My Story, Yours Too.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Scarecrow and Me

A tribute to one of the world's most shining stars, Ray Bolger (aka The Scarecrow)


                                      Ray Bolger, The Scarecrow, age 76, 1980

Robyn and Ray, Universal Studios, Burbank, CA, 1980

One of the most phenomenal people to grace this planet, Ray Bolger, lived from 1904 until 1987. This singer, actor, and dancer performed in over 30 feature films and Broadway musicals. Most notably, Ray Bolger played the Scarecrow in MGM's 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz.

The release of Oz, the movie (which critics don't like), prompted me to dig up these old pictures. I grew up in Los Angeles, where every other person and their plastic surgeon was/is a star - in reality or in their dreams. I went to school with a Mouseketeer and to college with Loni Anderson's daughter. My dad passed drugs to folks like Cher and Steven Seagal (as their pharmacist), and we played on the Temple School playground with a young Jack Black. No encounter, though, was as exciting as this one: meeting Ray Bolger.

I'm chilled looking at these pictures and reading about him. Not only was his talent incomparable, Ray Bolger had heart. We spied him while watching a show at Universal Studios in Burbank. After the show, we asked if we could take his picture. Without hesitation, and with beaming warmth, Ray obliged. So, there I am with Ray Bolger.  

When asked if he gets residuals for telecasts of The Wizard of Oz, Ray replied, "No, just immortality. I'll settle for that."

Dear Ray,

I'm sorry my dad snapped this picture when the sun was in your eyes. I'm also sorry that I didn't put my arm around you, but I was too shy. Plus, I was so tiny that it might've been seen as an inappropriate gesture. Thank you for posing for this photograph. I'll always treasure it.

You were so loving, joyful, and full of life, and nobody can dance like you could.


This is a clip of The Scarecrow's dance that was deleted from the original. Click on "Skip Ad" on the right to watch it.


  1. That is cool you got to meet him, even if it prob didn't register so much at the time. Oz is making a crap load of money though, already a sequel is being prepped, figures. #1 what fun!

  2. Robyn, that's amazing you met him! (And so many others.) Immortality - isn't that what we are all after.

  3. How awesome is that!! I loved the Scarecrow!! That is such a neat experience for you. :)

  4. I still want to see the new oz film

  5. What a wonderful picture. He sounds like a nice man to think that being remembered is of value in lieu of money. Sadly, I think most celebs today would be far more interested in the royalties than if people ever remembered them.

    I adored the original movie as a child. Back then it was aired once a year on TV and it was a big deal when it came on.

    I am planning on going to see the movie in the next few days. I have heard both good and bad but being associated to a movie that is the most watched movie EVER would be tough. They had the extra burden to have to not step close to any copyright infringement. The comparison probably isn't helping the cause.

    Your little letter to Ray is darling! I hope he sees it and appreciates how sweet it is.

  6. You were adorable then Robyn and still are! Ray Bolger was extremely talented, and I loved him in The Wizard of Oz. I really liked your thoughtful letter. I would love to hear more stories from your childhood.


  7. I'm a big fan of Ray Bolger, too. When I got bored at work, I'd hum 'If I only had a brain. . ."

  8. Funny that you know Diedra Bickel too. (Loni's daughter). We went to high school together. She was close friends with a friend. I always thought she was nice and very down to earth.

    I've been mean to call you. We are going through a rough time now with my step daughter. Hope you are doing well.

  9. What a treat, to meet the scarecrow. Lucky you!

  10. He was Dorothy's favourite, wasn't he? I'm sorry to hear he wasn't paid whenever the film was broadcast. Isn't that normal practice today?

  11. He really got screwed out of some money there, such is the case with hollywood.

  12. Pat, congrats on being first! Course, here is much easier than at your blog or Alex's. But I still appreciate my #1 folks. Thanks.

    Alex, yes. Isn't that why we all have babies in the form of kids or blogs or books? I believe it is.

    BabySis, he was so lovable. Thank you.

    Adam, it does intrigue me. If the reviews were glowing, I'd be tempted, but I feel too loyal to the original.

