‘American Oz’ Spotlights Mind Behind ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ in Sneak Peek (VIDEO)

PBS’s American Experience is spotlighting famed author L. Frank Baum in its latest documentary, American Oz.

Debuting Monday, April 19, the special explores the life and times of the writer responsible for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was published in 1900. In an exclusive sneak peek clip from the documentary, the origin behind Dorothy’s story and the characters who accompany her to Oz is revealed.

“Baum set out to tell the story of Dorothy, a young orphan girl stranded in the vast and unforgiving American landscape. Dorothy’s dreary life on a Kansas farm is changed in a flash when a fierce cyclone drops her in a strange and wonderful land called Oz,” the narrator reveals in the opening moments of the clip.

More narration reveals that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is “a story of a journey and being given a challenge by a new world, where you have to learn what it is, face its dangers, find new friends, and get yourself together.”

book cover the wonderful wizard of oz

(Credit: Courtesy of PBS)

As the sneak peek plays out, learn more about Dorothy’s companions the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion, who help her achieve her goals. Plus, Baum’s commendably unconventional views and approaches to gender roles of the time are explored.

Tune into the documentary to see what inspired Baum’s work, and learn about his successes and failures, and more. American Oz is directed and produced by Randall MacLowry and Tracy Heather Strain, and executive produced by Cameo George.

American Experience: American Oz, Documentary Premiere, Monday, April 19, 9/8c, PBS