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Column: Please leave classics alone
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

There were two landmark movies in 1939. One was “Gone With The Wind,” and the other was “The Wizard of Oz.”

A few years ago, somebody tried to make a sequel to “Gone with the Wind.” Let me put it this way: Have you seen it on TV lately? I didn’t think so.

Now, one of the big movie companies has announced plans for a redo of “The Wizard of Oz.” To use a line from “Gone with the Wind,” “It ain’t fittin’, it just ain’t fittin’.”

Sometimes, perfection should be recognized for what it is.

Do you think that Michaelangelo thought about going out and finding another church to paint after he finished the Sistine Chapel? Do you think Dr. Pemberton thought about making a remix of Coca-Cola? Somebody did try that a few years ago, and it was a major flop.

Judy Garland will always be the real Dorothy. Ray Bolger will always be the Scarecrow, and Jack Haley will always be the Tin Man. Burt Lahr had the perfect face to be the cowardly lion. No one could ever replace Margaret Hamilton as the wicked witch.

When I was a kid, there was one Sunday night a year when the Wizard was shown on CBS. It was the one night we found an excuse to miss the Training Union at church. If you don’t know what that is, let me explain. Training Union was a Bible study for young folks. It did not have anything to do with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

I have some friends whose daddies were preachers, and they even missed Training Union that night. It was appointment television. You knew when it was coming on, and you had the TV all warmed up and ready to watch. We didn’t have a color TV until I was 11, and I was awe-struck when I saw it for the first time in color.

I’m sure that modern technology could add some pizazz to the movie, but we have made it for 82 years with it just the way it is. It is working really well.

I don’t know why we have decided in recent years to mess with good movies. I can’t think of anything that has been remade that is better than the original. Can’t you just leave them well-enough alone?

One of our channels on cable is MeTV. They run a lot of shows that I really like. I come home every afternoon and watch a rerun of “Adam-12,” Jack Webb’s drama about the Los Angeles Police Department. That show is now over 50 years old, but I watch it like it was brand new.

Recently, they added a great lineup of Saturday morning cartoons. They start out with an hour of “Popeye the Sailor,” followed by “Tom and Jerry.” And then, the morning is rounded out with Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner.

Most of the conflict between Bugs and Daffy Duck is a dispute over duck season and rabbit season. I laugh out loud when Wile E. Coyote orders another item from the Acme Products Co. in his effort to capture the Road Runner. I love when the coyote runs off a cliff, looks around for a second or two, and then falls straight to the ground, about 100-feet below.

It’s low tech. Sometimes that’s the best kind. I wish Dorothy would click her heels and say, “There’s no version like the original.” Now that would be fittin’.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the weekend Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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