The wonderful wizard turned 100 in April 2000
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900, is the first American fairy tale and the first fantasy written by an American to enjoy an immediate success upon publication. So powerful was its effect on the American imagination, so evocative its use of the forces of nature in its plots, so charming its invitation to children of all ages to look for the element of wonder in the world around them that author L. Frank Baum was forced by demand to create book after book about Dorothy and her friends—including the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, and Glinda the Good Witch.
When Baum died in 1919, the series lived on under the authorship of Ruth Plumly Thompson and others who themselves had loved the stories as children. Published in many foreign countries, The Wizard even found its way as far as Russia, where it was translated in 1939 by Alexander Volkov, who then wrote two Oz books of his own. That was also the year that Dorothy and her friends appeared on the silver screen in the immortal MGM adaptation featuring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, and Bert Lahr.