Nightly News   |  September 20, 2013

Wizard of Oz debuts in 3-D

A newly revamped version of the classic movie that first opened in 1939 is back in theaters where it will run for a month. NBC’s Brian Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> starting tonight at select

>>> starting tonight at select locations across the country a big movie is making a return to the big screen , though not exactly as we remember it. it's "the wizard of oz " and this time it's on imax screens and in 3-d. as movies go, most people alive today can tell a story about "the wizard of oz " going back generations. little kids have been scared by it, scarred by it and amazed by it, often in equal measure. in all these years there's been nothing else like it really. here it comes again. only slightly different. somewhere over the rainbow

>> reporter: "the wizard of oz " changed everything because for generations of american movie watchers, it had everything. it was genuinely scary, magical, happy and sad and it remains all those things to this day.

>> it's captured the imagination of audiences for 75 years for the reason that every movie and every book that lasts does. it's an amazing story.

>> reporter: it had special effects that were revolutionary. only today can we appreciate how special they were. especially considering it was mostly shot inside these sound stages in hollywood where the witch's trap door survives, but not much else. among the last of the surviving munchkins, jerry maron of the lollipop guild got his hollywood star just this week at the age of 93. we wish to welcome you to munchkinland

>> reporter: the movie opened in 1939 , before the start of world war ii changed everything. fdr was president. a new airport opened in new york called laguardia. gm unveiled a new invention called automatic transmission, and the jefferson memorial was not yet built. yet when movie-goers first laid eyes on this technological marvel they thought they had seen the future.

>> it was a revolutionary film. it did things with color, sound that movies had not done before. this was a fantasy blockbuster.

>> reporter: just like its cast members, the movie had heart, and brains and courage. a young girl from kansas named dorothy gale . a good man who was a bad wizard. a good witch and a very bad witch. there was a tornado that would today be an f-5. there was auntie em and the ruby slippers and the flying monkeys and toto, too. there is also the great oz folklore. barely visible equipment and technical slip-ups. the fact that w.c. fields was originally supposed to play the wizard and buddy ebsen was the tinman until he had a nearly fatal reaction to the aluminum skin. perhaps that's why some are wondering if it need ed to be in 3-d. the imax version will run for only a month and requires special glasses. the original film will always be around and just requires imagination. there are lessons in the movie that endure about trust and good versus evil, but mostly about going home .

>> i'm not going to leave here ever, ever again. because i love you all.

>> reporter: an amazing film. a sentimental journey really, a part of american history . but it never got the oscar for best picture because the year it came out, another film got in the way. it was called "gone with the wind."