By Jan Boston Sellers
Two pop culture icons are celebrating milestones this year: Mattel’s Barbie doll and the movie The Wizard of Oz. Barbie turns 55, and Oz is 75. Ironically, they are my two childhood favorites.
Barbie isn’t much older than me. She came onto the scene a year before I did. Unfortunately, she has aged much better than I have and has been uber successful. She has accumulated a massive fortune, has an haute couture wardrobe, numerous houses and several cars. She has worked as a dentist, veterinarian, flight attendant, doctor, dancer, Spanish and yoga teacher; had a military career; served as a firefighter, bus driver, model, cheerleader and movie/pop star; worked as a paleontologist; and even did a stint as a United States president.
I have very fond memories of my Barbie doll years. I still have my very first Barbie Doll and a few accoutrements. My wish list each Christmas until asking for a Barbie would have seemed, well, weird, always included a Barbie and outfits. Or her latest digs or car. I could play for hours with her clothing and was always thrilled when new wardrobe items arrived either from my mom or aunts’ sewing machine or from her ready to wear or couture lines. I had closets full of Barbie clothes (her closets), shoes and accessories. I remember being devastated when I realized I was getting too old for Barbie play.
Running consecutively with Barbie was my very, very favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz. When I was growing up, you didn’t have immediate access to the movie via television, DVD or Netflix. You had to wait until it came on television once a year. I would see a commercial for its upcoming air date and anticipate its television appearance weeks and days in advance. My parents and, I am sure, my siblings often kept their fingers crossed that I wouldn’t notice it was airing.
Afterwards, of course, I was singing every song, asking my siblings to play the Tin Man, Scarecrow or Lion, while I, of course, was cast in the leading role of Dorothy and skipped relentlessly down the yellow brick road. This continued until everyone, but me, tired of the entire Wizard of Oz thing. As of this very day, it is still my all-time favorite movie. I love the story, the musical score, the fantasy, the start, the middle and the ending. I even wrote a paper in graduate school on the symbolism utilized in the script and the characters and how good triumphs over evil. I was thrilled and sat mesmerized as pop star Pink sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” during the Oscars earlier this week.
Adding to the obsession, and my elation, has been the Broadway musical Wicked. This musical is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and centers around the Good Witch and the Bad Witch who were roommates in school. It sets up the story of The Wizard of Oz and allows spectators to see the “back-story.” This smart, clever, amazingly entertaining musical won numerous Tony Awards and catapulted the careers of Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, who landed the original roles of Glinda the Good Witch and Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West, respectively. I have seen it three times on Broadway and will soon see it for the third time on tour.
My office is all Oz/Wicked. Friends and family have added to my Oz collection with paintings, lamps, calendars, cups, photos, framed playbills, signs, figurines, eye glass holders, books and plates. Imagine my delight when my husband gave me a Wicked Witch of the West Barbie Doll complete with the requisite green face to add to my compilation. I mean, really, a Barbie doll and The Wizard of Oz? It doesn’t get much better than this!
Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead this Saturday night before you go to bed. It is time to spring forward into Daylight Savings Time. The time officially changes at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Seats are limited to the fourth annual TAD Center fund-raising fashion show. It is scheduled for Monday, March 31, at Forte's on the Square. The tickets are $20 per person and includes the show, lunch and an opportunity to bid on the silent auction items. The latest in spring fashions and accessories from Gigi’s Boutique and The Screen Door will be featured. Tickets are available at Gigi’s, The Screen Door and the TAD Center.
The TAD Center will soon be conducting a free youth baseball/softball skills competition called Pitch, Hit and Run. The program is sponsored by Major League Baseball and is for boys and girls ages 7-14. Winners of our local contest have a chance to advance through three more levels of competition, climaxing with the national finals at the 2014 MLB All Star Game in Minneapolis. The local contest will be Saturday, May 3, at Garrison Ball Park (located next to the TAD Center) beginning at 9 a.m. Call the center at 456-2859 for more information.