TOUR AMERICA 2022, SMOKY HILL RV PARK, JUNCTION CITY, KS

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Temperature 67 Degrees, Moderate Winds, Abundant Sunshine, Clear Blue Skies

Welcome to Oz

We had come here for one reason, and that reason we fulfilled yesterday. That reason being a trip to The Oz Museum. Yet, as is so often the case once we got here we found so much more to do, more than time would permit. I also found one more museum in particular that I wanted to visit but it is temporally closed. Maybe someday in the future we will return.

So, without further ado let’s go to OZ. We honestly had no idea what the museum would be like. Would it be just a hole in the wall? Would it be a why bother trip? Well, let me say how pleasantly surprised and thrilled we were when we actually arrived. It is located on Wamego’s main street in-between two other stores. Wandering through the museum proved to be a truly wonderful way to spend an afternoon. If you are a fan of the Wizard of Oz you absolutely owe it to yourself to put a trip here on your bucket list. Now, a few facts about the museum:

the museum showcases the collection of a Wamego native, hence its location

the current collection features over 2000 items, considered to be of the most extensive in existence

new items are donated to the museum on a regular basis hence the exhibits are constantly refreshed

the museum honors over 100 years of Oz history

the museum opened its doors in 2004

Step in the front door and look who is there to greet you, complete with his new heart!

Time, indeed, to go find the Wizard.

Let’s meet the author.

Here is what we learned about him:

before he authored the Wizard of Oz he worked as actor, playwright, journalist, chicken breeder, axle lubricant merchandiser, and traveling salesman

he was famous for creating fairy tales to amuse his four sons and the neighborhood children

some of the stories he told his sons were set in a magical land filled with adventure. When they asked him the name of this land, it is said he happened to look over at his file cabinet, saw the letters O to Z, and replied it is the land of OZ

his mother in law encouraged him to write his fairy tales down and have them published. So, together with an illustrator by the name of W.W. Denslow they worked together to develop the new story and its characters.

they considered many titles for the book, for instance, From Kansas to Fairy Land, The Emerald City, and The Land of Oz. They finally settled on the title we know today The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Title settled on, book completed, they could not find one interested publisher and so finally published the initial book using their own money.

to date The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has sold tens of millions of copies and remains one of the top selling books of the twentieth century.

Just think, it all began with a simple story meant to amuse his sons!

After The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published Baum received countless letters from children wanting to read more about his magical land. During his lifetime he authored several more books. However, the books didn’t stop after his passing.

OK, time to move along since we have so much more to share.

After the first book Baum and Denslow disagreed on royalties and so parted ways. John R. Neil stepped in as illustrator for the second and subsequent books. Shown here are 24 color illustrations by Neil.

Let’s talk about the MGM movie that came from the book.

the total cost of producing, releasing, and promoting the movie topped out at an unheard of sum at that time of over three million dollars

while the book took place in a land of adventure, the movie became just a dream since it was thought that this would appeal more to an adult audience

Buddy Ebsen was originally cast as the tin man but left after becoming sick from inhaling his silver powder make-up. It evolved into a silver paste when Jack Haley took over the role

some of the early and abandoned characters for the movie included a prince and princess; a woodpecker who would ruin the exit of the professor by popping his balloon

the ruby red slippers were originally silver but came across in color as black and white so they were changed to the color we know of today

Quick question – who was the producers first choice for Dorothy in the MGM movie? If you answered Shirley Temple you were right! But she turned it down. However, though Judy Garland was finally chosen it is said that they worked hard to create an acceptable appearance for her. They began by trying to make her look like Shirley Temple but then she was given a much more believable appearance as a midwestern small-town girl that she really was.

And what have we here? If you answered Munchkins you were right!

There is still so much more to see, too much for one blog. Let me try and highlight some of the exhibits. Enough, hopefully to peek your interest in going to visit the museum yourself.

I wonder where we will end up?

OK, come quickly now. Outside the museum and across the street we go to the

And does anyone know where Baum got the idea for the Emerald City? The Glorious White City known as the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.

Oh, there is so much more to see at the museum. But time does not permit. So let me say it again, do go and see it for yourself for I know you’ll be just as amazed and delighted as we were with what the museum has to offer.

Thanks again for stopping by today  It’s always great to be able to share our story with others. Comments? Feel free to share them with me. And always remember, cherish each day that God gives you and live it to the fullest.

Our continuing mission remains the same: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before

4 thoughts on “TOUR AMERICA 2022, SMOKY HILL RV PARK, JUNCTION CITY, KS

  1. So glad you enjoyed this museum! It will definitely be added to our bucket list. I remember how we’d plan our day around the t.v. schedule. If this movie was to be broadcast, that was the deal of the day. I always liked the scarecrow the best. A couple years ago, I read “Finding Dorothy.” This was an excellent book.

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  2. Now, this is a museum I wouldn’t mind seeing! When I was a kid I would hide behind my daddy’s recliner while I watched the movie. The wicked witch of the West terrified me!

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