The Wonderful Land of Oz (1969)

Despite being born in Bakersfield, CA, Barry Mahon volunteered to be in Britain’s Royal Air Force in 1941, achieving a record of five confirmed kills, two probables and three damaged planes, which earned him the British Distinguished Flying Cross in 1985. He was shot down in August of 1942, captured and imprisoned at Stalag Luft III. He managed to escape and was recaptured twice before he was finally liberated by Patton’s 3rd Army in 1945. It’s been claimed that Steve McQueen’s role in The Great Escape is based on Mahon.

Upon returning to America, he became the personal pilot and manager of Errol Flynn. This led to producing films like 1957’s Crossed Swords and 1959’s Cuban Rebel Girls, both of which had Flynn in them. The rest of his films, like Rocket Attack U.S.A.Sex Killer and Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico enter the world of exploitation and sexploitation. Further titles include Bunny Yeager’s Nude Camera, Hollywood Nudes ReportConfessions of a Bad Girl, P. P. S. (Prostitutes’ Protective Society), The Girl With the Magic Box and many, many more. And then there are his children’s films, like Santa’s Christmas Elf (Named Calvin), Jack and the Beanstalk and Thumbelina, which is part of one of the oddest movies I’ve ever seen — imagine exactly how much that statement covers — Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny.

An adaption of The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Mahon told The New York Times that he had hired Judy Garland to narrate this movie, which is the ultimate in carnie flim flam.

Mahon’s youngest son Channy, or Chandos Castle Mahon, plays our hero Tip. Yes, Dorothy doesn’t show up, but Glinda, the Tin Woodsman and the Scarecrow all do. However, they’re all embroiled in international intrigue and in-fighting between their kingdoms, I mean cardboard sets that wouldn’t be foreign in a late 60’s nudie-cutie.

Speaking of softcore, all of Jinjur’s Army of Revolt are played by incredibly attractive young women in band uniforms and knee high boots. “Something for daddy,” as they say. Speaking of fathers, there’s also a man with a giant pumpkin for a head that is brought to life and calls Tip dad.

This movie is completely frightening. There’s a papier-mache purple cow, a bug faced man and a scarecrow that looks more like Imhotep than Ray Bolger. You may never get it out of your brain and for that, I am sorry.

You can watch the Rifftrax version on Amazon Prime.

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