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What do Shopping windows and the Wizard of Oz have in common? Its inventor: L.Frank Baum.

Baum_1911

According to Backstory: A History of Shopping Frank Baum revolutianized the Shopping window.

He was impressed at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair specially with the White City with electrical light.

Shopping window as entertainment

It was about display.(…) They piled everything in the shopping windows. They did not have any sense of decoration or design or display. Baum realized that he was the perfect person to bring showmanship to retail. He knew about theater and he knew about sales. (…) In 1897 Frank Baum launched a magazine called the Show window. It was the trade journal for window designers and it quickly became the most influential in its field. Within months tens of thousands of retailers were reading it. The Show window featured photographs of the best shows in the country and detailed instructions on how to create mechanical butterflies, revolving electrical stars and even magic tricks like a disimboding head that would fly out of the store and smile and wink at people at the street.”

Macys-Corbis-1946

Values of Shopping culture

Within a decade or two every department store in America had fantastic windows. (…)

How do we explain the fact that the same person who wrote the Wonderful Wizard of Oz also changed the face of Shopping? Well, for Baum there was nothing strage about it. W ith the Oz books he created a modernized fairy tail. With optimistic, forward-thinking values. The same values that made the show window a success. It’s a story about a little girl who gets transported from a life of poverty into an enchanted land where everything is bright and colorful and new. In the original Oz books Dorothy brings her whole family back to live with here in the Emerald City and when they get there this is how Baum describes it: “Here everything that was dear to a little girl’s heart was supplied in profusion and nothing so rich and beautiful could have ever been found in the biggest department store in America”.

Emerald City is the Department Store

The Emerald City is the Deparment Store. The biggest department store ever imagined.

We want to be fooled

The people in Oz can take every time their glasses but they rather believe in this massive fraud.

“I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad wizard”. We want to be fooled. That is the foundation of cinema, is the foundation of theater, is the foundation of entertainment and video games. And maybe is the foundation of SHOPPING.

Source: https://soundcloud.com/backstory/sets/counter-culture-a-history-of

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