An audience with the great 'Oz'

Special event will screen an American classic as it was meant to be seen
Karl Slover, one of the surviving Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz, will pay a visit to Augusta on Saturday as part of a special screening of the timeless classic.

 

If you're scanning the newspaper looking for a movie to go to this weekend, we'd like to make a suggestion.

You won't need 3-D glasses. You won't have to worry about gratuitous sex, violence or bad language. All you have to do, really, is come downtown, sit back and enjoy one of the most enduring, endearing and entertaining films ever made.

It's The Wizard of Oz, and it's playing Saturday, July 17, at Fort Discovery's Paul Simon Theater, at Riverwalk Augusta.

Theater doors open at 1 p.m. for a 2 p.m. matinee showing, when kids 15 and younger are admitted for just $5. Otherwise, admission costs $10. The evening screening will be at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6. Admission still is $10.

You can still purchase your tickets for this at www.augustaamusements.tix.com. Parking will be available in the Fort Discovery parking deck on Seventh Street.

For the evening show, visitors even are encouraged to walk the red carpet wearing their favorite Oz attire.

Then there's a very special guest -- Karl Slover.

At age 91, Mr. Slover is in possibly the most exclusive showbiz fraternity in the world. He is one of the four surviving dwarf actors to have played a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz . He will be at the Augusta screening Saturday evening to meet all of you, and he loves sharing his experiences about the movie as much as people enjoy the movie itself.

The makers of The Wizard of Oz went to great lengths to help assure their film would be a timeless classic. For example, cast members spent weeks filming a jitterbug musical number for the movie, but the sequence was cut because producers felt the then-trendy dance would date the film.

Another song almost got cut, because MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer felt it slowed down the film's pacing. But the song stayed in. Its title: Over The Rainbow , one of the greatest cinematic songs of all time.

Odds are, you already have this film in your video collection at home. But you probably don't have theater-style seating. Or a huge movie screen. Or a room in your house that, when you turn the lights down, evokes a special movie-going experience.

Big movies such as The Wizard of Oz simply weren't made to watch on television, or a laptop monitor or, God forbid, your cell phone. They were meant for the theater -- and if you enjoy good movies and great activities to liven up downtown, you're doing yourself and your family members a pitiable disservice by missing this fun event.

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