The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's book written by L. Frank Baum in 1900. After its publication, the original book was reprinted countless times, often under the name "The Wizard of Oz". It is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated. It was adapted into many movies, musicals and stage productions. One of the most famous adaptations is the 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland as Dorothy. Like Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, the story chronicles the adventures of a girl transported to a strange and magical world.
In the 1939 movie version of the story (the details from the original book are quite different) Dorothy Gale lives with her Uncle Henry Gale and Aunt Emily Gale on a farm in Kansas, which is one day hit by a tornado. Dorothy is knocked unconscious and dreams that their home is caught in the cyclone's winds, with Dorothy still inside. It eventually lands in Munchkin Land ("Munchkin Country" in the books) which is part of the Land of Oz, dropping on the Wicked Witch of the East. The Good Witch of the North gives Dorothy the Wicked Witch of the East's ruby slippers and advises her to go to the Emerald City where she can consult the Wizard of Oz in order to return to Kansas. Dorothy follows the Yellow Brick Road's path to the Emerald City where she encounters trouble with the Wicked Witch of the West and meets some fascinating friends along the way.
See also: The Wizard of Oz (theory)
Though the book has never actually been featured in Lost (although it was mentioned by Locke in the episode "The Man Behind the Curtain", which takes its name from the film), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been compared to the TV series multiple times by fans. Its parallels to Lost have caused much speculation concerning the show's theories.
"Henry Gale," (the name Ben initially gives when captured) is the name of Dorothy's uncle in the 1939 film (in the book his surname is never mentioned). Also in the story, the Wizard travels to the land of Oz in a hot air balloon. In Lost, a man named Henry Gale, attempting to cross the Pacific Ocean in a hot air balloon, crashed on the Island. He somehow died and was buried next to his balloon. Benjamin Linus, a member of the Others, assumed this man's name when he was captured by Danielle Rousseau and given over to the survivors. He claimed that he was Henry Gale, a wealthy miner from Minnesota who crashed on the Island with his wife, Jennifer, in a hot air balloon. "Henry" further claimed his wife died of a mysterious sickness, a story he maintained even during a brutal interrogation by Sayid. It was cited by Damon Lindelof at Comic Con '06 as being a confirmed reference. This analogy could be taken one step further by assuming that "Henry", like the Wizard, was the "man behind the curtain", i.e. the real leader of the Others, while previously we were led to believe that Mr. Friendly (Tom), or to a greater degree Alvar Hanso, was in charge.
In the episode Lockdown, Locke is on the floor with the blast door crushing his leg. When the blast door opens and "Henry Gale" runs to him, Locke says "You came back." Ben/Henry says "Well of course I did. What did you think, I was going to leave you here?" In the Wizard of Oz movie, there is a scene with Dorothy locked in a room at the witch's tower. The Tin Man busts through the door. Dorothy says "You came back." And the Tin Man says "Well of course we would Dorothy, what did you think, we were going to leave you here?"
Another name reference is Tom (Mr. Friendly), an Other who was called Zeke by Sawyer. ("The Hunting Party") Zeke was one of Henry Gale's farmhands in the movie. Benjamin Linus, formerly known as "Henry Gale", seems to be at a higher level in the Others' chain of command than Tom, which could indicate that Tom "works" for him. A third name reference is James Goodwin, which is the Wizard's name in the Russian translation of The Wizard of Oz by Alexander Volkov . Goodwin is also the name of one of the Others in Lost.
To go further, both stories have an unseen, near-omnipotent character behind the scenes, calling the shots. In the show, it is Jacob. In the movie, it is the wizard or "the man behind the curtain."
In "Flashes Before Your Eyes", during Desmond's flashback, a man in red shoes is crushed by falling scaffolding and his legs are sticking out from the wreck, similar to a shot in the film of the Wicked Witch of the East's legs with the ruby slippers sticking out from under Dorothy's house.
The title for the episode "The Man Behind the Curtain" is a reference to the ruler of Emerald City (the titular Wizard) hiding behind a curtain (in the movie version), projecting a much greater image of himself unseen. Locke suspects Ben of orchestrating all of the Others' plans by means of deception, saying to him: "You're the man behind the curtain...the Wizard of Oz!"
The episode title for the season four finale, "There's No Place Like Home," is a phrase repeated over and over by Dorothy toward the end of the 1939 film.
In the fourth Wizard of Oz book written by L. Frank Baum, The Emerald City of Oz, Glinda the good makes the land of Oz invisible to outsiders, just as the Island is not visible to the outside world in Lost.
The scene in the 1939 film where Dorothy wakes up with a washcloth on her forehead and Auntie Em is telling her it was all a dream is similar to the scene where Charlotte is lying on the ground with Faraday wiping her forehead. Charlotte is recalling her experiences on the island and recalling that her mother told her it was her imagination.
Dorothy must use the power of shoes and belief to return home and Jack must use his father’s shoes and belief to return to the island.
- An ongoing chat room joke makes reference to the question of the four people on Michael's list (Kate, Hurley, Jack, and Sawyer), namely that they would perfectly represent the four main characters in the book: Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, respectively.
- Sawyer calls Munson "Murgatroyd" in reference to the cartoon character Snagglepuss, who in turn was modeled after Bert Lahr's character the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 film version of the Wizard of Oz. ("Every Man for Himself")
- The Dark Tower, a book series by Stephen King, whose works have been featured in Lost, is rife with Wizard of Oz references.
- In the novel "The Number of the Beast" by Robert Heinlein, Glinda the Good Witch reminds two pregnant women that nobody gives birth in Oz.
- "Oz" is a nickname for Australia, where the Losties flight originated.
- Many people assume that Uncle Henry's last name is "Gale", and his mailbox in the movie supports that notion, however Baum never mentioned it in any of the Oz books, and the books do not make it clear whether Henry or Em is Dorothy's blood relative.