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The Dark Side might be "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"


I've heard countless claims--mostly from drug enthusiasts--of how intense the classic musical The Wizard of Oz is if watched with the sound off and accompanied by Pink Floyd's 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon. This week, a wholly sober Vidiot tested whether the recommendations of stoned former acquaintances could actually be trusted.

After acquiring the CD ($15.99) and rental DVD ($.99) from Hastings, I downloaded instructions on how to properly synchronize the album with the film. Start the album on the MGM lion's third roar, a Web site suggested. I only witnessed two roars, so my experiment was very quickly out of sync; luckily there was a realignment point shortly thereafter. As I reset the two media, I discovered proof the album might actually correspond to the movie as I'd been told. Just before toppling into a pig pen, Dorothy, arms outstretched, balances on a fence top. "And balanced on the biggest wave," PF front man David Gilmour sings. Hmmm.

During the rest of the 101-minute run time, I compiled a five-page list of scenes when the audio and video seemed to coincide. What follows is the best of those moments:

When witchy alter ego Elmira Gulch appears, she's serenaded by a throng of chiming clocks that sound much like an alert system.

Track five, "Money," begins precisely when a revived Dorothy opens the door of her sepia-colored home revealing a brightly-colored Munchkinland outside. Cash register sounds erupt on cue. Is this Oz or Vegas?

In the very frame that the Wicked Witch of the West appears, Gilmour sing-shouts: "Black! ... and blue." (I said, "Holy cow!" aloud at that point.) Shortly after, as the good and bad witches bicker, Gilmour observes, "Haven't you heard? It's a battle of words."

Track eight, "Brain Damage," kicks off just as the Scarecrow wonders how life would differ "If [he] only had a brain."

While Dorothy checks the Tin Man for a pulse, an inexplicable heartbeat begins to pound at the end of the ninth and final track.

Further down the Yellow Brick Road, a Gilmour laugh coincides with the Cowardly Lion's growl that makes the trio of friends jump. It truly looked like they were frightened of Pink Floyd.

And finally, when Dorothy reawakens from her slumberous journey, Gilmour croons a final comment: "Home ... / Home again. / I like to be here when I can." It's a nod to Dorothy's famous thematic line.

Between perfect CD-DVD matches, there are long lulls that don't coincide one bit. And oddly enough, letting the album continue to run, I attempted (unsuccessfully) to skip back on the DVD to try to spot the infamous hanging crew member, and another set of lyrics lined up precisely with a corresponding scene. So argue either way you please: Pink Floyd penned the album to coincide with the movie, or it's just a bunch of hooey. I do give you props for noticing the correlation, though, stoners. Just for God's sake be sober if you expect my concurrence in the future. Though you may swear otherwise at the time, wild claims made while you're under the influence sound a lot like drivel.