Tuesday, September 23, 2014

If I Only Had a Heart

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

This year marks the 75th anniversary of one of my most favorite movies, “The Wizard of Oz.” When we were kids, the Wizard of Oz was shown on TV once a year and we never missed it.

The world premiere of this Hollywood classic didn’t happen in Hollywood. It happened in the Wisconsin town of Oconomowoc in August, 1939. Many other great movies were released that year, such as Gone with the Wind and Wuthering Heights.

After investing $2.7 million in the Wizard of Oz, MGM was worried it might turn out to be a failure, so they launched it in Oconomowoc a few days before its big premieres in Los Angeles and New York City.

Meinhardt Raabe, the Munchkin Coroner who declared the wicked witch dead, was from the Oconomowoc area. The Tin Man, played by Jack Haley, traveled with Dorothy to Oz to ask the great and powerful wizard for a heart.

As we’ve traveled the backroads of Wisconsin, we’ve stumbled upon a couple of Tin Man sculptures, which have delighted us and reminded us to stay light-hearted.

Happy Shunpiking!


  1. Great post! I didn't realize that the movie premiered in Oconomowoc. I sure do remember, though, how we always watched it every year when we were kids. I even remember Dad and Mom letting us get out of some of the evening chores so we could watch it. Great memories!

  2. Great post as usual. Both my brother played Munchkins in a UNC theater productions when we were kids in the late 60's. So, Wizard of Oz has a special spot in my heart. :)