Yellow Brick Road Led to Salisbury, Hartford - NBC Connecticut

Yellow Brick Road Led to Salisbury, Hartford



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    The Wizard of Oz has turned 71.

    Seventy-one years ago, Dorothy, the Tin Man and witches, good and bad, captured hearts across the world.

    Since that film first aired in 1939, lovers of Wizard of Oz have been celebrating that yellow brick road, a road that happens to lead to Connecticut.

    L. Frank Baum, a New Yorker, wrote the book, but his mother, Cynthia Stanton, is a direct descendant of Thomas Stanton, one of the four founders of Stonington, Connecticut, according to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz

     Margaret Hamilton, who is known from her iconic role as the Wicked Witch of the West, is considered one of the greatest screen heroes and villains.

    Hamilton, who lived in New York in her later years, lived in a nursing home in Salisbury, where she spent her last days. Hamilton died of a heart attack on May 16, 1985.

    While Hamilton might be the only star of the film to call Connecticut home, many of stars came through the state to perform.

    Judy Garland, famous for her role as Dorothy, performed at the Bushnell in Harford Connecticut on Oct. 1, 1961.

    She was an immediate hit with the crowd, and left everyone wanting more, the Hartford Times reported at the time. She even sang “Over the Rainbow.”

    Bert Lahr, -- the Cowardly Lion – also performed with the American Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Academy in Stratford, Connecticut and started his professional Shakespearean debut in a national tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, according to the book, “The American Shakespeare Theatre.”

    The Scarecrow, Ray Bulger, did not actually perform here, but one of his plays was set in the countryside of the Connecticut River in 1840. He played Phineas Sharp in the Broadway musical “Come Summer” in 1969.

    Jack Haley -- the Tin Man -- also had a tangential connection to Connecticut. He starred in a 1936 film, “Pigscreen Parade,” with Oz co-star Judy Garland and played the coach of Texas State University’s football team, a team in which a hillbilly from Texas plays in the esteemed Yale Bowl.

    Billie Burke -- Glinda the Good Witch – had a literary connection two one of the state’s most-loved writers. She was a friend of Samuel Clemens, most commonly known as Mark Twain.

    She visited his home on Dec. 27 1908, and was the last recorded guest of that year.

    They were also pen pals and several letters Burke wrote to Clemens are in the Mark Twain Papers.

    If you want to check out more facts about the Wizard of Oz, in honor of the 71st anniversary, the Guardian put together 71 facts about the film.


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