The Wizard of Oz, a cinematic classic, celebrates 85-years with a return to the big screen next week and some locals eager to embrace the milestone as two Folsom area venues are among the select theaters participating in the special occasion presented by Fathom Events.

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The film will run from Jan. 28 through Jan. 31 and is part of Fathom’s Big Screen Classics series. The series, only being featured in select theaters across the nation, features a number of landmark screenings that span 60 years of cinema.  

This year, Fathom’s spotlight is on 13-different films that were released from 1939 and 1999 with The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind topping the list, both celebrating their 85th anniversary of their silver screen debut. 

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Locally, The Wizard of Oz Fathom Events are scheduled for Folsom’s Cinemark Century 14 theater on Iron Point Road and at Regal Theater in El Dorado Hills Town Center. Both theaters have listed a limited number of showings of the film beginning on Sunday and continuing through Wednesday. Both theaters are showing a matinee of the film on Sunday to welcome families with young audiences that may have never seen the film. 

Oz was originally released in 1939 and was based on the book of the same name by L. Frank Baum. While it wasn’t an immediate financial success or popular with critics, it notably became one the most enduring family films of all time. After being deemed culturally, historically or aesthetically significant to the country’s film heritage, in was among the very films selected in 1989 for inclusion into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

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As the film hits the big screen once again, local resident Eric Adams is among those looking forward to its return. Adams is the owner of Folsom’s Bacchus House Bistro and Wine Bar. In 2022 the longtime “Oz” fan shared his love for the film with the community as he transformed his restaurant into an eye-opening tribute to the film, complete with Hollywood quality full-sized characters from the scarecrow all the way down to the flying monkeys and everything in between. 

Visitors to the restaurant not only entered the display on an actual yellow brick road to see the spectacle, they contributed to a good cause at the same time. In the end, a portion of proceeds from the restaurant during the display contributed to a donation of $80,000 to Shriners Children’s Hospital. 

This year, Adams isn’t bringing the display back just yet. He is, however, planning to revisit the film on the big screen locally and he isn’t going alone to experience it.

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“Oh this is a delightful opportunity for everyone to revisit their childhood and follow the yellow brick road,” said Adams. “And to see it on the big screen, the way it was meant to be seen back in 1939 is Epic! I’m taking my whole staff.” 

While there will be many like Adams attending a local showing to revisit the film they grew up watching over and over, for others it’s an opportunity to share the film they loved with their newest generation. Megan Hoffman-Davis of Folsom is just that. Davis plans on taking her grand children, ages 8 and 9 to see the film this Sunday Century Folsom.

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“Seeing the movie is certainly nothing new for myself, I have watched over and over through the years, it will be the first time seeing it at an actual theater though,” she said. “Seeing my grand kiddos experience it like his for the first time will be the real joy for me. This is a film every child should see, it’s just the best.”

By now, most of us know the synopsis of the film that stars Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, a young Kansas farm girl who dreams of a land “somewhere over the rainbow.” Dorothy’s dream comes true when she, her dog Toto, and her family’s house are transported by a tornado to a bright and magical world unlike anything she has seen before.

Unfortunately, Dorothy is introduced to the wicked witch of the west when her house falls on her sister, the wicked witch of the east. Befriended by a brainless scarecrow, a tin man with no heart and a cowardly lion, and protected by a pair of enchanted ruby slippers, Dorothy sets off along the yellow brick road for the Emerald City destined to locate the all-powerful Wizard of Oz, whom she is told can assist her in returning home.

In addition to the showing of the original film, Oz, and other movies in the Fathom series ahead, will also feature film historian and critic Leonard Maltin, who will open the presentation and provide insights into the films, sharing his one-of-a-kind expertise with fans.

For local showtimes of the film, visit the local theater websites or go to www.fandango.com where you can purchase advance tickets and reserved seating for select shows. 

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan