I usually dress up for theme parties, but when I hit The Wizard of Oz theme party in North Park, I didn’t have anything to wear. I wasn’t about to make myself look like a scarecrow.
Then I had an idea. I looked through my rock T-shirts, and my girlfriend and I both wore Pink Floyd shirts to the event. I figured this was close enough, as years ago it was rumored that you could play Dark Side of the Moon while watching Wizard of Oz and the music and movie synced up.
It was raining when we got there, and I saw a few people in costume getting soaked as we piled into the elevator of an old condo complex. The elevator didn’t have a light, and you had to manually close the gate before it would go up. One guy was trying to stuff straw back into his scarecrow outfit and was having trouble doing it in the dark.
I felt guilty with just my umbrella and Floyd tee.
When we walked in, they had Oz on the TV. The lights were out, but they had candles glowing. A yellow brick road had been painted on paper and spread over the hardwood floors.
There were some yellow slippers near the fireplace and a number of photos from the movie.
There was a table set up with chips and desserts. I grabbed a cupcake. There were about 200 Jell-O shots set up like a giant rainbow.
They had a fence all around, with cornstalks and crows on it. Everything indoors looked like the set of The Wizard of Oz.
The bathroom had lollipops all over it. When I asked one of the women at the party what the significance of that was, she told me about the lollipop guild and the flying monkeys. I didn’t remember any of that because I hadn’t seen the movie since I was little.
I saw a guy in a chicken costume standing next to a wall that had a Wizard lunch box. I asked him about it, but he never gave me a straight answer. He sounded as if he had had a bit to drink. He said something about how he wore it to a Christmas party where you had to dress as anything but a character related to Christmas. He mentioned something about “the good witch” living here before walking away.
One guy looked uncomfortable in his costume, but it was clearly the best. He made a detailed Tinman outfit. As I was checking it out, someone said, “You should see him light his head on fire.” He was reluctant to do it, as he said he’d been doing that all night.
We all went out onto the balcony, and he showed me how it was designed to have flames come out of the top part. I said to one of the scarecrows, “You better keep your distance or you’ll go up in flames.”
When he was done with the fire demonstration, he walked back inside and almost fell. Somebody said, “Imagine if he did that with the fire going. This whole place would burn down.”
I saw a female dressed in a tin outfit and asked about it. Her friend said, “She’s the tin whore.”
The party was being hosted by guys named Sam and Joe. But I found out it was Kali who loved The Wizard of Oz and orchestrated this. She told me it was one of her favorite movies and how she’s seen it hundreds of times. She said, “And we love to throw theme parties. We had an Alice in Wonderland one once.”
There were a couple of Dorothys walking around and four flying monkeys, which were funny. They were seldom together, though.
I was talking sports with a couple of guys and noticed that there were a few women by the TV set reciting all the words the characters were saying. One of them looked at me and said, “After the second time watching this, I knew all the dialogue.”
A few people approached the Tinman while he was on the couch. They wanted a fire demonstration. He tried to get up a few times and couldn’t. Someone else mentioned that he was tired of doing it. I asked him how long it took to build the costume. He never told me, but he said that it was fun to make. He told me he works on Ferraris and that it’s always fun to work on something other than a car.
As the other people prodded him for fire, one sounded like Beavis: “Fire, fire, fire!” Tinman stumbled to his feet and walked into a wall and said, “This costume has the worst peripheral vision.”
There was a big guy in a baseball shirt who was drunk and kept bumping into people. I overheard someone say, “That’s how fights start at clubs, people acting like that.”
Another guy kept eating Jell-O shots but didn’t seem to be drunk. He’d occasionally sing out, “Somewhere, over the rainbow...” before downing one.
I heard two people debating lines from the movie. One said, “The ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore’ has got to be the most popular line from the movie.” His friend contended, “I think the one about the man behind the curtain is more popular.”
The response? “You can’t even remember that line to quote it accurately!”
They asked me, and I said I thought the Kansas line was a bit more popular, but the premise of a man behind the curtain was still talked about. One said, “There is not a more popular movie line than ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore.’” I said, “I dunno. I think ‘I see dead people,’ and ‘I think we need a bigger boat’ are on par.” Someone else in a Tinman costume then said in a deep voice, “What about, ‘Luke, I am your father?’”
One woman was trying to explain the story to her friend about the actor cast as the Scarecrow and how he switched with the Tinman because he was allergic to the aluminum powder. It wasn’t until I left the party that I remembered it was Buddy Ebsen who dropped out of the film.