Somewhere Over the (Dark Side of the) Rainbow

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When it comes to the wonderful world of film, I hold The Wizard of Oz on a pedestal above all other movies. Not necessarily because it’s a favorite of mine, but because its lasting power impresses me in a way that I can’t put into words. The fact that it was released almost 80 years ago and still stands the test of time is something I’d be willing to bet L. Frank Baum (and his interpreters at MGM) never imagined.

The story of The Wizard of Oz, which was originally published in 1900, has been re-imagined time and time again over the last century. But, as we Ease On Down to 2018, we still see that the 1939 theatrical version, which starred Judy Garland, continues to be the face of the story and is the film everyone has seen (if you haven’t, stop reading this right now and go watch it).

One of the stranger concepts that has come with this film is its alleged correlation to Pink Floyd’s historic album, “The Dark Side of the Moon”. It’s said that if you play the album, starting with Side A/Track 1, and line it up with the start of the film, the songs fit with the actions on screen. Now, it is highly unlikely that this was ever Pink Floyd’s intention. However, it is still an interesting notion.

According to Goldmine Magazine, “Urban legend claims that if you play Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” while watching The Wizard of Oz, there’s an incredible synchronicity that could only come about had the band literally planned the entire album around the movie.”

I first heard of this from an acting teacher I had as a teenager. She claimed that playing the two mediums at the same time created a poetic combination of sight and sound. It wasn’t until years later that I opted to try this for myself and see if it actually worked.

Theoretically, I had everything I needed: a DVD of The Wizard of Oz and an original vinyl album of “The Dark Side of the Moon”. I followed the rules (see below) and was hoping to have my mind blown. What wound up happening was something that I’d expected – I was unimpressed. My guess is because I wasn’t tripping on acid in a dorm room circa 1979.

Some of the music synced up with the film, which was cool when you caught it. But, it wasn’t a religious experience like it had been described to me. There’s always a chance that it was slightly out-of-sync or I just wasn’t in the right mood to correctly perceive it, but it was kind of a let down.

Laser Floyd

However, about a year later, I attended Laser Floyd at House of Blues (which, if you are unaware, is exactly what it sounds like – it’s hours of Pink Floyd music with lasers). At one point while playing “Time”, they began playing the scene in Ozwhen Dorothy arrives in Munchkin Land for the first time. And, to my surprise, the tune fit the scene perfectly. (Again, I was not tripping on acid).

Pink Floyd has denied their music having any connection or inspiration from the film, with drummer Nick Mason memorably stating on MTV, “It’s absolute nonsense. It has nothing to do with The Wizard of Oz. It was all based on The Sound of Music.”

We may never know exactly who, what, where, when, or why what’s now known as “The Dark Side of the Rainbow” was created, but it’s certainly something for movie and music fans alike to look into. So, how does it work? Check out the directions below. Regardless of the results, The Wizard of Oz and “The Dark Side of the Moon” are amazing creations on their own. Comment below and let us know your experience!

How to watch “The Dark Side of the Rainbow” (credit – Goldmine)

  1. Insert “Dark Side of the Moon” into your CD player; press play. Once the album starts to play, press pause, then press the track rewind to take you back to the very beginning of the first track.
  2. Set your CD player for album repeat.
  3. Start “The Wizard of Oz” DVD. We recommend going into the menu and choosing subtitles to play with the movie, because it lets the music to take the spotlight, but you can continue to follow the movie without getting distracted by spoken dialogue. Our DVD copy of the movie was free of pesky previews, so we could just select “play movie.”
  4. Wait for the black and white MGM lion to appear. Once he roars for the third time, hit play on the CD player. Press mute or turn down the volume on your TV (or crank up the volume in your headphones if others wish to watch the movie as it was originally made).
  5. Confirm the album and movie are in sync. According to eHow.com, when you see the credit “Produced by Mervyn LeRoy,” the credit should be fading amid the transition from “Speak to Me” to “Breathe.”
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