Dark Side of the Rainbow

Dark Side of the Rainbow (aka Dark Side of Oz) is a perceived effect created by playing the 1973 Pink Floyd concept album The Dark Side of the Moon simultaneously with the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and watching for moments where the film and the album appear to correspond with each other. The title of the music video-like experience comes from a combination of the album title The Dark Side of the Moon and the film's song "Over the Rainbow."

Although the Dark Side of the Rainbow effect has become famous, its origin is murky. In 1994, fans of Pink Floyd discussed the phenomenon on the Usenet message board alt.music.pink-floyd. At that point, knowledge of who first thought of combining the two works, and why, was already lost.

Since then, several waves of attention rippled through popular culture. In August 1995, a newspaper in Fort Wayne, Indiana, published the first mainstream media article about the synchronicity, citing alt.music.pink-floyd. Soon afterward, several fans began creating websites in which they touted the experience and tried to comprehensively catalog the corresponding moments. A second wave of awareness began in April 1997 when a Boston radio DJ discussed the Dark Side of the Rainbow on the air, leading to further mainstream media articles and a segment on MTV News.

In July 2000, the cable channel Turner Classic Movies aired a version of Oz with the Dark Side album as an alternate soundtrack. That same month, an episode from season two of the animated television show Family Guy aired that made reference to the effect; entitled "The Story on Page 1", the episode included Peter Griffin saying to Luke Perry, "I'm telling you, Dark Side of the Moon totally syncs up with the Wizard of Oz!" (Also, in the January 2002 episode "Stuck Together Torn Apart," from Family Guy season three, the character Mort Goldman tells Griffin that he and his wife "like to watch old movies while listening to Hotel California to see if it syncs up in a significant way. And so far, no. Nothing has.")

Several music groups have also alluded to the phenomenon. In February 2003, the reggae cover-band group Easy Star All-Stars released a cover album of The Dark Side of the Moon entitled Dub Side of the Moon, which they claimed was intentionally edited to be "compatible" with The Wizard of Oz. In June 2003, the alternative rock band Guster released an album containing the song "Come Downstairs & Say Hello," which opens with the lines "Dorothy moves/To click her ruby shoes/Right in tune/With Dark Side of the Moon."

The Dark Side of the Rainbow has also turned up in the funny pages. In June 2006, a "Born Loser" newspaper comic strip built a punch-line around a headache the main character developed while listening to the Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of Oz.
Fans have compiled more than 100 moments of perceived interplay between the film and album, including further links that occur if the album is repeated through the entire film. Some examples of this include:

* "Leave, but don't leave me..." from "Breathe," is sung as Auntie Em appears to say "... Leave ..." to Dorothy, who then turns to leave

* During "Breathe," Dorothy does a tightrope-like walk along the holding pen to the lyric "and balanced on the biggest wave."

* The line "no one told you when to run" from "Time" is sung just as the scene switches to Dorothy running away from home to save Toto.

* "Home, home again" from the "Breathe" reprise is sung as the fortuneteller tells Dorothy to go home.

* The cash register sound effect at the beginning of "Money" is played right when the movie switches from black & white to color.

* "Don't give me that do goody good bullshit" from "Money" comes as Glinda the Good Witch of the North floats in as a bubble.

* "Black... and blue" from "Us and Them" is sung as the Wicked Witch of the West appears dressed in black, while Dorothy's dress is blue. That is shortly followed by "and who knows which is which" (witch is witch) as the Wicked Witch and the Good Witch confront each other.

* "Brain Damage" - which begins at almost the same time as the movie's "If I Only Had a Brain" - contains the lines "The lunatic is on the grass" and "Got to keep the loonies on the path." This is just as the straw-stuffed Scarecrow flops around like a madman on the Yellow Brick Road.

* During "Eclipse" the closing heartbeats sound as Dorothy listens to the Tin Man's empty chest.

This synergy effect has been described as an example of synchronicity, defined by the psychoanalyst Carl Jung as a phenomenon in which coincidental events "seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality." Detractors argue that the phenomenon is the result of the mind's tendency to think it recognizes patterns amid disorder by discarding data that does not fit. Psychologists refer to this tendency as confirmation bias. Under this theory, a Dark Side of the Rainbow enthusiast will focus on matching moments while ignoring the greater number of instances where the film and the album do not correspond.

Pink Floyd band members have repeatedly insisted that the phenomenon is coincidence. In an interview for the 25th anniversary of the album, guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour denied that the album was intentionally written to be synchronized with Oz, saying "Some guy with too much time on his hands had this idea with combining Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon." On an MTV special about Pink Floyd in 2002, the band dismissed any relationship between the album and the movie, saying that there were no means of reproducing the film in the studio at the time they recorded the album. On March 3, 2006 at the Canadian Music Week conference in Toronto, Alan Parsons, the album's recording engineer, told an audience during a question-and-answer session that there had been no effort to integrate the album with the film.

Real or imagined, the effect is usually created by pausing a CD of the album at the very beginning, starting the DVD or tape of the film with the TV volume muted, and un-pausing the CD when the black-and-white MGM lion roars for the third time. (Note some versions have a color lion also. The black and white lion is the right one to use for the sync.) A minority of devotees argue that un-pausing the CD on the first roar produces a superior alignment.

Most users have explored this phenomenon using the original or 1994 re-issue editions of the album. Note that 1993's 20th Anniversary re-issue edition (the version included in the "Shine On" box set) altered the run-times of many of the tracks, so that version would not create the Dark Side of the Rainbow effect. By contrast, 2003's 30th Anniversary re-issue edition is acceptable because it largely restored the original run-times.

Another factor that could affect the quality of the perceived synch is the version of the film used. The NTSC version, used in the United States, runs 101 minutes while the PAL version, used in Europe, runs 98 minutes (due to the system's transfer rate of 25 rather than 24 frames per second). Most users who have made websites touting the effect appear to be based in the USA. When using a PAL version of the DVD, digitally speeding up the album by 4.16% prior to starting fixes any problems with syncing.

The fame of the Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz synchronicity has prompted some fans to search for correspondences using other albums or films. No other combination has been reported to produce the frequency of lyrical matchings that are the hallmark of Dark Side of the Rainbow, but opportunities for perceived syncs between the tonal content of any music and any film's images appear to be common.

Perhaps the oldest variant involves neither Dark Side of the Moon nor The Wizard of Oz. Since the mid-1990s, some websites devoted to the Dark Side of the Rainbow have also made note of a claimed synchronicity between the "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite" third act in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and the lengthy Pink Floyd song "Echoes" from the 1971 album Meddle. Again the correspondences are primarily tonal rather than lyrical; among them, both the track and the sequence are the same length, about 23 minutes. Fans also note that director Stanley Kubrick reportedly asked Pink Floyd to score the film, and that former band leader Roger Waters reportedly has said he regrets having turned down the offer.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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