A little girl lives in the middle of the great Kansas prairies with her aunt, uncle and a little dog. One day, while she is playing with her pet, she is interrupted by a fierce whirlwind. The little girl and the dog take shelter in the farmhouse, which is whisked away into the stratosphere, plopping down in a strange, alien land.
The plot of the Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum in 1900 is easily recognized. Many children read the Wizard or one of the many Oz books. And is there anyone on the planet who has not seen the 1939 movie version?
The first outing, other than in print, for the Wizard of Oz came just a few years after publication of the book. A musical extravaganza for the stage opened on Broadway on January 21, 1903, and ran for 293 performances, closing at the end of 1904. It starred pretty much forgotten performers: Anna Laughlin as Dorothy, Fred Stone as the Scarecrow and David Montgomery as the Tin Man. The Cowardly Lion was reduced to a bit part, and the Wicked Witch was completely eliminated. (Fans of the current hit musical Wicked might dispute the logic of that move.) Toto was replaced by Dorothy’s pet cow, Imogene (probably because it created work for two actors instead of one little dog). New characters included King Pastoria II and his girlfriend, Trixie Tryfle, a waitress; Cynthia Cynch, a lunatic; Sir Dashemoff Daily, the Oz poet laureate; Sir Wiley Gyle; and General Riskitt.
The main plot of the musical is King Pastoria’s attempts to wrest the throne from the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and her fellow protagonists become fugitives searching for the Wizard. The music is pretty much forgotten as well. Such tunes as “Just a Simple Girl from the Prairie” and “Budweiser’s a Friend of Mine” haven’t found their way into medleys with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Ready When You Are, Cecil
What About Bob?
J. R. “Bob” Dobbs (not of who killed J.R.? fame) did not make as big a splash in the religious world. Founder of the Church of the SubGenius, he died in 1984 at the hands of an assassin. (Okay, somebody probably asked who killed J.R.?) Dobbs early career was that of a salesman until on one fateful day in 1953, he saw a vision of God on a television set, inspiring him to found the religion whose motto was “Eternal Salvation — or triple your money back.” Although he died in 1984, he has come back from the dead a number of times, according to his church.
Mama eu Quero, Part 3: Deceit, the Only Recourse
She and Jorge had, just a day earlier, shared their first kiss. It was an awkward moment during which each of them was so concerned about the other’s reaction that the end result rivaled the emotional wallop of a two-cheek greeting from a forgotten aunt. But later – for Delia anyway, when she was alone – that anemic kiss blossomed into the most lyrical and sensual act of all time, superior to any kiss any time anywhere by any couple, living or dead, including even that kiss she had witnessed through the rear view mirror of Johnny Edward’s ’49 Ford, a kiss involving arms and legs as much as lips. At that time, she had realized what the real difference between the sexes was; now she knew why.
And even with the passage of time, a whole 24 hours of it, she was still giddy, certain she would swoon unless she diverted her attention. So she picked up The New York Times just to let its sophisticated but utterly meaningless words ricochet off her occupied mind. And she certainly found news fit to print – just a few sentences – not about Eisenhower or Khrushchev or DeGaulle, but about Carmen Miranda. Carmen Miranda was coming to Havana to appear at the Tropicana.
Although none would ever equal in her mind that fumbling first kiss, their kisses were now accelerating in frequency and intensity. They were no longer awkward, though sometimes clumsy, perhaps, in a frenzied sort of way. She and Jorge had whizzed past everything Delia had learned from the rear view mirror and were speeding down a highway she’d never traveled before, without the aid of a road map – or if there were a road map, it was all in Spanish. Delia, however, set the speed limit and enforced it as necessary. This she usually did by breaking into conversation.
“We must go to see Carmen Miranda,” Delia insisted as Jorge tried to calm himself.
“That place represents all that is wrong with Cuba,” answered Jorge.
“I don’t think one little nightclub can represent so much.”
“It’s not little.”
“But it’s her, Jorge. She doesn’t hurt Cuba. She loves Cuba. She loves everyone. Please, Jorge.”
“Absolutely not,” said her father.
If the Tropicana represented for Jorge all that was wrong with Cuba, it represented for her father all that was wrong with civilization. To him, the Tropicana was Sodom itself with Gomorra thrown in for good measure, and any young woman who ventured therein would be, or should be, turned to a pillar of salt or stoned by people without sin or tossed into a lion’s den. (Delia knew most of the Bible stories, but she did have a little problem with proper juxtaposition.) To Delia, the Tropicana was the Promised Land, Eden, or to edge comfortably away from the Biblical, Xanadu. Once a vast private estate, it was now Cuba’s most luxurious club, a place where partying parishioners went to worship the nightlife under starry Cuban skies.
“They drink there and they gamble there,” her father went on. “God only knows what else they do. It’s not the proper atmosphere for a child.”
“I’m not a child.”
“Nevertheless, you’re not 21, the legal age for entering such an establishment.” Delia wanted to point out that this was Havana not Dubuque, that they were probably a lot looser about such things here, but decided it would not help her cause.
“But if I can look 21and I don’t drink or gamble or do anything but watch one show, what can it hurt,” she pleaded.
“It would be breaking the law,” said her father. This was not just a convenient parental ploy; Delia’s father obeyed laws, even speed limits. “We are guests in a foreign country and it is incumbent upon us to respect that country’s laws.” For all Delia knew, twelve-year-olds could legally enter the Tropicana, but even if they could, she’d never convince her father it was so. She had but one recourse – deceit.
“Mama Eu Quero” originally appeared in the literary magazine Dandelion. It is included in Calypso, Stories of the Caribbean.