- "Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Follow the Yellow Brick Road... Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow... Follow the Yellow Brick Road! "
- ―The Munchkins (1939)
- "Follow the Yellow Brick Road? But what happens if I..."
- ―Dorothy Gale (1939)
A Road Paved With Yellow Bricks...
- "...Just follow the Yellow Brick Road..."
- ―Glinda the Good (1939)
The Yellow Brick Road is a fictonal road invented by L. Frank Baum, author and creator of the Oz legacy. This particular road is a very special one and can only be found in the magical Land of Oz. The Yellow Brick Road was first introduced in Baum's first Oz book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. The road is an important key element used in the plot which moves the story along and the events that take place involving the book's characters. In the original novel the road is referred to as the Road of Yellow Bricks.
The road is mostly known for being the road that Dorothy Gale, her pet dog Toto and her companions the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion followed on their first adventure. The road also makes many appearances in the sequel Oz books written by Baum.
- "The road to the City of Emeralds is paved with bright yellow brick," said the Good Witch of the North. "So you cannot miss it, and when you get to Oz, please do not be afraid, but tell Oz your story child, and ask Oz to help you. "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900.
The Yellow Brick Road begins in the very heart of Oz's eastern qaudrant known as the Munchkin Country, which is the most prosperous and wealthiest country out of the other three qaudrants also in Oz. If followed all the way it leads travelers to Oz's official imperial capital aka the Emerald City, which stands in the very center of the land. The road is said to be made entirely of millions of heavy smooth bricks which are all painted completely of a bright glowing yellow, the yellow is so bright it cannot be missed. The road itself is a very wide one in width and a very, very long one in length, running hundreds of miles on and across the vast landscapes and locations of Oz until reaching it's ultimate destination.
- "There was many roads nearby, but it did not take Dorothy too long to find the one paved with bright and smooth yellow bricks. And while following it, with Toto soberly at her heel, she was walking briskly toward the Emerald City. Her Silver Shoes glistening in the sun and tinkling merrily on the hard paved road bed. "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
The road is not all entirely straight. Like seen in the various movie adaptations of Oz, it gracefully curves and swoops, looping around mountains and swiveling over rich grassy green hills and attractive flowery meadows throughout the land. Even though the majority of the road is all neatly polished and smooth, the road does have areas where many bricks are broken or have been uprooted from it's foundation, such as in the dark abandoned forests and jungles in Oz where not many people wish to pass due to wild beast who dwell within, such as lions, tigers, bears and the flesh eating creatures known as the Kalidahs. Those places have missing bricks or large potholes and dead ends by steep cliff edges cutting the road in half. There are also areas where the road meets deep raging rivers and waterfalls or runs straight into obstacles such as the field of deadly Poppies at the Munchkin border.
- "As the trio ventured futher into the dark woods, the road became rather rough and unorganized. The walking grew so difficult at times that the Scarecrow often stumbled over the yellow bricks, which were very uneven in this section of the wood. Many bricks were loose, broken, or missing altogether, leaving large holes that little Toto jumped across and Dorothy carefully walked around. As for the Scarecrow, having no brains, he walked straight ahead without a care in the world, and stepped into the holes and fell at full length on the ground. It never hurt him however, and Dorothy would quickly pick him up, pat his straw and set him upon his feet again to continue on, while he joined her in laughing merrily at his own innocent clumsiness. "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
When the Wizard arrived in Oz he proclaimed himself as ruler. And when he did he also ordered construction on the city to be built by his subjects in his honor. And a handsome road paved of yellow bricks was also made to go with the city. Since the Emerald City is in the very middle of Oz, it is also the imperial capital of the land. Thus, making it's paved yellow road the most important and popular road in all of Oz.
- In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it is stated that there is only one paved yellow road leading from the Country of the Munchkins to the Emerald City. However there are other roads that were built as extensions to the original road after Dorothy came. These establishments featured in other works: one from Gillikin Country in Baum's second Oz book titled The Marvelous Land of Oz, published in 1904 and a second extended one in another part of the Munchkin Country in Baum's seventh Oz book titled The Patchwork Girl of Oz published in 1913.
Roads Long History
Unlike in Disney's Oz prequel Oz the Great and Powerful, the Emerald City and yellow brick road did not exist prior to Oz's arrival. In the books both elements were built shortly after Oscar Diggs aka The Wizard arrived in Oz via hot-air ballon. When the citizens of Oz were truly convinced that he really was a great Magician, and a force to fear and be reckoned with, the people who lived in Oz built the Emerald City in his honor as he took the Royal throne from King Pastoria to claim for his own. His subjects constructed the yellow brick road that started in the very heart of the eastern qaudrant of Oz known as Munchkin Country. The paved yellow road stretched miles out across all of Oz until it finally ended at the imperial gates of the Emerald City in the center of the land.
In each version of an Oz story, many characters and places slightly or even drastically change looks and appearances over time, regardless of the plot lines taking place, the yellow brick road is always the same. The yellow brick road of Oz is nearly identical in each movie adaption despite the differences and events of everything else happening around it.
The Wizard of Oz 1939
- "...follow the Yellow Brick Road?"
- ―Judy Garland (1939)
The Yellow Brick Road was first brought to life in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland. Cardboard murals were delicately painted by artist to connect the real road to the illustrated one. This trick allowed the road to appear much longer than it actually was on the MGM stage to add on to it's look in the background sets since CGI did not exist yet. The paintings gave the road a realistic look for the technicolor camera, which gave the illusion of being one long road that was connected and went on for miles and miles over the grassy hills and beautiful landscapes in Oz.
