Oz in the News 8.20.14

AuntEm.collage9 Wizard of Oz-Themed Vacation Rentals in Honor of the Film’s 75th Anniversary  You’ve seen the movie (maybe more times than you can remember!), and now you can be transported to Oz in real life. To celebrate the anniversary, we have a list of look-alike holiday rentals from HomeAway that will bring the classic movie to life. From a condo that shimmers like the Emerald City to a castle that’s the spitting image of the Wicked Witch’s home, there is a special destination for every fan.

Dorothy’s ruby slippers remain the holy grail of Hollywood memorabilia  Kansas City native Keith Holman, a costume designer in Los Angeles, has a special connection to the scarlet footwear. His friend David Elkouby has owned a pair of the genuine slippers since 2000. And Holman spent time learning the craft of costume beading from Stella Ruata, whose late mother, Aurora, worked for MGM and hand-sewed beads onto some of the slippers used in the movie. The women told him slipper stories, like how some of the first versions had to be redesigned because they were too heavy for Garland to dance in. In 1989, during the movie’s 50th anniversary year, Holman considered obtaining a license to replicate the slippers — “because that’s as close as most people will get” — but he never finished the process. Like any other lover of Oz, he’d love to own a pair, but few people can afford the million dollar-plus price tag. So he has started collecting other movie memorabilia, including one of the oil cans Jack Haley used as the Tin Man. Holman is now in discussions with Union Station and the American Jazz Museum to display part of his collection in his hometown in coming months.

Long and winding Yellow Brick Road to icon status  Times, clearly, have changed, and I suspect plenty of millennials have never seen The Wizard of Oz. They confess little patience with films whose special effects aren’t hyper-realistic. Will films with lines like “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” hold any meaning for future generations of filmgoers? No one knows for sure, just as no one can predict which movie from this summer’s slate, regarded as lackluster by box-office analysts, might someday be elevated to iconic status through some futuristic method of distribution (Holography? Oculus Rift? 8K Ultra HD?) as television did for The Wizard of Oz. All that seems assured is that everyone who can capture the beauty of childhood, as Victor Fleming and his film’s cast and crew did 75 years ago, deserves to be celebrated.

Oz in the News 8.18.14

wizard-oz‘The Wizard of Oz’ Dazzled Audiences 75 Years Ago Today  With the notable exception of Walt Disney’s Snow White, Hollywood’s attempts to snare the mood of fantasies and fairy stories have been indifferently rewarded. Perhaps the fact that the Disney cartoon will eventually gross at least $7,500,000 – an all-time screen record – encouraged Metro Goldwyn-Mayer to risk approximately $3,000,000 on a flesh-and-blood re-creation of another famous children’s story.

“Wizard of Oz” Fans Follow Yellow Brick Road to Mapleton  “This is very much a diamond in the rough.” said Hollis Park District Director Jim Robertson. “This is the Wizard of Oz Fest 2014. It has grown every year. This is our third year, and we’re very excited about the outcome. It’s a wonderful thing to have a garden for the characters to actually go through and a real yellow brick road.” This is the third year for the Wizard of Oz Festival, or Oz Fest. It is becoming a tradition for fans of the book, and the movie, click their heels and end up in Mapleton each Summer.

Hollis Park District Celebrates “Wizard of Oz” Birthday  Scarecrow from Oz said, “Seventy five years later, these little kids are still running up to me and saying, ‘Scarecrow! I read your book!’ or, ‘I read your book!’ It’s amazing,and it just makes this straw heart feel nice and warm, but not fiery warm.”


Daily Ozmapolitan Extra: The Wizard of Oz By the Numbers


Oz in the News 8.17.14

ireland-2Witches and Ireland and Bears, Oh My! — Ancestry.com Celebrates 75th Anniversary of the Wizard of Oz by Revealing Family History Connections of the Films’ Stars  Actress Margaret Hamilton has a connection to the Salem Witch Trials, as does the book’s author, L. Frank Baum. According to family history experts at Ancestry.com, Hamilton’s 5th great grandparents found themselves living in colonial America near Salem, Massachusetts in the year of the famous Salem Witch Trials, after immigrating to the U.S. from Ireland. Research also revealed Baum had ancestors who lived near Salem during that same time period. Hamilton and Baum are also joined by the film’s top stars in having ancestral connections to another land of emerald green — Ireland. Actors Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley who played “Dorothy,” the “Scarecrow” and the “Tin Man” respectively, all have ancestors hailing from the Emerald Isle. Garland’s roots go back to County Meath, while Bolger has family connections to County Limerick. Haley’s ancestors left Ireland in the 1800s.

