The Dark Side of the Rainbow

DSOTR

One of the most pervasive rumors about The Wizard of Oz is that if you play Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album while watching the movie, the music synchronizes with the action of the film.  Members of Pink Floyd have always insisted that any connections between Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz are purely coincidental, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor from gaining momentum.  In fact, it’s become so widely-known, Turner Classic Movies has played Dark Side of the Moon on their SAP track during past broadcasts of the movie.

Since The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies and Dark Side of the Moon is one of my favorite albums, I couldn’t resist trying this out for myself.

Dark Side of the Moon is only about forty minutes long, so you’ll have to listen to the album about two and a half times to make it through the whole movie. The most noteworthy synchronizations happen during the first time the album plays:

  • The line, “Balanced on the biggest wave,” from the song “Breathe” is sung as Dorothy is balancing on a fence.
  • The tone of “The Great Gig in the Sky” fits well with the tornado scene.
  • Munchkins appear to dance in time to the song “Money.”
  • Glinda’s exit coincides with the line, “…and out,” from “Us and Them.”
  • The heartbeat at the end of the album is heard as Dorothy knocks on the Tin Man’s chest, listening for a heartbeat.

There are some other less specific syncs, too. The song “Time” plays as Dorothy sees Professor Marvel’s wagon with “Past, Present, and Future” painted on the side and the part when the Scarecrow sings “If I Only Had a Brain” comes up during the song “Brain Damage.”

The second and third play-throughs aren’t as interesting, but there are some notable moments like:

  • “All you destroy,” from “Eclipse” being sung as the Wicked Witch smashes her hourglass.
  • The line, “Waiting for someone or something to show you the way,” from the song “Time” comes up as Glinda comes to tell Dorothy how to get back home.
  • “The time has gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say,” from “Time” and “Home, home again,” from the reprise of “Breathe” match up with the Oz scenes ending and Dorothy waking up at home again.

Note: A far more comprehensive list of alleged synchronizations can be found here.

I’ll admit that watching The Wizard of Oz this way had some pretty interesting moments, but on the whole, it was kind of overrated. The parts that were good were definitely outnumbered by the moments that weren’t very remarkable. But then again, I wasn’t under the influence of any mind-altering substances when I tried this.

If you’d like to check out the Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon phenomenon for yourself, all you have to do is get a CD of Dark Side of the Moon or make an MP3 playlist of the album, make sure its set to repeat, and start playing the movie. Don’t start playing the album immediately after starting the movie.  There are several theories about exactly when you should start playing the album. Some people start it after the third roar of the MGM lion, others prefer it after the second lion roar.  Or, if you’re having a hard time getting it to work either way, you might be able to find pre-synchronized versions on YouTube.

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