The state of New York has been the birthplace of a host of famous names through the years, but few could claim to have had an impact on pop culture in the way that L Frank Baum has.
Born in Chittenango, he is of course best known for his books set in the wonderful world of Oz – a series which has grown to become iconic in a number of ways.
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) August 14, 2019
A multimedia success
As GoodReads outlines, Baum wrote 14 books based in the famous setting with his creations notably going on to have significant success in other mediums. Biography.com explains that the author was directly involved in the making of a stage musical based on his stories, with The Wizard of Oz having success on Broadway before then going on to tour across the country.
However, he did not live to see the renowned 1939 movie adaptation of his work, which is arguably the version of the stories that most people know the best. Starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, the big screen outing is now regarded by many as an absolute classic of cinema, with everything from its songs and script to the characters becoming indelibly etched on popular culture.
The legacy of the movie simply cannot be understated and it is perhaps best highlighted by the fact that it has lived on in so many ways through the years. The musical Wicked was a major success, with it giving a new twist on the story that many people know and love. A video game based on The Wizard of Oz was also released back in the 1990s, while in more recent years Zynga has created a matching puzzle game for mobile which features themes from the movie. It has even had an impact in the world of online casinos, with Vegas Slots Online revealing how it has become the basis of a video slot game created by WMS too.
Considering the significant impact that The Wizard of Oz has had on popular culture, it is only right that New York State spends time reflecting on and celebrating the creation from one its famous sons. But what are the most notable ways that the region marks the importance of Baum’s creations?
Probably the most famous is Oztravaganza, which is held in Chittenango annually and celebrates the impact that Oz has had all over the world. As the official website explains, the event’s roots go back to the late 1970s and over the years it has grown massively to become a multi-day event organized by the non-profit, volunteer-led body the International L Frank Baum & All Things Oz Historical Foundation. The festival has featured an array of special guests with links to Oz, while there is also a parade which takes place through the local area. Understandably, participants tend to be dressed up as their favorite Oz characters as they wander along the road.
The organization also has a hand in one of the other key ways that New York State celebrates the works of Baum too. As its site highlights, the All Things Oz Museum in Chittenango features a host of memorabilia and information related to the creation of the books and their subsequent popularity. And Fingerlakes Mall itself has been known to join the Oz festivities, hosting an “Adventures of Oz” day in celebration and commemoration of the movie’s 1939 release back in 2017.
A remarkable impact
L Frank Baum’s books have gone on to have a truly remarkable impact on people across the world, while their effect on popular culture is simply undeniable.
The state of New York is clearly proud of its association with the author and it makes sense that it would celebrate his works in a couple of different ways. The Oz books are timeless classics and are sure to remain popular for many years to come.