American Experience: American Oz

American Experience: American Oz

Mon, 04/19/2021 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm

L. Frank Baum

Explore the life and times of author L. Frank Baum, the creator of one of the most beloved, enduring and classic American narratives.

By 1900, when The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published, Baum was 44 years old and had spent much of his life in restless pursuit of success. With mixed results he dove into a string of jobs  — chicken breeder, actor, marketer of petroleum products, shopkeeper, newspaperman, and traveling salesman — Baum continued to reinvent himself, reflecting a uniquely American brand of confidence, imagination, and innovation. During his travels to the Great Plains and on to Chicago during the American frontier’s final days, he witnessed a nation coming to terms with the economic uncertainty of the Gilded Age. But he never lost his childlike sense of wonder and eventually crafted his observations into a magical tale of survival, adventure, and self-discovery, reinterpreted through the generations in films, books, and musicals. American Experience: American Oz airs Monday, April 19 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.