    Cheryl, thanks for your perspective. I hadn't thought about copyright laws. That must've been quite a challenge to navigate. I hope you love the movie.

    EmptyNest, you're always sweet. Now I'm trying to find the piece I wrote about Jack Black.

    DG, that's cute. I love that you hummed it. I keep envisioning the scene in which he very whimsically does the splits and pulls himself back up while dancing. (It's in the clip). It blows my mind.

    Genice, she is very nice, down-to-earth and gorgeous. I'm still friends with her. Hi, Dee, if you're reading this.

    MsA, it's even more awesome in retrospect. Good to see you back here.

    GB, yeah, stars are spoiled today compared to how things used to be. And they used to be deserving back then too.

    John, yes. See above. Then again, you know this and probably have some great inside stories.

    Thanks, all.

  13. That is such a cool picture with a great story behind it. It gives it so much more character.

    Also, what a great man. He had it figured out. The key is immortality. That money isn't going to keep you in people's hearts after you're gone.

  14. He did have a heart Robyn - I don't think the tin man did tho..

  15. so this makes me two links from The Scarecrow. I loved both of those movies, the original and this latest. and the scarecrow was always my fav

  16. Absolutely wonderful tribute to who sounds like a wonderful man Robyn, absolutely love this post, really good you got to meet him.

  17. Wow, what a great experience. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Robyn, that is so cool...and I meant the fact your hair hasn't changed in thirty years! Oh yeah, and the Scarecrow photo is so personal for you.

  19. Awww it's so cool that you got to meet him :D

  20. Such a great picture and story to go with it. Nice memory and post - Thanks! W.C.C.

  21. BnB, well said. Thank you.

    David, you know he was initially supposed to play the Tin Man but he advocated for The Scarecrow. Thank goodness.'

    KW, glad you liked both movies. I hear they're very different.

    YW, it was awesome. Thank you.

    Esmerelda, thanks for stopping by.

    Chuck, for one day in the 90s I had straight hair, then the wind blew in back into what you see in whatever picture you look at of me.

    PeaceLoveSharpies, thank you. Good to meet you here!

    WCC, you're welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

    Happy Friday, everyone.

  22. The Wizard of Oz will always be one of my all-time favorite movies. I think it's wonderful you had the chance to meet him and have the pic to remind you always. Whether he got residuals or immortality, it's his happiness and inner glow that I'm sure were the most important to him.

  23. I never knew the scarecrow's real name.
    What a nice memory to have!

  24. No prob, Robyn. I think Farawayeyes is a cool nickname!
    I once had several bloggers' windows opened and posted a comment about the topic of one's into the comment space of another. She must've thought I was crazy to be commenting on a topic that had nothing to do with her post! lol

  25. I loved the Wizard of Oz and Mr. Bolger. At one time I had all the songs memorized. How thrilling to have met such an amazing man. He got what he wanted, Immortality!

  26. So you are telling me it wasn't a real scarecrow that was in the Wizard of Oz?!? It was an actor!

  27. Oh wow, how cool! Youre so lucky. We have such lame celebrities in Australia. lol

    Seriously I loved the Wizard as a kid, ,still do and he was my favourite character. There is something gentle and yet heartbreaking about his face.

    Thanks so much for sharing. A wonderful moment. I'm sure he would be very pleased that you have kept his immortality burning, not just the movie, but the man.


  28. It's great having that photo and experience. I mostly remember him from all the TV shows he he appeared in. I even remember his character of Mayor Threadbare on the Red Skelton show. I think he was the Mayor of Central Park or something like that.

  29. Lexa, thanks for understanding and for your comments.

    Ruth, most people don't. I only do because I met him, but our Scarecrow lives on.

    Teri, he did indeed.

    PTM, psst, Santa isn't real either.

    Anthony, you're right about his face. He seemed to have a full, loving life and was married for 57 years. But he was so sensitive; he must've been through tough times and heartbreak too.

    Pat, thanks for sharing those memories. I don't remember seeing him on TV, but he did so many shows. We tend to forget about all of it except the Wizard.


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