The Yellow Brick Load

Synchronicity, or a clinking, clanking, clattering collection of calliginous junk?

While by no means the definitive road map to maximum synchronicitude, the following timeline pinpoints a few of the more interesting overlaps between The Wizard of Oz and Dark Side of the Moon. Follow, follow, follow, follow.

2:10: Little Dorothy Gale runs back to the farmhouse to tell Auntie Em that Almira Gulch wants Toto's hide. She passes a tree with a hanging triangle, behind which the rails of a fence bend off into the distance. Dark Side's familiar cover art features an equilateral-shaped prism with a rainbow-colored ray of light shining through it.

3:46: Dorothy falls off the fence into a pigsty (but doesn't get dirty) as guitarist David Gilmour sings "And balanced on the biggest wave/You race towards an early grave" (from "Breathe"). A corn- and barbiturate-fed Judy Garland died on the toilet on June 22, 1969 -- the second day of the Summer of Love, in the year that America sent a man to the moon.

7:00: As Dorothy sings "Over the Rainbow," her eyes appear to follow the helicopter sounds and jeering laughter of Floyd's "On the Run" across the sky. Did 1939's Academy Award-winning songstress forget to take her medicine?

7:54: Clock racket goes haywire when Almira Gulch first pedals across the landscape ("Time") in the tornado sequence. Like Syd Barrett's "Bike" -- a cut from Floyd's 1967 Piper at the Gates of Dawn -- her 'cycle has a basket and a bell "to make it look good."

19:16-19:22: The only silent break on the album. Dorothy opens the door to Oz in one of the most vibrant -- and costly -- moments in cinematic history. Floyd's "Money" begins.

21:02: Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, appears in her floating pink bubble. Dark Side welcomes her with a resounding Bronx cheer: "Don't give me that do goody good bullshit."

22:04: Glinda plays a mean air wand.

27:26 - 29:11: During Floyd's "Us and Them," the Lullaby League enters the screen to "Us, us, us." The Lollipop Guild then enters to "Them, them, them." The Wicked Witch of the West enters the screen to "Black, black, black." It's wack!

37:00: Scarecrow sings "If I Only Had a Brain." Waters counters with "Brain Damage."

There's plenty of chaos math in the wonderful land of Oz, where three is a magic number.

For example, Dorothy makes three new friends and kills two out of three witches. MGM (count the letters) went through three directors during the Wizard of Oz's production: Richard Thorpe, George Cukor and Victor Flemming. The making of Oz sent three actors to the hospital: Buddy Ebsen (who inhaled aluminum dust from the makeup as the original Tin Woodsman), Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West was accidentally set on fire in Munchkin Land) and Betty Danko (a stunt witch who fell off her broom during the skywriting scene). During one scene, Scarecrow recites an impromptu mathematical theorem regarding the isosceles triangle. In order to finally return home, Dorothy clicks the heels of her ruby slippers in three sequences of three. Dark Side was Pink Floyd's ninth release, featured pyramid-based artwork and contained nine songs -- all divisible by three. L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful World of Oz, was a Mason of the 33rd degree. Judy Garland (born Frances Gumm) was the third and youngest member of the singing Gumm Sisters.


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