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Behind the wizard's curtain.

Posted by ESC on February 13, 2004

In Reply to: Behind the wizard's curtain. posted by Smokey Stover on February 13, 2004

: : :
: : : As a foreigner who study English as a second language,
: : : I run across phrases that's I've never seen anywhere,
: : : nor can I look up in my dictionaries.

: : : Therefore I come here a lot and read what you guys
: : : are writing. I thought this phrases over and over again but still have no clue.

: : : When, on earth, you use this expression "behind the wizard's curtain"?

: : : and does the " take it to the house"
: : : have another meaning besides the literal one?

: : Without more of the context, one can't be sure of the author's meaning, but by itself the expression brings to mind "The Wizard of Oz," a very popular and entertaining movie released in 1939 (like so many other wonderful films), based on a children's book published in 1900 by L. Frank Baum. When a cyclone (or tornado) ravages the part of Kansas where the little girl Dorothy lives on her parents' farm, she hits her head and loses consciousness. In this state she has an elaborate dream or fantasy, in which she has splendid adventures and learns to sing. The adventure is conjured up by a wizard who has a magic curtain and an impressive manner. At the end we learn that the magician is a friendly and benign traveling fraud, whose magic curtain is just a piece of cloth. As for the expression "take it to the house," wait for further comments from alii. SS

: The word I couldn't think of for the man behind the "magic curtain" was "illusionist," one who uses sleight-of-hand and artful flourishes to produce illusions for a public which will pay to be thus entertained. Today we would call him a magician, but I hate to use that word for Professor Marvel (= The Wizard of Oz, a.k.a. Frank Morgan), an itinerant illusionist with little equiplment and far less elaborate tricks than those we see today in expensive productions on TV or in large venues like gambling casinos. SS

From the movie:

Wizard: "Not so fast! Not so fast! I'll have to give the matter a little thought! Go away, and come back tomorrow!"

Dorothy: "Tomorrow? Oh, but I want to go home now!"

Wizard: "Do not arouse the wrath of The Great and Powerful Oz! I said come back tomorrow! The Great Oz has spoken!"

(Here I think the dog Toto pulls the curtain aside.)

Wizard: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Take it to the house. I'll have to look that one up. Musicians sometimes say, "Take it on home." Which, I think, means bring the tune to a close with a flourish.