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Adapting The Wizard of OzMusical Versions from Baum to MGM and Beyond$
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Danielle Birkett and Dominic McHugh

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190663179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190663179.001.0001

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“Arlen and Harburg and More, Oh My!”

“Arlen and Harburg and More, Oh My!”

The Cumulative Creation of the Oz Songs

(p.53) 3 “Arlen and Harburg and More, Oh My!”
Adapting The Wizard of Oz

Laura Lynn Broadhurst

Oxford University Press

The extant sources for the songs in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz— draft lyrics, studio piano-vocal manuscripts, early screenplays, production records, etc.—afford fascinating insight into their creation. Drawing from such largely untapped archival materials, this chapter reveals that each song within the completed film—as an individual, fixed “work”—was created via cumulative authorship along a figurative assembly line. To demonstrate this phenomenon, the evolution of the songs is traced through their successive developmental stages over the course of the film’s three production phases: Pre-Production (genesis of the songs by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, arrangement by MGM staff, orchestration by yet different studio personnel, prerecording with orchestra); Production (shoot-to-playback); Post-Production (underscoring by MGM music director Herbert Stothart and staff, continued development of the songs by Stothart and staff, previews and musical editing, final cut released).

Keywords:   Arlen, Harburg, Stothart, songs, creation, authorship

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