WHY did the Wizard of Oz do this to me?


Dec 10, 2003
So. Cal.
I've been wanting to do this with tornado photos of mine for a while - because it touches something submliminal that exists in all of us ... personally, this is why I feel this is:



Mike posted this in another thread and it got me thinking. Why WHY did this trigger something in so many people who have this ... obession?

I swear... it's so wierd, but that's where it started, right there. I remember as a young kid laying on the floor with my pillow, "staying up late" to watch this movie my parents kept raving about. That scene sparked something deep inside my 5 year old brain.

Here are a couple of reasons why (I think) this scene sparked something:
- Fear of the unknown. As a kid growing up in S. Cal, I had no idea what the heck that thing was.
- Terrifying, yet beautiful. It's that contrast in emotions that just added (adds) to the intense curiosity.
- The mood of the scene... black and white... the buildup... the sounds, and the eventual terror.
- It transported Dorothy to a magical place... which for me was boring compared to the tornado scene!
- Other... I still can't put it into words.

So was this the starting point for you? If so why???
I never really thought about it before, but i'm sure that movie had a big impact on me as well, since i probably saw it as a 4 or 5 year old in S. CA as well. Probably for the same reasons you mention, but also the fact that it was something beyond adult (or more to the point, parental) control. And to me, OZ wasn't boring compared to the KS scene, just very different, and obviously the two places were connected, with the tornado (and later, just the atmosphere) being the portal. Cool post. It would be interesting to hear a native KS perspective on it.
I was born and raised in Kansas City, KS and I can honestly say that this movie had nothing do with me becoming interested in weather and tornados (others may have been influenced by the movie). I like the movie, don't get me wrong. But it just did not generate even an inkling of interest. What peeked my interest was just being underneath so many storms (only a few tornado warnings that I can recall). I often caused myself neck pain from lying with my head in the window so I can watch the lightning at nite when I was supposed to be in bed.

On a side note: when you meet someone from Kansas, please do not ask how Toto and Dorothy are doing <_<
I used to long for The Wizard of Oz to show every year just for the tornado scene! Can't say it was formative; it just stoked the furnace.

As a side note, has anyone besides me noticed what appears to be a wedge in the background? I used to wonder about that as a kid. It always looked to me like there were two tornadoes.
As a side note, has anyone besides me noticed what appears to be a wedge in the background? I used to wonder about that as a kid. It always looked to me like there were two tornadoes.[/b]
Of course! This is your classic bifurcated updraft with a cyclonic and anticyclonic tornado pair (just like near El Reno OK on 4/28). Dorothy's house was hit by the anti-cyclonic tornado.
Wow. That image brings back memories. Cstok, I think you really put it so well-- how and why that scene thrilled so many eventual severe-weather lovers.

I am yet another one whose interest in violent weather was sparked by that scene in that movie. I remember as a kid, I would get so excited watching it, I would just freak out completely-- I loved it so much. I liked the way the funnel danced back and forth. I liked the way the door blew away (on strings). It was scary and beautiful at the same time.

Unlike probably most people on this board, I grew up in the New York City area and we simply didn’t have things like this. So to me the twister was as fantastic as Oz itself.

As an adult, my thing is hurricanes-- but my fixation with windstorms was caused by that scene in The Wizard of Oz.
LOL - I had thought about saying something about the feature in the background. It's almost as amazing to watch in the movie as the tornado itself ... it really, honestly appears in the movie to be a downdraft feature that is commonly seen behind the mesocyclone on large storms. It really, really reminds me of the feature on 5/29/04 behind the Jamestown anticyclonic tornado that had lots of chasers scratching their heads and thinking there was another tornado. It was actually a downdraft feature. In Oz, the background is in motion and really looks like the genuine article.
That's still my favorite part of Oz. Whenever it was on when I was a kid, I'd coming running from my room or wherever, plop in front of the TV, watch the twister, then be gone agaiin when the commercial came on. Being from TN, tornadoes were mysterious things, because we didn't have any...the closest I could get was pictures in the library or newspaper, or the occassional news report on TV. Something about that scene in that movie made them real.
Now, if I could just get the day off to go chase one............sigh.
It's absolutely amazing how realistic that tornado scene is for being made so long ago. I'll be surprised if any film can ever match the mystique and realism that tornado scene delivered.