‘The Wizard of Oz’ is a musical inspired in a book, a children’s novel that was written by L. Frank Baum and with illustrations by W. W. Denslow. It was published in 1900 and quickly adapted on stage, in 1902. It took a few more years, until 1939 to be seen on cinemas. There were some more films before Garland’s was released, but it became very popular because of the new effects and the use of Technicolor, which was absolutely new then.
The book was also very popular, most of the children in USA used to read the story of Dorothy Gale. They used to send letters to L. F. Baum asking him to write more stories about Oz. In 1904 he published the first sequel, called ‘The Marvelous Land of Oz’, Every year, a new book was in stores, so all the kids were waiting for that moment. He wrote 13 books, but some more were published after his dead (written by Ruth Plumly Thompson). Obviously, the editors didn’t want to miss the sales and expectations year after year.
The story even inspired Gregory Maguire to write some novels about the Wicked Witch of the West (but we know it better because of the musical adaptation too, don’t we?). The books are one of the best selling children novels in history. His author usually admitted that he wrote to make the kids happy and that’s something very loyal that you can feel even nowadays with the love to Dorothy’s story.
The illustrations were created by W. W. Denslow, who was a Baum’s friend. He was an artist who liked to try new things too. He tried different colours and created pictures of many sizes on the book, which was never done before. The pictures of the characters inspired some toys, jewellery and were used in lots of objects products for kids. Kids loved Dorothy, the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, so they wanted to buy anything with their picture.
So, of course, after all the success of the books, the movie adaptation was expected to be a huge hit, and it was.