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07 March


Monkey Master, Wicked Witch of The West and Dorothy

Monkey Master, Wicked Witch of The West
and Dorothy

For those of my generation, the TV generation, The Wizard of Oz brings both enormous glee and shutters down our spines.

This year, some 64 years after its original release there are two, OZ movies coming to a theater near you.

YES. The flying monkeys are returning to frighten another generation, (or, perhaps not), scaring the wits out of children for the rest of their movie-monkey minds forever.

Instilling, permanently, an irrational fear of anything monkey. What was this monkey-phobia phenomenon?

Being the official researcher of nonsense, I did an impromptu survey, recently while I was in the nail salon soaking my tender-tootsies. This seemed like an excellent bastion of cultural customs in which to conduct an empirical study.

These were “captive” women, sitting, unable to move, as they waited for their fingernail polish to dry. My subjects were totally unable to avoid this inquisitive researcher, as I cozily, lazily sloshed in the footbath, and in the intrigue of human behavior.

How much more empirical could this data be than from a Salon of women? This was the perfect gathering place of humanity (or womankind). Every generation was represented.

Finally, I spoke. I asked one of the age-old important questions unknown and unexplainable to man for decades.

“How many of you here, are terrified of the Flying Monkey’s in the Wizard of Oz?”

Wicked Witch and Her Minion

Wicked Witch and Her Minion

Suddenly, in the conversationally rich room, there occurred a stillness that was not of this world. They all stared at me.

Who asked that question, their eyes all seemed to ask? Some of the “younger women” started to laugh, and they looked at me like I was a vintage item being appraised on Antique Roadshow.

The woman sitting right next to me at the pedicure station, sharing a soak, said, “Oh, good God, just saying the words, Flying Monkeys gives me the willies. I can’t ever watch that movie! I was about six when I saw it the first time on TV. I screamed and ran out of the room when the witch sent the monkeys to go get Dorothy.”

The woman said this with the great enthusiastic excitability of someone replaying, and watching the scene in her head. “I never saw it again, no, not me,” shaking her head, whisking the monkey cobwebs out of her brain.

pinh nails OZ 19932435The younger women were amazed, semi-disinterested, slightly bored, and equally amused.  What was the issue here? Flying Monkeys?? Who would be afraid of the Monkeys?

Several of the “thirty-something” ladies spoke up, and laughed when they told us their mom’s were terrified of the monkeys in OZ!! “My mom can’t even stand to be in the same room at Christmastime when it airs ad-nauseam.  It’s just a hoot and so ridiculous!”

This research of mine definitely wasn’t going the way I thought it would.

Everyone I knew was afraid of the monkeys. It was almost genetically required in my age group.

The “Wizard of Oz” hit the big silver screen in 1939. It was a masterpiece of its time. It is an iconic classic of filmmaking, creativity, and innovation.

The Baby Boomers, Children of The Television era, and all of us who now feel “ageless,” yet, somehow now are in an aging community, grew up with a fanaticism to TV.  It was our Mother’s milk.

We breathed in everything from this strange little box that brought us wonders of the world. Every cool Cowboy and Indian, a Flying Nun, Lassie, Spin and Marty, Howdy Doody with Buffalo Bob Smith. We would rush home as fast as our stubby legs could get us home – or Mother’s carpool could drive us safely.

The television both thrilled us to the core with our favorite daily serials, along with spectacular movie-house movies. We gathered sitting in our living rooms as the magic came out of that wood-like box the size of a Studebaker.

Along came to television, the fantasy and adventure of The Wizard of Oz, with its gloriously bright and mesmerizing yellow brick road.  One of the real reasons Oz is famous – or infamous — are the countless generations of children who were scared out of their skins by The Flying Monkeys.  Including, to this day, dear reader, this author.

Yes, We were terrified by those bell-hopped suited monkeys who scared us into loud squeals, closing our eyes as The Wicked Witch Of The West sends them flying into the night to get Dorothy.

Moon flying-monkeys1Still a television-addicted fanatic, I saw the coming attraction this week for one of the new 21st Century Oz movies.

As it began, I said to my beloved husband, Arnie, “I wonder if the flying monkeys will be in this one?”

Then it happened! The action on the screen in the preview, cut to another scene, and there they were!!!

Oh, No, Not The Flying Monkeys!!!

Suddenly, I needed a cookie from the kitchen, got up and left the room.






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