Journey Back to Oz 1974
Judy Garland's daughter, Liza Minnelli, voices the character her mother once played and became famous for.
In the 1974 animated sequel to the 1939 movie, this version has an all star cast with none other than Liza Minnelli, Judy's daughter, for the voice talent of the cartoon Dorothy. She and Toto get sent back to Oz again to meet new characters as well as reunite with old famous friends.
The Wiz 1978
- "The Munchkins told me to follow the Yellow Brick Road, but I haven't been able to find it. "
- ―Diana Ross as Dorothy in The Wiz.
Ease on Down the Road!
- In the stage production, four soliders dressed in yellow, symbolize the road.
In the 1978 film adaption. Dorothy must set out to find the road. She believes it's a taxi service at first (seen as taxis keep appearing wherever she is). She finally finds it after meeting the Scarecrow.
Return to Oz 1985
- "No Billina, you don't understand. This was the Yellow Brick Road! It leads to the Emerald City! "
- ―Return to Oz (1985)
In the 1985 Disney Cult Classic' Return to Oz, Dorothy Gale returns to the magical land of walking Scarecrows, talking Tin Woodmen and Ruby Slippers, only to find that Oz is in apocalyptic ruins. With a destroyed yellow brick road and stone cold Emerald City. Dorothy finds the road in ruins in a desolate and abandoned Munchkin Country.
These bricks were actually constructed out of real yellow bricks (Not linoleum tile flooring made to look like bricks like in many versions).
These real bricks were all dug into the soil of the ground, then unevenly placed one by one in a long row to give the road a more realistic look. And a faithful portrayal to the road in Baum's original Oz stories/books. The bricks lead to the Emerald City, which surprisingly in this version, is only about a run away.
In the end, Dorothy defeats the Nome King she uses the Ruby Slippers to wish everything in Oz back to normal again, it is not clarified if the road is magically put back together. But since everything else in the Emerald City is restored to it's rightful condition, it suggest that the road possibly is as well, despite not being seen on screen.
Muppets' Wizard of Oz 2005
In this made-for-TV movie by Disney, Dorothy Gale wants to be a superstar, who is played by contemporary R&B singer Ashanti. Dorothy follows the Yellow Brick Road, which also has brick walls on each side of the pathway in this version.
In this made for TV mini series, that is set circa one hundred years after the original Dorothy Gale aka "the first Slipper" arrived, to Oz aka "Outer Zone". The yellow brick road aka "the old road" is no longer used and is nearly forgotten about in present day, since cars and automobiles are driven by the people who live in Oz now.
Dorothy & the Witches of Oz 2011
The yellow brick road is seen in the land of Oz while the Witches both good and bad, are in a war. The Wizard also takes part in the events while battle the Witches and Dorothy Gale fight each other, over a magic key and powerful spell book.
Oz the Great and Powerful 2013
In Disney's 2013 prequel to the 1939 film, Oz the Great and Powerful, Theodora the Good Witch helps a very young and lost Pre-Wizard of Oz, Oscar to the Emerald City believing he is the Wizard who has come to Oz to fulfill the Prophecy.
Once Upon A Time 2014
In the popular Tv show 'Once Upon A Time', in the Oz episodes revolving around Zelena the Witch of the West, the yellow brick road is shown in the land of Oz.
When Dorothy Gale arrives in Oz and melts Zelena, Glinda takes Dorothy on the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to speak with the Wizard who is Zelena in disguise after turning the Wizard into a Flying Monkey.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return 2014
In the CGI animated Oz movie with the voice talents of an all-star cast, the yellow brick road is looked for by a returned Dorothy and Toto, and found in they're amazing adventures in the land of Oz.
Yellow Brick Road 2016
An upcoming animated film stated for 2016 that will be directed and produced by Leigh Scott will be named after the road.
In the VeggieTales 2007 episode "The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's", Darby (Junior Asparagus) and his pet dog "Tutu" are told by Splenda the Sweet but non-fattening fairy (Madame Blueberry) and the Munchies (The French Peas) to follow the old Yellow McToad.
Elton John sang "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" in 1974.
Real-Life Yellow Brick Roads
The inspiration behind the Yellow Brick Road is disputed. According to local legend, the Yellow Brick Road was derived from a road paved with yellow bricks near Holland, Michigan, where Baum summered. Yellow Brick Roads can also be found in Aberdeen, South Dakota; Albany, New York; Rossville (Baltimore County), Maryland; Bronxville, New York (on Prescott and Valley roads); Chicago, Illinois; Liberal, Kansas; Sedan, Kansas; and Syracuse, New York, as well as a school in Abington, Pennsylvania, and abroad in Sofia, Bulgaria. Historian John Curran believes the original road was in Peekskill, New York; older maps show that it would have been the quickest route from the docks on the Hudson River to the Peekskill Military Academy, which Baum attended as a child.
The Vision Oz Fund was established in November 2009 to raise funds that will be used to help increase the awareness, enhancement, and further development of Oz-related attractions and assets in Wamego, Kansas. The first fundraiser is underway and includes selling personalized engraved yellow bricks, which will become part of the permanent walkway (aka "The Yellow Brick Road") in downtown Wamego.