Yip Harburg: the man behind the Munchkins
by Noah Tucker / 21stCenturySocialism / April 15th 2013
The banning of all but seven seconds of ‘Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead’ from airplay by the BBC is not the first time that Yip Harburg’s work has been subject to censorship. Harburg, who wrote all the lyrics and much of the dialogue for The Wizard of Oz, was blacklisted as a communist sympathiser by the Un-American Activities Committee of the US Congress, preventing him from being employed in the American film and television industries from 1951 to 1962.
And it is indeed fitting that the cheerful ditty which has recently come to symbolise contempt for Margaret Thatcher and her poisonous legacy should be a song written by Harburg, who was a socialist, anti-racist and anti-war activist. Harburg fully intended The Wizard of Oz to work as a parable for the struggle of…
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