The Wizard of Oz refers to a series of books written by American author L. Frank Baum, the first of which, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was published in 1900. Baum wrote thirteen sequels to the original novel, and a total of forty books written by a variety of authors belong in the series' canon. The books are set in the fairyland of Oz, which is split into four countries: Munchkinland (East), Quadling (South), Winkie (West), and Gillikin (North) - one of the many quirks is that each of these countries is one color only. None of the sequels, however, have reached the heights of popularity achieved by the first book, which has been adapted for the stage and screen on multiple occasions.
It was the first movie I ever saw."
It has been stated that the popular 1939 MGM musical The Wizard of Oz was Jim Henson's favorite film, and the Muppets have made numerous references to it over the years. While most of these references have been based on the film, the Muppets' 2005 adaptation, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, was based more on the original novel, as indicated by such inclusions as the Kalidahs and the silver slippers, as opposed to the ruby ones that Judy Garland so famously wore in the film.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz tells the story of a Kansas farmgirl named Dorothy Gale who is being raised by her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry when a tornado sweeps through their home and airlifts it, with Dorothy and her dog Toto inside, to the Land of Oz. When the house lands in Munchkinland, it crushes the Wicked Witch of the East and liberates the Munchkins she had enslaved. With guidance from the Tattypoo, the Good Witch of the North, Dorothy travels down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City where she hopes the Wizard will be able to send her back home. Along the way, she befriends the Scarecrow, the Tin Thing, and the Cowardly Lion, destroys the Wicked Witch of the East's surviving sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, exposes the Wizard as a fraud, and meets Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, who shows her how to return home.
- In the 1970 special Hey Cinderella!, The Fairy Godmother offers to equip Cinderella with special shoes which can take her and her dog back home to Kansas.
- Margaret Hamilton reprised her role of the Wicked Witch of the West in Episode 0847 of Sesame Street.
- The Muppets Go to the Movies features Miss Piggy as Dorothy, Foo-Foo as Toto, Scooter as the Scarecrow, Gonzo as the Tin Woodman, and Fozzie Bear as the Cowardly Lion in a medley of songs from the MGM film, including "Over the Rainbow," "If I Only Had a Brain," and "We're Off to See the Wizard." Janice introduces the sketch, calling The Wizard of Oz her "favorite flick of all time...fer sure!" This sketch inspired the painted cover of Look-in Junior TV Times No. 29 in July of 1981.
- The Muppet Show episode 307 takes a break from its freaky tone (courtesy of Alice Cooper) when Robin the Frog sings "Over the Rainbow" by a pond.
- In episode 506, Fozzie dresses as the Tin Woodman when he mistakes the Muppets' presentation of Alice in Wonderland for The Wizard of Oz. Amid the chaos in the finale, the cast eventually breaks out into "We're Off to See the Wizard," with Rizzo the Rat as the Wizard.
- Episode 510 features a twist on The Pied Piper of Hamelin, in which the Pied Piper (Jean-Pierre Rampal) leads an infestation of children out of a rat village, all to the tune of "Ease On Down the Road" from The Wiz, a 1970s retelling of the Oz tale.
- A Sesame Street segment features Mr. Snuffleupagus jumping so high on a trampoline that he lands on the roof of 123 Sesame Street. When Big Bird asks where he went, Count von Count replies, "over the rainbow, I think."
- During a 1984 appearance on The Merv Griffin Show, Animal is asked if he's seen The Wizard of Oz. Animal reacts to several named characters, but says he didn't see it. Kermit assures Merv Griffin otherwise.
- Kermit dressed as the Tin Woodman in a comic from the Fall 1986 issue of Muppet Magazine, "Little Swamp of Horrors."
- In the introductory video to The Muppet CD-ROM: Muppets Inside, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew says, "I can't come back! I don't know how it works!" quoting the Wizard in the film.
- The Muppet Babies episode "By the Book" adapted the story with the spoof characters Pigorothy, Rowlf-Rowlf, Kermit the Scarefrog, Fozzie the Cowardly Comic, and Gonzo the Tin Weirdo.
- A photo storybook Muppet Babies: Classic Children's Tales with photo puppet versions of the Muppet Babies featured Baby Piggy as Dorothy, Baby Kermit as the Scarecrow, Baby Gonzo as the Tin Woodman, and Baby Fozzie as the Cowardly Lion.
- A lyric from a song in Big Bird in Japan recites, "We're off to Kyoto, like Dorothy and Toto," referencing Oz’s main character and her dog.
- On Sesame Street, Oscar the Grouch tells his niece Irvine the story of "The Wizard of Blahs," which follows the adventures of a little Grouch girl named Dirtothy who travels to the land of Blahs which is made entirely out of trash.
- In 1996, two pages from the book Look and Find Muppets featured Oz in a "Where's Waldo?"-type setting.
- When Big Bird realizes that he's become separated from Maria in Big Bird Gets Lost, he exclaims "it looks like we're not in cans anymore" (meaning the trash cans section of the department store he's in). This is a take on the famous line from the MGM film when Dorothy mentions to Toto that they're "not in Kansas anymore."
- In Muppets from Space, as Rizzo the Rat is in the wind tunnel, he cries out, "Auntie Em! Auntie Em! It's a twister!"
- Kermit's Swamp Years makes several references to The Wizard of Oz.