Winkie Con 2014: Ozplay Named after Winkie County, the westernmost region in the Land of Oz ruled by the Wicked Witch of the West, Winkie Con is organised by the International Wizard of Oz Club and is the longest-running Oz event in America. A few decades ago there were a host of such get-togethers, including the East Coast’s Munchkin celebration. But interest began to dwindle and by 2009, Winkie Con had just 40 attendees. The other events had winked out of existence entirely. This year, propelled by the publicity for the anniversary of the MGM film, Winkie Con moved from the mid-California Monterey peninsula down to San Diego. The relocation was due in part to San Diego’s proximity to neighbouring resort town, Coronado, where Baum wintered and wrote several novels. It was also the first year the usually humble Winkie Con expanded to offer a broad conference-style schedule, with concurrent panels discussing subjects such as the strong feminist characters in Baum’s books and the rise of fantasy and sci-fi fan culture. Attendance spiked to over 350; many attendees were newer fans, who had found their way down the yellow brick road via the musical “Wicked” or “Oz the Great and Powerful”, the new Oz film released in 2013.

Classic ‘Wizard of Oz’ line permeates pop culture Say you’re writing a screenplay for a movie or a script for a television series. Say your character is surprised by his or her surroundings or needs to express that things have just gotten very, very weird. Hmm… Whatever should that character say? If you’re from Kansas, you already know what the writer will type next. “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.” Actually, to be exact, the line is “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” and it originated in the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s been borrowed liberally over the years by movies, television shows, headline writers, political pundits, reality show producers, social media users and every day conversationalists. The line is so iconic, in fact, that it was No. 4 on a list of the top 100 movie quotes of all time that was compiled in 2005 by the American Film Institute – ahead, even, of “May the Force Be With You” and “Here’s looking at you, kid.” It even outranked “There’s no place like home,” another famous line from “Oz.”

Oz in the News 8.15.14

1408015853019_Image_galleryImage_BNPS_co_uk_01202_558833_PThey’re not in Kansas anymore! Rare storyboard paintings used to plan out The Wizard of Oz emerge 75 years after film’s release We don’t know of they were hidden by the Wicked Witch or just lost somewhere over the rainbow, but a pair of incredibly rare paintings used to plan the filming of timeless movie The Wizard of Oz have emerged for sale – 75 years after its release. The watercolours came from the brush of famed art director Jack Martin Smith and showed how the sets might look once filming of the Hollywood classic began. One of the paintings features Dorothy – who was played by child star Judy Garland – and two Munchkins walking down the Yellow Brick Road to Oz while the other shows Dorothy with the Scarecrow. Each painting is tipped to fetch around $6,700 when they go under the hammer at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills, California. Margaret Barrett, head of entertainment, said: ‘Before filming started, the production crew’s art team painted quick, off-the-cuff paintings of scenes which were then shown to the art director. He would then be able to plan how scenes were going to look before filming began. ‘Jack Martin Smith was the lead artist and at the time would have just created these artworks very quickly, but he was exceptionally skilled and they are now viewed as art in their own right.

Reston gallery’s new Wizard of Oz art to benefit Habitat There’s no place like Reston. At least not now, in light of the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. “ArtInsights is one of the few officially licensed purveyors of Warner Bros. studio art,” Peter Larson says. “They worked with Warner Bros. to do this art show that highlights new original pieces of art that relate to The Wizard of Oz.” The opening party for There’s No Place Like Home is Sunday, Aug. 17, from 5 to 9 p.m. Exhibition runs to Sept. 15. ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery, 11921 Freedom Drive. Reston, Va. Call 703-478-0778 or 703-521-9890, or visit habitatnova.org or ArtInsights.com.

Eric Shanower Gets Sleepy for “Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland”  “I just finished the paintings for ten tarot cards for “The Shadow of Oz” tarot card set to be published in July by Illogical Associates. I drew a three-page story for “Fables” #142, to be published by DC/Vertigo. I wrote and drew a 20-page comics story for an anthology of mostly prose short stories called “Taking Aim: Twelve Stories about Guns and Gun Culture,” edited by Michael Cart from HarperCollins in fall 2015. Marvel Comics has compiled all the “Oz” comics that Skottie Young and I did the past several years into one big volume, “The Oz Omnibus,” to be published in September. I wrote a new introduction for that. I’m painting variant covers for “Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland. My time is currently consumed with producing a vintage 1913 stage musical titled “The Tik-Tok Man of Oz,” with script and lyrics by “Oz”-creator L. Frank Baum. As soon as that play is over in August I’ll be getting back to “Age of Bronze” from Image Comics.”

Bright Now Beyond: This new musical looks to put a fresh spin on the familiar Land of Oz, but the storytelling isn’t always clear Brightly colored costumes and lighting. An effervescent, whimsical set. Techniques of “story theatre.” The Land of Oz. These were all things that I expected to experience at Bright Now Beyond, playwright Daniel Alexander Jones and composer Bobby Halvorson’s new musical adaptation of The Marvelous Land of Oz. And the world premiere production from Salvage Vanguard Theater does deliver them. Shadow puppets feature prominently on the shimmering curtains that constitute most of the set, for instance, and splashes of light bedazzle the environment and imaginative wardrobe.

