As I watch my nephews sit in front of the TV and watch the same DVD for the 100th time or the same Netflix Scooby-Doo episode for the 5th straight time…in a row…this morning I tend to wonder how I ever became fixated on certain movies or shows when I was a kid. There were no DVDs, DVRs, or streaming movies…hell, there weren’t even VCRs yet. Taking Star Wars as an example, I saw the original movie in the theater once when I was 6 years old and I don’t even remember when I saw it for the second time. But I did know every character, every scene and every line from the movie. I had every action figure, every vehicle and my life was pretty much Star Wars themed. This obsession with Star Wars was without being to watch it over and over and without memorizing every scene by heart in the process.
I remember having comic books and records (Yes, records) about Star Wars that I would read and listen to over and over and I guess that is about the same thing. But I can’t imagine my nephews getting to the same obsessive point about a particular story by just reading a comic or listening to a record. I really do believe that they couldn’t get so wrapped up in Star Wars if they didn’t get to watch the movies over and over again.
Wizard of Oz was another of those obsessions when I was a kid. Back then the movie was shown once a year on TV. I remember that it was a big deal for my family as we would all be gathered around the TV to watch Dorothy and her brainless, heartless and gutless friends battle it out with the Wicked Witch. There was no rewinding to watch a great scene over and over. We just watched the movie from start to finish and then it was over until next year. But I still loved that movie and I still know every word to every song.
I really do think it was the Wizard of Oz that started my love for fables and fairy tales. I have always been in love with any kind of mythology and stories that build their own have always been some of my favorites. Of course we all know that Tolkien created his own mythology. Gaiman did it with his still unsurpassed Sandman series. JJ Abrams did it with Lost. Willingham is still doing it with his Fables series. And Baum did it with his Oz stories.
It is the mark of a great story when you see if being retold or re-imagined over and over. The Wizard is one of those stories that has been done countless times..some of them really good and some of them really, really bad (I am talking about you Sci-Fi channel and your stupid Tin Man).
The movie below is one of the good ones. It is the back-story of the Tin Man and it is just about perfectly done. The Tin Woodsman without a heart is a tale of sadness and lost love and is probably what has always drawn me to the poor guy. This short film captures the essence of the Tin Man perfectly. Oh…and I love his badass Steampunk look too.
Check it out. I have already watched it a few times and I think I will watch it a few more…. I think my nephews and I aren’t that much different at all.