Jack Pentes is brought to the top of Beech Mountain to come up with an idea of how to make it a summer attraction. He saw the natural terrain, tall emerald grass, and twisted trees, and said it was The Land of Oz.
Construction begins on Land of Oz. Pentes would design the park with his associate, Joe Sonderman. New music and lyrics would be written for the park by Loonis McGlohon and Alec Wilder with choreography by Alice Leggett LaMar.
The official ribbon cutting ceremony with Debbie Reynolds takes place. She would have her daughter, Carrie Fisher, with her. Reynolds co-owned many of the film costumes on display in the park’s small museum, including one of Judy Garland’s Dorothy dresses.
A fire is set to the Emerald City, and the museum is ransacked. The main building that housed the park’s offices, costumes, sound system, and amphitheater stage was destroyed along with an adjoining gift shop. Many film costumes were stolen including the Dorothy dress and bronze bust.
Emerald City is completed in 3 months, and the park reopens with new costumes and added attractions, including Professor Marvel’s Wagon, a puppet show, and a slight-of-hand magic show. Dorothy would now walk guests through the park, when previously she was not seen until the Emerald City show.
Oz would continue, but quality control would diminish. Money was not going back into the park maintenance, renovations, or added attractions. It would look run down and become known as a “tourist trap,” and attendance would plummet.
Jack Pentes is brought in to see what could be done to Oz to revitalize it. He came up with a 10-year plan for added and new attractions and estimated it would cost $3 million to bring Oz up to speed for an opening in 1981.
Oz would fall back into the original landowners hands. Plans to demolish the park and build a gated community began. Emerald City and the Balloon Ride were torn down. During this time, it was decided to save most of Oz, and build the community surrounding the Yellow Brick Road.