It's Pride Week in Chicago, so what better time to start a two-part ( or possibly a three-part ) Pretzel Logic look at one of the ultimate gay treasures? No, not 'The Ram,' but rather an obscure little movie with a title that goes something like: The Wizard of Oz.
Well Shut My Mouth
Long before Judy Garland, Toto and the rest of the gang made the picture that became a major part of gay culture, there were silent versions of The Wizard of Oz. They were made in 1908, 1910 ( exact title being: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ) , 1921, and 1925. In addition, there were several other silent Oz movies ( including, but not necessarily limited to: Dorothy and the Scarecrow in Oz; and The Land of Oz ( both made in 1910 ) ; as well as The Patchwork Girl of O; His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz; and The Magic Cloak of Oz, all made in 1914. )
Gotta Love That Big Load Of 'Semon'
The 1925 silent version of the movie was directed by a guy named Larry Semon, who also played the characters of the storyteller, the skinny farmhand, and the Scarecrow. Hmmm, could this be the real origin of why so many gay guys lick their lips over this story?
If Your Gonna Have 'Semon' Who Need To Get 'Hardy' First
Oliver Hardy ( later of Laurel and Hardy fame ) plays the roles of the heavyset farmhand, the Tin Woodsman, and the Knight of the Garter.
Dorothy Does Dorothy
The name of the actress who played Dorothy in the 1925 movie was Dorothy Dwan.
But Not Your Little Dog, Too
There is no Toto in the 1925 version.
Which Witch? What Witch?
There are also no witches, good, wicked, or otherwise, in this version.
The Wizard Of Obviousness
The 1925 movie includes 'bad guy' characters with the names Prime Minister Kruel, and his assistants Lady Vishuss and Ambassador Wikked, as well as the good guy, Prince Kynd.
I Guess This Is Where All That 'Semon' Came From
Early in the 1925 version, in describing how the inhabitants of Oz were upset by the usurping Prime Minister Kruel, one intertitle ( the text between scenes in silent movies ) states 'Kruel's actions were arousing the townsfolk of Oz.'
Was George W. Bush Part Of This Movie?
In a 'You're doing a great job, Brownie' moment, Prime Minister Kruel says in one intertitle to the Wizard, 'Do your stuff Wizzy.'
What A Drag
Prime Minister Kruel, in an attempt to distract the upset people of Oz has the seductive Phantom of the Basket do a slinky dance. The Phantom, whose costume includes a HUGE peacock feather headdress, is played by a female impersonator named Frederic Ko Vert .
What An Unkynd Thing To Say
Prince Kynd dismisses the Phantom of the Basket's dance with the words 'That's a lot of applesauce.'
G. Howe Racist
There is a watermelon-eating African-American farmhand on Uncle Henry and Aunt Em's farm who is named Snowball, and the intertitle that introduces this character credits the actor as 'G. Howe Black.'
In one scene set in Kansas, the farmhand played by Larry Semon gets hit on the head with some freshly laid chicken eggs.
A Semon-Sticky Ass
Later in that scene, Larry's character is hiding eggs in the back pockets of his overalls, but Uncle Henry sees him and kicks him in the butt.
Semon And Pricks Are A Natural Combination
Larry's farmhand character is being chased at one point, so he jumps over a fence and lands in the midst of a bunch of prickly pear cactus.
Cactus And Kansas Are A Natural Combination
It turns out that prickly pear cactus really do grow in Kansas.
Dorothy's Not A Semon Sucker
Dorothy finds a lollypop hidden in her apron pocket by Larry's farmhand character, but she hates the taste of it.
A goose spits white liquid all over the face of the farmhand played by you-know-who.
If you have any Semon puns that I might have missed, you can e-mail them to me at PretzelLogicDave@aol.com