‘Surrender Dorothy’ Painted On A Beltway Overpass — What’s The Story?

By John Kelly (Washington Post, 6/25/2011)

“As I traveled on the Beltway in the early ’70s near the Mormon Temple in Kensington, I was always amused by one re-occurring sight. On an overpass just as the temple comes into view, someone would always spray paints in big letters “Surrender Dorothy.” The line was from “The Wizard of Oz,” and I’m fairly sure it reflected the graffiti artist’s impression that the temple was reminiscent of the spires that Dorothy and company saw as they approached the Emerald City and their subsequent fear when the witch wrote the phrase in the sky. While I recognize that it was illegal to do that, I marveled at the writer’s ability to write it so boldly as to be seen from the highway. I’ve often wondered if anyone knew the story behind it or knew who the person was.”

— Christine Mulligan, Germantown

Search for ‘Surrender Dorothy’ scrawler pulls back curtain on schoolgirl prank

By John Kelly (Washington Post, 7/23/2011)

If someone confided to you that he was the person responsible for arguably the single most famous graffito in the Washington area — “Surrender Dorothy” painted on a railroad bridge near the Mormon Temple — how would you react? Would you buy him a drink? Would you call the police? Would you tell Answer Man?

Answer Man asks because of the column he wrote last month, in which he recounted what was known about “Surrender Dorothy” and invited its creator to get in touch. No one would admit to painting the message over the Beltway, but three people said they had met the person who did it.

Or who said he did it. In each case it was a different person, and the messages to Answer Man went something like this: “Back in the 1970s/1980s, when I was in college/had a part-time job I had class with/worked with/got drunk with a guy who said he was the person who painted ‘Surrender Dorothy.’ ”


  • “Surrender Dorothy” — Tracing the origins of a famous graffiti prank — Deceptology
  • Surrender Dorothy — Wikipedia
This entry was posted in 1970s, Pranks, Roadside Attractions and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ‘Surrender Dorothy’ Painted On A Beltway Overpass — What’s The Story?

  1. Pingback: For Wizard of Oz Fans, There's No Place Like Home in the DMV | Slantpoint Democrat

  2. Pingback: For Wizard of Oz Fans, There's No Place Like Home in the DMV - Democratsnewz

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