broadway adaptation that has inspired a whole new generation) and will continue to do so for generations to come.

RELATED: What's the Gayest Oz of All?

Of course, this year saw the release of an updated version starring James Franco as the Wizard, but without a captivating star like Judy, it didn't seem to wow audiences. Next up? With the 75th anniversary planned for 2014, there's already a plan to re-release a 3D version in cinemas. Will you be there?

Watch one of our favorite scenes, when the Wicked Witch puts everyone asleep with poppies, below:

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