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Turnstone Column: John Maiden discusses The Wizard of Oz and The Green in Hunstanton





In his weekly Turnstone column, Hunstanton writer John Maiden discusses The Wizard of Oz…

‘The Wizard Of Oz’ was always going to feature in today's column because it was shown on Channel 5 television on Easter Sunday afternoon.

However, quite by chance, I came across a Turnstone column dated April 12, 2011 entitled ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’, which deserves a brief mention today after being filed away in a drawer for the past 13 years.

The Green in Hunstanton
The Green in Hunstanton

Needless to say, the 1939 film of the story by Fank L Baum is a lifetime favorite for me, together with ‘It's a Wonderful Life’.

This makes me wonder why comparatively few films seem to have been made for viewing by a family audience!

Before my focus switched to the 2011 local elections, I mentioned the only stage performances of Oz that I had ever seen.

The Green in Hunstanton
The Green in Hunstanton

The first was at the small rural Secondary Modern School in East Suffolk where my teaching career began in July 1963. This was excellent, but the Smithdon High School production, staged in March 2011, was even more outstanding.

Looking back, it struck me just how much Brian Hallard and his hard working team - which includes many volunteers - have done over the past decade to turn around the Princess Theatre.

Prior to 2011, it was looking increasingly likely that the Princess, formerly the art deco Capitol Cinema, would be converted into flats - or worse still, flattened to make way for yet another tasteless apartment block!

Fortunately, the use of carrstone helps Hamon Court to blend in with its surroundings. It is to be hoped that the design and materials used in the revamped bus station will do even more to protect the character and appearance of St Edmund's Terrace at its junction with Westgate.

This brings me to one of my favorite scenes from ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, which is when Dorothy's little dog, Toto, pulls back a curtain to reveal the man pretending to be the wizard. Dorothy then tells the 'non-wizard' that he is very bad man.

To which he replies that he is really a very good man, just a very bad wizard!

The councillors and council employees responsible for failing to prevent a 'non-pier' from spoiling The Green, which is at the very heart of the Hunstanton Conservation Area, would probably say much the same thing.

Unfortunately, for such simple minded individuals, making a mistake is one thing, but covering it up is a much more serious matter.

This is even the case for 'munchkins', who probably imagine they are living somewhere over the rainbow, or under a thoroughly autocratic regime where legitimate questions remain unanswered for decades.



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