Oconomowoc premiered "The Wizard of Oz" in 1939. They screen it Thurs night

The iconic film "The Wizard of Oz" premiered in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, of all places. On August 12, 1939, the movie's premiere took place at the Strand Theater, which sat right along Wisconsin Avenue in the heart of downtown Oconomowoc before it was torn down in the early 1950s.

The beloved story of Dorothy Gale from Kansas, whisked away to magical land with her dog Toto during a tornado and befriending a scarecrow, tin man, and a cowardly lion to find a wizard who can bring her back home, has been enjoyed by generations for 80 years in movie form, based on the 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

(Side note: I love the "alternate description" of this film: "Transported to a surreal landscape, a Kansas teen kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again." Okay, back to the story.)

To commemorate this 80th anniversary, Oconomowoc is having a festival, including a screening of the film Thursday night. You can join and explore the downtown while you're there. Something fun to do Thursday night the 15th! Find out more here.

Wizard of Oz premiere poster, Oconomowoc
Follow the yellow brick road? You can do it in Oconomowoc right now.
Eric Paulsen

Eric Paulsen

I wanted to be in radio since I was four - and four decades later I still haven't grown out of it... Read more


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