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Click your heels together three times, Fresno
It's hard to believe a timeless classic like "The Wizard of Oz" is 70 years old this year. Although it's rerun on television occasionally and has been available on video, catching it on the big screen has been tricky. It was last released to theaters 10 years ago for a brief run to celebrate its 60th anniversary. At 7 p.m. on Sept. 23, Valley residents will get a rare chance to travel over the rainbow and view this legendary classic at the Edwards Theater. But this time, it will be presented in a way it has never been seen before.
"The unforgettable cultural icon has been entirely re-mastered and will be shown in movie theaters for the first time ever in high definition in an historic big-screen event that celebrates the 70th anniversary," Michelle Portillo, manager of public relations and communications for National CineMedia. "The event will also feature the specially created 'To Oz! The Making of a Classic,' an exclusive look inside Oz featuring behind-the-scenes footage, home movies and archival interviews with the cast and crew."
"The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Hi-Def Event," as the one-time-only showing is being called, will be introduced by Robert Osborne, classic film historian and host of Turner Classic movies, who will share facts and stories about the much-beloved film. "To Oz! The Making of a Classic" will give audiences a unique peek into the Land of Oz through interviews with original Munchkin actors. You'll also see how MGM artists and craftsmen created the music, costumes, and amazing special effects back in the 1930s -- before CGI and digital technology. There's also an audio outtake of "If I Only Had A Brain" with Ray Bolger and Judy Garland, complete with stills and home movie footage.
The film will also be shown in Cinema Surround Sound for the complete and ultimate "Wizard of Oz" movie-going experience.
The movie, which debuted on Aug. 15, 1939, is consistently ranked among the top movies of all time and received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. It went on to win two Oscars -- Best Song ("Over the Rainbow") and Best Original Score -- plus a special award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance for Judy Garland, who plays Dorothy in the film.
"NCM Fathom continues to bring communities together in local movie theaters and we are proud to be the first to present this much-loved story to audiences in a way they're sure to remember," says Dan Diamond, vice-president of Fathom. "Fans, young and old, will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Dorothy's journey come to life on the big screen in a high definition experience that will include an exclusive look inside the making of the masterpiece."
There is only limited seating available. Tickets are available now at the Edwards' box office, www.FathomEvents.com and other online sources. For more information about this one-time-only event, visit www.ncm.com/Fathom/Premiere/WizardofOz.aspx.
So grab your ruby slippers and head to the movies for an absolutely Oz-some evening.