Cakewalk to Oz: Students lend a wizard’s touch to dessert creations Courtesy of students from Chicago’s After School Matters program, the lobby and ballroom of the Palmer House Hilton was transformed into a sweet fantasy world fit for beloved characters Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Toto and the Wizard. The students, who hail from Chicago’s Southeast Side and the Hegewisch area, went to great lengths to create Wizard of Oz-themed three-tiered cakes, specialty cupcakes and other desserts in an end-of-the-season final for their cake decorating/culinary class taught by instructor Gloria Hafer. Hafer said the class was invited to hold their competition last month at the Palmer House by the hotel’s director of catering who liked the idea of the Oz-themed event presented in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the popular movie. The Palmer House actually has a history with “Oz” in that author Frank L. Baum stayed at the hotel while he was participating in a book fair to debut his original edition. And in musical history, Judy Garland performed at the Palmer House’s Empire Room while on a tour to promote the film in 1938.


Oz in the News 8.14.14

Wizard-of-Oz-harry-potter-4362659-395-600Daniel Radcliffe: ‘Worst film idea I heard was Wizard of Oz remade with Harry Potter stars’ “The worst idea that ever came across to us – it was way before Potter had finished – was somebody suggesting that they remake the The Wizard of Oz movie with Emma [Watson] as Dorothy, and me and Rupert [Grint] cast as the Lion and Tin Man or Scarecrow,” he said at a press junket for his new romcom, What If. “I remember thinking, ‘That person is the laziest, craziest person in the world’,” he said, adding that it was “quite funny” on the whole.

The truth behind ‘The Wizard of Oz’  Michael Patrick Hearn, author of “The Annotated Wizard of Oz,” has spent most of his life unearthing little-known facts about the childhood classic. Hearn discovered the Baum series when he was just 10 years old. At that time, the books were banned from many libraries, but Hearn cherished the characters and storytelling. He joined the International Wizard of Oz Club in order to find out more about his favorite series. “It really was an American fairy tale,” he says. “There are so many things that relate to the American experience — the scarecrow, the mechanical man and the wizard that turns out to be a humbug from Omaha.”

Judy Garland’s Final Effort to Tell Her Own Story  Judy Garland on Judy Garland: Interviews and Encounters is the closest we will come to experiencing and exploring the legend’s planned autobiography. Collecting and presenting the most important Garland interviews and encounters that took place between 1935 and 1969, this work opens with her first radio appearance under contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and concludes with her last known interview, one taped for Radio Denmark just months before her death. What makes this collection unique is that it places Judy in the role of storyteller. She wrote a number of essays for various publications and sat for countless print, radio, and television interviews. These and other autobiographical efforts she made are proof that Judy Garland wanted her story told in her own words.

Oz in the News 8.13.14

chaJudy Garland Musical Chasing Rainbows – The Road to Oz Will Get NYC Reading  Chasing Rainbows – The Road to Oz, a new musical with a book by Mark Acito and featuring a score studded with songs made famous by Judy Garland, will test its legs in a New York City staged reading this September. Here’s how the creators characterize the piece: “In 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, an intrepid 13-year-old landed a job that could support her entire family. Overweight and insecure, she was routinely demeaned by her boss, who called her ‘my little hunchback.’ Her only solace was her irrepressible spirit and the tender love of her father, who died unexpectedly just two months later. That teenager was Judy Garland. This story of an underdog with the soul of a poet and the personality of a pep squad speaks to young and old alike. Anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t fit in will leave the theater uplifted by this inspiring tale of eternal love and fortitude.”

Dead Woman Insists On ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Obit  Seventy-five years ago today was the world premiere of “The Wizard Of Oz.” A movie Joanna Scarpitti loved. So much so she made her daughter promise that when she died she’d use a famous line for the obituary – ding dong the witch is dead. Scarpitti died two weeks ago. Her daughter fulfilled the promise, adding that her mom was sweet with a side of zest. Sure enough, Scarpitti insisted on being dressed in all black with white stockings and red ruby slippers after her death.

Starlet lost ‘The Wizard of Oz’ role because of Howard Hughes?  “Shortly after a young MGM contract player named Helen Gilbert was cast as Glinda, the inveterate girl-chaser Howard Hughes spirited her away for a fling…Gilbert was suspended, and the studio, which had been building her as a leading lady, allowed her contract to lapse after 1940.” Louella Parsons once remarked cryptically that “something happened” to sour MGM’s interest in Gilbert — who, four years after “Oz,” was reduced to an unbilled bit as one of the girls in “The Trolley Song” in “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

Town where “Wizard of Oz” premiered celebrates film’s 75th anniversary  Oconomowoc is where the Hollywood classic had its world premiere in 1939. “That was the year I graduated high school and I was 17 years old,” said resident Catherine Buckeridge. Buckeridge is now 92, and was there that night. “It was something special that happened in my life and in our family life,” she said. The Oconomowoc Historical Society proudly displays memorabilia of Oz year round, though no one in town can definitely say why the premiere happened here at all, including docent Shirley Hinds. “Don’t ask me, but I don’t know why it wasn’t Kansas, but I guess we aren’t in Kansas anymore. We certainly aren’t,” Hinds said, mimicking the classic line that is still a familiar catchphrase to this day.