Historical Events  Movies
Man behind the curtain

Another Wizard of Oz MMDE!

MMDE: Pay no attention to THE man behind the curtain

Current: Pay no attention to THAT man behind the curtain

The Wizard of Oz must win the award for the most Mass Memory Discrepancy Effects!

At the end, (spoiler alert!), when finally confronting the fearsome Wizard, Dorothy's dog Toto pulls back a curtain to reveal a little man working some machinery. A voice booms out "Pay no attention to THAT man behind the curtain" - or was it "pay no attention to THE man behind the curtain"?

Today you'll only find "that" man is being said, but if you ask most people they'd say it was "the" man.

This is another meme - the phrase is often used to describe some kind of hidden controller in a general way, where some unseen hand is guiding things in, for example, fields such as politics or business. It's easy to see how it could have been changed this way when making the transition. In the Oz scene, he is physically present, so the more specific "that" is appropriate, whereas in the general meme the subject is unseen so "the" is better suited. Or is that what you're supposed to think? :-)