Yellow brick road

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Yellow brick road
Cowardly lion2.jpg
Dorothy meets the Cowardly Lion, while traveling on the Yellow Brick Road.
The Oz series location
Creator L. Frank Baum
Genre Children's books
Type Yellow road, leading to Emerald City

The road of yellow brick is an element in the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, with additional such roads appearing in The Marvelous Land of Oz and The Patchwork Girl of Oz. It has a sister road, the Red Brick Road, which leads south to the Country of the Quadlings. The 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, based on the novel, gave it the name by which it is better known, the Yellow Brick Road (it is never referenced by that title in the original novel). In the original book and in the later film The Wiz, Dorothy has to find the road, as her house was not deposited directly in front of it as in the 1939 film.


The road is introduced in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The road functions as a guideline for Dorothy to follow, as it leads to the Emerald City where the Wizard is. In the book, the road is not complete in some parts, even by being completely damaged by erosion or other means. In the second book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Tip and Jack Pumpkinhead likewise follow a yellow brick road to reach the Emerald City while traveling from the Gillikin Country in the north of Oz.[1] In the book The Patchwork Girl of Oz, it is revealed that there are two yellow brick roads from Munchkin Country to the Emerald City: according to the Shaggy Man, Dorothy took the harder one in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.[1] While the road taken by the Shaggy Man etc. has man-eating plants, it lacks the chasms of the road Dorothy followed, and it does not go through a forest of wild beasts.

In the 1939 film, a red brick road can be seen starting at the same point as the Yellow Brick Road but going in a different direction. This road does not exist in the books.

At the cornfield where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, there is a fork in the Yellow Brick Road. They decide which of the three branches to take, and eventually find themselves at the Emerald City.

In the 1985 semi-sequel Return to Oz, Dorothy finds the Yellow Brick Road in ruins at the hands of the evil Nome King. It is presumed that after she defeats him, the Road is restored.

Real yellow brick roads[edit]

The inspiration behind the Yellow Brick Road is disputed. According to local legend, the Yellow Brick Road was derived from a road paved with yellow bricks near Holland, Michigan, where Baum spent summers.[citation needed] Yellow brick roads can also be found in Aberdeen, South Dakota; Albany, New York; Rossville (Baltimore County), Maryland; Montclair, New Jersey (Parkhurst Place and Afterglow Way); Bronxville, New York (on Prescott and Valley roads); Chicago, Illinois; Liberal, Kansas; Sedan, Kansas; and Syracuse, New York, as well as a school in Abington, Pennsylvania[disambiguation needed] and abroad in Sofia, Bulgaria. Historian John Curran believes the original road was in Peekskill, New York; older maps show that it would have been the quickest route from the docks on the Hudson River to the Peekskill Military Academy, which Baum attended as a child.[2]

The Vision Oz Fund was established in November 2009 to raise funds that will be used to help increase the awareness, enhancement, and further development of Oz-related attractions and assets in Wamego, Kansas. The first fundraiser is underway and includes selling personalized engraved yellow bricks, which will become part of the permanent walkway (aka "The Yellow Brick Road") in downtown Wamego.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Inspired the title of the Elton John album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and its title song.
  • Inspired the title of the song by hip-hop artist Eminem.
  • Inspired the title of the song by American musician, artist and poet Don Van Vliet, also known as Captain Beefheart, on his 1967 album Safe as Milk.
  • A song by Arctic Monkeys is called "Old Yellow Bricks."
  • Commenting on the song "The Sweet Escape," singer Gwen Stefani stated that it would put her "on the yellow brick road to the No Doubt record I might do."[4]
  • Oprah Winfrey has referred to her success as a "yellow brick road of blessings" during both the announcement of the decision to end her talk show and the farewell episode.[5][6]
  • Angus and Julia Stone also referred to the Yellow Brick Road in a song of the same name.
  • The American band Breaking Benjamin also referred to the Yellow Brick Road in their song "Home".
  • In "Gypsy," a song from Lady Gaga's ARTPOP, she sings "So I just packed my baggage and / Said goodbye to family and friends / And took a road to nowhere on my own / Like Dorothy on the yellow brick / Hope my ruby shoes get us there quick."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b L. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, The Annotated Wizard of Oz, p 107, ISBN 0-517-50086-8
  2. ^ Banjo, Shelly (31 May 2011). "Historian Believes if You Follow the Yellow Brick Road, You End Up in Peekskill". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Wamego Community Foundation". Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  4. ^ "For The Record: Quick News On Rihanna, Luda, Lady Sov, Kelis, Nas, Harry Potter, Angelina Jolie & More". MTV News. MTV Networks. December 14, 2006. Retrieved December 25, 2006. 
  5. ^ "Oprah Announces Plans to End The Oprah Winfrey Show in September 2011". November 20, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Oprah Signs Off After 25 Years of The Oprah Winfrey Show". May 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ Lady Gaga (2013). Gypsy (Music). Berlin, Germany. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Dighe, Ranjit S. ed. The Historian's Wizard of Oz: Reading L. Frank Baum's Classic as a Political and Monetary Allegory (2002)
  • Hearn, Michael Patrick (ed). (2000, 1973) The Annotated Wizard of Oz. W. W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-04992-2
  • Ritter, Gretchen. "Silver slippers and a golden cap: L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and historical memory in American politics." Journal of American Studies (August 1997) vol. 31, no. 2, 171-203. online at JSTOR
  • Rockoff, Hugh. "The 'Wizard of Oz' as a Monetary Allegory," Journal of Political Economy 98 (1990): 739-60 online at JSTOR