Along the yellow brick road

Friday was the last day of camp for this group of students.  They were awesome, really working with the material. What I couldn’t believe was how much they loved the book and the original movie.

I was shocked, and not in a snarky, sarcastic way. I am shocked in a sincere way. They loved the original movie. I gave them a survey, and they could have the last day watching Tin Man from the Sci Fi channel, or they could watch “The Wiz” or the original movie.  We watched clips from all three, comparing and contrasting – we also read chapters from the book and I played clips of songs that were influenced by or referenced the movie or book.

It was unanimous, they chose the original.

Watching it again after so long three things came to mind. The songs are cool in a cheesy way, the special effects are cool in a cheesy way, and the story is still sweet. I think that the theme, adventure over home still resonates.

I was surprised though… there is an old song by Judy Collins, “Dorothy”  the chorus goes “Dorothy was a fool to leave; She should have stayed/ She had it all in her hand/ She had it made.”   There is a part about trading all that color for black and white.   I couldn’t find the song online, so I printed the lyrics and we read them as a poem.  When I was a young woman living in Kansas, I would listen to that song and dream about adventures in color. I agreed Dorothy was a fool.  But when I asked my students if they agreed with the lyrics, they said no. She should have gone home.  They would agree that there is “No place like home”    I’m still not sure what home really means to me.  But I still would take adventure in color over home in black and white any day of the week, month or year.


Written by Hugh Prestwood and sung by Judy Collins

Livin in Kansas/ A life alone

She never married/She’s hardly known

She stares out the window/Far away

Looking for another/ Windy day


Dorothy was a fool to leave/ She should have stayed

She had it right in her hands/She had it made

She could have had it all for keeps/ She was afraid

She could have stayed

It seems like only/ Yesterday

But 40 years have all but/ Slipped away

Since a lonely/ Black haired girl

Was taken for her one/ And only whirl

Repeat Chorus

Same old bluebird/ Flyin high

Over rainbows/ In that Kansas sky

Why oh why/ Oh…. why

I guess it only serves her right

For trading all that color/For black and white

All her sorrow/ All because

There ain’t no way to stand Kansas/ When you’ve been to Oz

I have been haunted by this song most of my life.


4 Responses to Along the yellow brick road

  1. larry young says:

    I have been looking for this song for a month now. I found your blog. I can find no record in Judy Colins collections and odd….no menion in the list of songs by prestwood. Are you sure its called Dorothy? I really thought I was imagineing the song because no one knows it or knows what I am singing.

    • christinebumgardner says:

      It really is called Dorothy, and Judy Collins sings it, but Prestwood wrote it. I love that song. My father had it and I would listen and dream of going to other places.

  2. mary says:

    the song is called Dorothy and it’s on her: “Hard Times for Lovers” album

    Release date: 01.01.79
    Label: Elektra Entertainment
    Genre: Blues/Folk

  3. suzanne says:

    It is a lovely song…one of my late brother’s favorites…

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