- When Gordon, Maria and Alan "wake up" from having been turned into kids again by the Fairy Godperson in Sesame Street Episode 4119, they feel as though they've just been a part of a dream. They look at each other and each say some part of "and you were there, and you, and [you]," paraphrasing the famous ending of the 1939 film when Dorothy wakes up and recognizes her friends from both worlds.
- Performer Frank Oz shares in his name an obvious likeness to the title of these stories. As a result, countless jokes have been made over the years.
- As Abby Cadabby search for her wand in Abby in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cookie Cat tells her to follow the Yellow Brick Road, before he realizes that's actually a different story.
- In an installment of Bert's "Pigeon Patterns" game in Play With Me Sesame, Bert must follow the pattern based on their raincoats. When the rain clears, the pigeons all fly over the rainbow and Bert yells to them "Say 'Hi' to Dorothy for me!"
- In A Brief History of Motion Pictures, one of the characters is heard yelling "Auntie Em!" when a Muppet twister destroys the set.
- In Follow That Bird, Sid Sleaze talks in his sleep, repeating "There's no place like home" and then talking to Toto.
- In Sesame Street All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever!, Rosie O'Donnell's Good Hope Fairy resembles Glinda from the MGM motion picture.
- In the Play-Along Video, Neat Stuff To Know & To Do, a lost carrier pigeon thinks one way of getting back home is to follow the yellow-brick road.
- In episode 3695 of Sesame Street, Grundgetta and some grouches sing about her Grouch beauty salon in a song that parodies "The Merry Old Land of Oz."
- In the Jim Henson's Bedtime Stories short story "The Ant Farm," one of the ants is named Ant E.M. The story was reprinted in the book Off to Storyland.
- In a 2005 episode of Sesame Street, Elmo tells Maria and Luis that Oscar's "What Happens Next?" show has "science, music and worms." Maria replies "Oh my."
- In Food for Thought, one of the Super Foods says "Hold onto your ruby slippers, 'cause we're not in Kansas anymore!" before singing a song about eating your "colors." The song itself is a hip-hop parody of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", and the food claims she learned the song from "Judy Garlic" (a pun on Judy Garland, who portrayed Dorothy in the 1939 film).
- In a "Letter of the Day" sketch, Cookie Monster brings in a lion, tiger and bear to keep him from eating the letter E cookie.
- In Sesame Street Stays Up Late!, Telly Monster, upon accidentally revealing that he was in disguise the whole time, tries to cover up his predicament by yelling "pay no attention to that beard stuck to that suitcase!", which was obviously inspired by the "man behind the curtain" line in the classic 1939 film.
- Rosie O'Donnell appeared in the 1994 special Sesame Street's All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever! as the Good Hope Fairy, who was stylized after Glinda from The Wizard of Oz.
- John Alexander played the Cowardly Lion and a Wheeler in Return to Oz (1985)
- Ashanti played Dorothy in the City Center's production of The Wiz (2009)
- Robbie Barnett played a Wheeler in Return to Oz (1985)
- Sean Barrett voiced Tik-Tok in Return to Oz (1985)
- Frances Bergen played Glinda the Good in the Shirley Temple Storybook episode "The Land of Oz" (1960)
- Milton Berle voiced the Cowardly Lion in Journey Back to Oz (1974)
- Mel Blanc voiced Sawhorse and the Book in the Shirley Temple Storybook episode "The Land of Oz" (1960) and voiced the Crow in Journey Back to Oz (1974)
- Denise Bryer voiced Billina in Return to Oz (1985)
- Kristin Chenoweth originated the role of Glinda in Wicked on Broadway
- Lyle Conway voiced the Gump in Return to Oz (1985)
- Joel Grey originated the role of The Wizard in Wicked on Broadway, and played the Wizard in ''The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True (1995)
- Margaret Hamilton played Miss Gulch/the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film, and voiced Auntie Em in Journey Back to Oz (1974)
- Brian Henson voiced Jack Pumpkinhead in Return to Oz (1985)
- Geoffrey Holder directed the original Broadway production of The Wiz (1975)
- Lena Horne played Glinda in The Wiz (1978)
- Michael Jackson played the Scarecrow in The Wiz (1978)
- Carol Kane played Madame Morrible in the 1st National Tour of Wicked
- Nathan Lane played the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True (1995)
- Paul Lynde voiced Pumpkinhead in Journey Back to Oz (1974)
- Pons Maar played the lead Wheeler and Nome messenger in Return to Oz (1985)
- Jean Marsh played Mombi/Head Nurse Wilson in Return to Oz (1985)
- Ethel Merman voiced Mombi in Journey Back to Oz (1974)
- Liza Minnelli voiced Dorothy in Journey Back to Oz (1974)
- Richard Pryor played The Wiz in The Wiz (1978)
- Tim Rose puppeteered Tik-Tok in Return to Oz (1985)
- Diana Ross played Dorothy Gale in The Wiz (1978)
- Deep Roy played the Tin Man in in Return to Oz (1985)
- Michael Sundin played Tik-Tok (body performer) in Return to Oz (1985)
- Jonathan Taylor Thomas voiced Scarecrow Jr. in The Oz Kids (1996)
- Ben Vereen was a replacement for the Wizard in Wicked on Broadway
- Frank Welker voiced Toto and Winged Monkeys in The Wizard of Oz (1990 animated series)
- Mak Wilson puppeteered Billina in Return to Oz (1985)
- Jonathan Winters played Lord Nikidik in the Shirley Temple Storybook episode "The Land of Oz" (1960)