Dark Side of the Rainbow?

When spying this press release a couple of days ago, I had to read it twice—this was too good to be true. A couple of years back in the September 1997 (or as JA likes to put it: Vol.20 No.9) Stereophile "Industry Update," I had reported on the then-discovered "synchronicities" phenomena: playing certain classic rock albums, when sync'ed up with certain classic films yielded several uncanny coincidences twixt music and screen. Watching and listening this way could lead one to almost believe that the albums were created as soundtracks to the films.

In-depth synchronicity information for several album/film combinations can be found at the Synchronicity Arkive website. Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here is considered an ideal audio companion to the film Blade Runner, while the band's Meddle disc synchs up with Kubrick's 2001. But the mother of all synchronicities is running Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of Oz. The trick is just knowing when to start the CD as the film begins.

Synchronicity life just got a lot easier: on July 3 at 11 pm (ET), Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Capitol Records has announced that it will give viewers the chance to investigate for themselves the Floyd/Wizard "urban legend" when it simulcasts The Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. The legend holds that there are so many uncanny coincidences between the film and the music that it must have been done intentionally, a notion that Pink Floyd has repeatedly denied.

TCM says that the alternate soundtrack will be accessible on the SAP (Second Audio Program) channel, available to DIRECTV customers and viewers in markets with participating cable operators who feature descriptive video programming (DVS). TCM points out that SAP service is traditionally used for its ongoing DVS, which provides descriptions of the action on the screen for the visually impaired, and has also been used for audio commentary tracks, but the company says it will put it to a creative new use with this unique on-air event.

Viewers without SAP can experience the psychedelic fun by watching the film while listening to their own copy of Dark Side of the Moon at home. In the introduction to the movie, TCM says host Robert Osborne will give viewers instructions on how to synchronize their music with the movie, while also pointing out some of the more interesting of over 80 connections. Examples range from the lyrics, "Smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry," heard as the Cowardly Lion and Tin Woodman smile and the Scarecrow cries early in the film; to the words, "Home, home again," heard after Dorothy has awakened in Kansas at the film's end.