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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Imagination runs...over the rainbow


“Imagination has brought mankind through the dark ages to its present state of civilization. Imagination led Columbus to discover America. Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity.” – L. Frank Baum

L. Frank Baum won lasting success and several spots in the lexicon with his imagination, especially in creating The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.   And while that is the story for which he is mainly remembered, he wrote nearly 60 novels, 83 short stories, 200 poems and countless scripts, produced on stage and in the fledgling movie industry in the early 1900s.

Baum was a newspaper editor for several years, working at the Saturday Evening Pioneer, in Aberdeen, S.D.  He said it was his newspaper work led to his writing in the creative and fantasy genres, although I’m not really sure why.
 
L. Frank Baum
 
And, it was his 1880s experiences on the prairies of drought-stricken South Dakota (my own home state, by the way) that led to his setting for the beginning of Dorothy’s journey to Oz, although as everyone knows, he changed the location to Kansas.

And thus, along with the names Dorothy and Toto and his idea that a land could be found Over The Rainbow, his phrase “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” became one of the most recognizable in our language.   It’s probably for the best, since it has a much better ring to it than “We’re not in South Dakota anymore.”


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