Quirky ‘Wizard of Oz’ synopsis is going to follow writer to the grave

This old “Wizard of Oz” synopsis has gone viral, thanks to posts this week on Imgur (“the best film synopsis ever”) and Reddit.

The image credits the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Lee Winfrey for this gem (he died in 2003), but it was actually written by Rick Polito in 1998, when he was a Marin Independent Journal TV columnist. (It got Roy Rivenburg’s “TV Listing of the Week” award in the Los Angeles Times on June 23, 1998.)

Rick Polito

“That line is going to follow me to the grave,” Polito tells me during a phone chat this morning. “It was just on Leno, it was a clue in a crossword puzzle, it showed up in Playboy, and people use it as their email sigs.”

“Someday I’m going to walk down the street and see it on a T-shirt and punch the person who’s wearing it,” he jokes.

Polito worked at the Marin Independent Journal from 1991 to 2007. His quirky TV column was “2,000 one-liners a year” and he continues to write them — at $75 per column — for the weekly Pacific Sun. He lives in Boulder now — “I moved here to be a stay-at-home dad, but now I’m an unemployed dad” — and is doing some freelancing. He’s also developed an iPhone app for parents who read bedtime stories to their kids. (“If I could only get that project covered” by the media, he says.)

Polito tells me he has over a million words of jokes on his hard drive and is looking for someone who’s interested in them. “Use the words ‘desperate for employment'” in your piece, he requests. Done! You can reach the out-of-work writer at rpolito@gmail.com

* One of Polito’s last MIJ pieces: “I was a reporter pretending to be a comedian” (marinij.com)

UPDATE: Thanks to Richard A. Solomon for sending the lines that were missing in the image: