- "Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Follow the Yellow Brick Road... Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow... Follow the Yellow Brick Road! "
- ―The Munchkins
- "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 were many roads nearby, but it did not take Dorothy too long to find the one paved with yellow bricks. And while following it, with Toto soberly at her heel, soon she was walking briskly toward the Emerald City, her Silver Shoes glistened in the sun; tinkling merrily on the hard 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)
- 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.
- "They all started upon the journey, greatly enjoying the walk through the soft, fresh grass; and it was not long before they reached the road of yellow brick and turned again toward the Emerald City where the Great Oz dwelt. The road was smooth and well paved, now, and the country about was beautiful, so that the travelers rejoiced in leaving the forest far behind, and with it the many dangers they had met in its gloomy shades. Once more they could see fences built beside the road; but these were painted green, and when they came to a small house, in which a farmer evidently lived, that also was painted green. They passed by several of these houses during the afternoon, and sometimes people came to the doors and looked at them as if they would like to ask questions; but no one came near them nor spoke to them because of the great Lion, of which they were very much afraid. The people were all dressed in clothing of a lovely emerald-green color and wore peaked hats like those of the Munchkins... "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
History of the Yellow Brick Road:
- Unlike in Walt Disney's 2013 prequel film Oz the Great and Powerful, the Emerald City and yellow brick road did not exist prior to Oz's arrival.
When Oscar Diggs arrived in Oz via hot air-balloon that had been swept away in a storm, the people of the land were so impressed by his majestic persona, they became quickly convinced he was a great Wizard who had finally come to fulfill Oz's long awaited prophecy. When King Pastoria was overthrown and his baby daughter, the Princess named Ozma was hidden away in secrecy, Oscar immediately proclaimed himself as Oz's new dominate ruler. And when he did he also ordered construction of an all green city to be built by his subjects in his honor. Thus, 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 capital establishment that was ultimately named "Emerald City".
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 computer graphics such as "CGI" did not exist yet. The paintings gave the road a realistic look for the technicolor camera, which gave the illusion of a very long road across beautiful landscapes.
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 1974--2015: Ease on Down!
- "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.
In the stage production, four soldiers dressed in all yellow, symbolize the road.
In the 1978 film adaption, Dorothy portrayed by Diana Ross, must set out to find the road after meeting the Munchkins and the Good Witch called Miss One. She mistakes taxis for being the yellow brick but after meeting the Scarecrow portrayed by Michael Jackson they find the true road of yellow brick.
In the 2015 TV adaptation, the Yellow Brick Road lights up when Dorothy, played by Shanice Williams, steps on it for the first time. When night falls, it no longer lights up, but Dorothy and her friends still make their way to the City the next morning.
Return to Oz 1985
- "Oh No Billina, you don't understand. This was the Yellow Brick Road! It leads to the Emerald City! "
- ―Dorothy Gale in Return to Oz (1985)
Dorothy returns only to find that Oz is in apocalyptic ruins and discovers that Munchkinland has been replaced by a thick gloomy, abandoned forest. The Munchkins are no where to be seen and the yellow brick road lies shattered and nearly unrecognizable. These broken bricks lead Dorothy and Billina the hen to a stone cold Emerald City. In the end of the adventure, Dorothy defeats the Nome King and retrieved the stolen Ruby Slippers that made it possible for him to conquer Oz. When Dorothy clicks her heels she wishes Oz back to normal again. It is not clarified if the road is magically put back together; but since the Emerald City is restored, it suggest that the road was most likely fixed as well.
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.
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.