The Wizard of Oz: Witches and Trailers and Nightmares, Oh My!

As a kid, The Wicked Witch of the West scared the bejeezus out of me.

OK, honestly, she still does.

I can’t watch “The Wizard of Oz.” I couldn’t watch it as a kid without getting nightmares, and I can’t watch it today. If I even catch a glimpse of it while scrolling through the channels I sort of freak out, lest the image of that green witch or her horrendous cackle penetrate my retinas and eardrums and, therefore, my memory and, therefore, my dreams. 

For most of my adult life I thought I was alone in this fear. I mean, “The Wizard of Oz” is heralded as an American family classic. I was embarrassed about being scared of a kids’ movie. But in recent years I’ve heard from more and more people who fear green witches, flying monkeys, harmonizing munchkins, and nosy neighbors who maniacally ride their bicycles inside tornadoes.

My goal has been to shield my sons from all things “Oz” until they’re at least teenagers, but I might not make it out of the toddler years. My in-laws just bought the boys a DVD of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and guess what movie trailer precedes the Peanuts gang? It’s strategically placed right before the cartoon starts, and you can’t skip it outright; you have to fast-forward like a madman so your 3-year-old doesn’t see the pure evil and implausible weirdness that goes on over that rainbow.

All Kostyn has ever seen of the “Oz” trailer is a big green fast-talking blob, but he still mentions “the monster in Charlie Brown” on a regular basis. Because, as I’m learning, nothing gets past a preschooler. A couple nights ago we had this exchange:

“What is the monster in Charlie Brown?” he asks me.

“There is no monster in Charlie Brown, Kostyn.”

“Yes there is; it’s green. In the beginning, before the music. What is that monster?”

“It’s an ad. Ads are a little like monsters.” Heh.

“Is it scary?”

“No, it’s not scary,” I lie. (At this stage I don’t really want him to know that his mommy is afraid of anything. Also, I don’t want him to know his mommy is afraid of a harmless actress with green paint on her face.)

“Can we watch an ad?”

“Well sometimes we have no choice; but ads are not scary,” — lie! — “and they’re not really real. They’re just these funny little things that we ignore.”

“Can we watch the green ad?”


“But why not?!”

“Because Mommy doesn’t like that one.”

“But Kostyn likes that one.”

“You’ve never seen it!”

“I’ve seen it a little bit,” he says, pinching his index finger and thumb together.

“Well a little bit is all you need to see,” I say. (“Put ’em up, put ’em up!”)

My voice sounded authoritative enough to end the conversation there. But I swear the only lingering voice in my head was hers.
“I’ll get you, my pretty! You and your little preschooler, too!”


Sheila said...

Yeah, but is "Oz" as scary as "The Polar Express"??

Rachel said...

I too was scared of the Wizard of Oz as a cbild. Oddly my 2 1/2 year loves it and can't get enough of it.

Lyn said...

Believe are not alone! I still get a little shaky when those monkeys show up...