Joining Dorothy in her imaginary technicolor escape from justice are the three men who work on her family farm, now dressed up like freaks, and an even older man who pretended to read her fortune (in his trailer!) that very day. Her choice of companions are problematic in my book, but I'll get to that in a minute. The real problem with The Wizard Of Oz is that Dorothy's dream was never meant to be a dream at all. This right here is the first part of the hidden darkness we promised you a few paragraphs ago.
When L. Frank Baum wrote The Wizard Of Oz, he played the story straight. As in, Dorothy really did travel to Oz and meet a Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man, and those three friends weren't lazy analogues for the adult men in her life. (This explains why he was able to wrote more than a dozen of these books without this poor girl getting a concussion every time out.) It was MGM, the studio behind the movie, that looked at the box office numbers behind recent fantasy movies and decided audiences needed their witch and wizard stories grounded in reality. So they settled on the tired old Alice In Wonderland "It was all a dream" ending explanation.
Walt Disney Pictures
Why was this a big deal? In one two-minute scene, the studio stripped Dorothy of her entire adventure and turned her into a crazy person. Without the dream, Dorothy is Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, and E.T. rolled into one, and she was conceived and in print before most Americans had flushing toilets in their homes. Without the dream, she's a real-deal witch slaughterer who travels on foot across a country that no one in her world had ever seen before. She builds a team of fellow adventurers, exposes a fraudulent leader, and liberates two different races of Oz from bondage. She even survives a heroin overdose.
Turn her whole story into a dream, and we've got problems. For one thing, this young girl passes out, wakes up, and blurts out that the three men who work on her aunt and uncle's farm were with her in her dream. Not her aunt or uncle, just their workers. So ... the whole thing was a sex dream, right? If Dorothy was a teenage guy and dreamed about traveling on his own with three older, familiar women in the hopes of meeting a fourth older, familiar woman, there would have been a fluid situation to deal with upon waking.