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Who wears a blue and white gingham dress, two braided pigtails in her hair, and a pair of ruby slippers on her feet? You know exactly who she is! Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz is as American as apple pie. Her iconic look - immortalized by Judy Garland in the 1939 film adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - is far and away one of the most memorable costumes in cinematic history.
Thousands of girls and women dress up as Dorothy each year on Halloween, and an original pair of her ruby slippers is even on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.! But we don’t just cherish Dorothy for what she wears; Dorothy’s words and adventures (and songs!) still resonate with us more than 75 years since The Wizard of Oz was released.
When we meet Dorothy, she’s just a young, lonely girl from a farm in Kansas. The Wizard of Oz begins without a princess, without a castle, and without a knight in shining armor on his way to save the day. Dorothy’s world is grey (literally - the film opens in black and white) but she is a ray of light. So filled with hope and imagination, Dorothy dreams of a better life in a place that’s far, free, and fantastical...you guessed it, in a place “somewhere over the rainbow.”
Over the Rainbow was written for Garland to perform as Dorothy and is now widely regarded as the greatest movie song of all time. Both universally beloved, the song and Dorothy herself are practically one and the same; a girl and a set of lyrics each full of hopes, dreams, and the ever-relatable desire for troubles to “melt like lemon drops” - wouldn’t that be nice?
When Dorothy is whisked away to the Land of Oz, she carries the idyllic message of Over the Rainbowwith her. She leads her friends the Cowardly Lion, the Brainless Scarecrow and the Heartless Tin Man on a journey to the Emerald City, helping them overcome their fears and insecurities, acting as a force of good along the way, and changing the Land of Oz for the better. Dorothy makes the impossible seem possible, and can make everything wonderful and technicolor. She inspires us to keep searching for a time and place where “the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”
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