Little Lyman Baum had a childhood that can only be described as magical. His active young mind was nurtured by his parents, allowing his imagination to flourish. Through the years this creative mind would bring forth some innovative ideas that were creatively successful, but financial failures. This unfortunately caused others to regard him as a hopeless dreamer who lacked direction.

Baum had a special love for children and was always telling stories and entertaining. One of the captivating favorites was a story about a girl named Dorothy who traveled to a magic land. Baum only told pieces of the story here and there, and if it weren’t for his wife who insisted he write it down, the full story would’ve never been told.

Since its publication in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has become one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. As one Baum historian has stated “Could there possibly be a more indelible series of characters than these! {Referring to the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion}. That all came out of the imagination of one mind.” Including The Wizard of Oz, here are 5 movies whose originality in concept sparks the imagination and fills the heart with child-like wonder.

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It is believed that more people have seen this 1939 film than any other movie in motion picture history. L. Frank Baum named the main character “Dorothy” in honor of his niece, with whom he shared a close relationship. Dorothy Gage was his wife’s brother’s daughter. Dorothy died at a young age and Baum finished the book years later. Several incarnations of the movie came later, including a sequel Return to Oz in 1985, a made-for-tv movie The Dreamer of Oz, and a prequel Oz The Great and Powerful.

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Four years after his breakout role in Splash, Tom Hanks created box-office gold in Big. Here, 13-year-old Josh Baskin becomes a 30-year-old man over night after a Zoltar Machine grants his wish to be “big.” The theme of the  movie is universal because after all, what child hasn’t wished they were older at one time or another. This film was the first movie with a female director to gross over $100 million at the box-office, and we’ll see if Fox can do it again when they turn it into a TV series.

 

What if your whole life was a TV show? The Truman Show takes this concept to the extreme as Truman Burbank slowly discovers the world around him is not the world he thought.

Larry Daley, an unemployed, divorced father gets a job as an all-night security guard at a museum. After the people are gone and the doors are locked, all the exhibits come to life. This film is a childhood fantasy incarnate and a veritable who’s who of Hollywood actors. Among the cast are Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, and Robin Williams.

If there’s one thing It’s A Wonderful Life taught us, it’s that one man’s life touches another. Such is the case with Benjamin Button, who is just like you and me…except that he ages backwards. Given the perspective, the story is a unique lesson about living life to the fullest.