The Man Behind the Curtain

The Emerald City.  The cowardly lion.  Munchkins galore.  Who doesn’t love the classic film, The Wizard of Oz?  Well, for one, I don’t.  The flying monkeys alone freaked me out well into my grade school years.  And the witch?  Don’t even get me started on her.   I’m still having nightmares about the green-skinned Margaret Hamilton.      

Yet, as much as this movie scared me as a kid, it’s definitely memorable.  There’s one classic scene toward the end that always sticks in my head.  It’s the one where Dorothy presents the wizard with the broomstick of the vanquished witch.  

Remember how the wizard reacts?  The fearsome Oz is less than impressed.  Instead of giving Dorothy her promised reward, the wizard sends her away. 

“Come back to tomorrow,” he says, “while I consider this matter.”

When Dorothy protests, the floating head answers her with plumes of fire and smoke.  His thunderous voice bellows, “Do not arouse the wrath of the great and powerful Oz!”

Just when all seems lost, the ever-faithful Toto senses that something more is going on here, and follows his nose to the curtained booth in the corner.  He tugs back the drape to reveal a lame little man in a machine pretending to be the wonderful wizard of Oz. 

Frantically, he yells into his microphone trying to save face.  “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”  But it’s too late.  The emerald jig is up.  Once the curtain has been opened, there’s no going back. 

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