Oz in the News 9.4.15

55e7a0cd37fcb.imageThere’s no place like Main Street to remember Meinhardt Raabe  In a downtown lined with cream-colored brick buildings from the mid- to late 1800s, murals depicting the past and Mullen’s Dairy Bar, nostalgia is easy to come by here. That’s why Wednesday’s event to remember Meinhardt Raabe on what would have been the 100th birthday for the late “The Wizard of Oz” star and former Oscar Mayer pitchman seemed to fit right in on Main Street. The Wienermobile was here, some came in costumes of their favorite “Oz” characters and the theater’s lobby was transformed into a small museum featuring photographs of Raabe as the Munchkinland coroner and in his work as Little Oscar, a position he held for 30 years for the Madison meat company. A 12-foot yellow brick road and a five-foot tornado made of cotton welcomed the nearly 200 guests who almost filled the theater’s largest auditorium for a free showing of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Munchkin coroner recalled on 100th  Bill Bedford, event coordinator, came up with the idea of celebrating Raabe, who meant so much to the local area. Born in Watertown on Sept. 2, 1915, Raabe was raised in the Town of Farmington, attended high school in Johnson Creek, went on to attend the former Northwestern College in Watertown and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an accounting degree.

75 Years Ago, ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ Helped Cure ‘War Nerves’  This Mason City Globe-Gazette article from Sept. 2, 1939, calls it a cure for “war nerves.” “If it’s relaxation you’re seeking from the headlines shrieking of war in Europe and in Asia, we recommend to appease your desire (in spit of avowed failure of other appeasement programs) “The Wizard of Oz,” which opened at the Cecil Saturday and plays there through Thursday,” the piece reads. Check out the full article below, then head down the yellow-brick road or something.

17 Wonderful (and Not-So-Wonderful) Facts About ‘The Wizard of Oz’  #7) In 1975, former kindergarten teacher Margaret Hamilton was a guest on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. On this episode, Hamilton spoke with Fred Rogers at length about her celebrated—albeit frightening—role, as a way to help children watching at home understand that her playing the Wicked Witch, in the words of a familiar Neighborhood term, was all “make-believe.” Hamilton discussed how kids could better sympathize with the Witch’s perspective by explaining her misunderstood nature: “She’s what we refer to as ‘frustrated.’ She’s very unhappy because she never gets what she wants.” (A prescient Hamilton was also hitting on the concept for the novel—and subsequent musical—Wicked here, 20 years before its publication.) The actress then ended her visit with Mr. Rogers in the coolest way possible: Dressing up in a Wicked Witch of the West costume (sans green makeup) and briefly slipping into her mischievous cackle.

$1M reward fails to crack case of Judy Garland’s stolen ruby slippers A million bucks wasn’t enough to entice someone to turn in a pair of stolen ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” The Aug. 27 deadline for the $1 million reward came and went without any credible leads or the return of the ruby slippers to the Grand Rapids Police Department, investigator Andy Morgan said.bThe deadline marked the 10th anniversary of the ruby slippers’ theft from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids.

Odyssey hosts inaugural Midwest Wizard of Oz Fest  “This event is a continuation of the Chesterton festival,” said Clint Paraday, Odyssey Fun Farm general manager, about Midwest Wizard of Oz Fest, which aims to fill the void left when the long-running Wizard of Oz Festival in Indiana ended in 2012. “We’re picking up where they left off. Odyssey Fun World is a business that brings family fun and entertainment to families to help create memories and hopefully start new family traditions so when we were approached about a festival, it was pretty much a no-brainer that we wanted to be part of it.” bMidwest Wizard of Oz Fest takes place Sept. 11 to 13 at Odyssey Fun Farm in Tinley Park and features a “Wizard of Oz”-themed Corn Maize, a Yellow Brick Road with different themes from the movie, memorabilia vendors, the Spirit of Oz troupe of “Wizard of Oz” characters, and guest speakers.

Oz in the News 8.31.15

UntitledTCM Campaign Puts ‘Oz’ on the Broad Side of a Barn  Turner Classic Movies is going after younger viewers who like to socialize around movies with a new branding campaign — above the tagline “Let’s Movie” — the first such outreach in about a decade for the Turner Broadcasting System-owned channel.   New on-air and online spots show groups gathering to watch, for example, The Wizard of Oz projected onto the side of a Kansas barn, John Wayne in The Searchers played off a butte in Monument Valley and Ben Hur on the outside walls of The Colosseum in Rome. (Click to view a :30 spot and a :60 spot.)

Somewhere over the Halifax  The Halifax branch in Old Market Place brightened up the day of many a customer with their The Wizard Of Oz theme. Staff were dressed as characters from the popular musical, balloon rainbows covered the store and they even had their own yellow brick road. The Grimsby branch is just one of many Halifax banks up and down the country showing their support for Pride. The Grimsby store is the only one to go with The Wizard Of Oz idea.

Oz in the News 8.29.15


Uzo Aduba Talks Casting in NBC’s THE WIZ LIVE: ‘Anything Is Possible’  Best known for her Emmy-winning portrayal of Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the hit Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” actress Uzo Aduba (Broadway’s GODSPELL) stopped by this morning’s TODAY to share that she couldn’t believe it when she got the call to play Glinda the Good in NBC’s upcoming live production of musical THE WIZ. Quoting the song “Believe in Yourself” from the show, the actress shared, “If you do believe, anything is possible.” Watch the appearance in full below!

The Builders Association’s ELEMENTS OF OZ to Make World Premiere at Peak Performances This Fall  The Wizard of Oz is baked into our collective DNA for good reason; it’s a great story with a strong spine. It’s got all the right ingredients: remarkable characters, good, evil, love, hate, courage, fear, abundant symbolism — and magic. The film version supplied our imaginations with gorgeous images and beautiful tunes. The Builders Association returns to Peak Performances with their 21st century You Tube-inspired take on this enduring classic. The fun begins with ELEMENTS OF OZ on September 26th and runs through October 4th, 2015. You want music? How about Somewhere Over The Rainbow sung by dozens of Oz You Tube fans from all over the world? Rather than being a distraction, your smart phone will enable you to be surrounded by the Oz of our imaginations, from the poppy fields to the Emerald City. Why go clomping through a field of brilliant red poppies when you can summon them on your phone? ELEMENTS OF OZ ventures into a new hybrid world of its own, with its blend of tradition and invention. If theater traditionally celebrates the idea that people come together to witness a live event onstage, what happens if the live performance cannot truly be seen without the “wizardry” of our new fantastical devices? This daring platform gives the talented Builders team a chance to explore all the allegories that have been spun from The Wizard of Oz since its publication in 1900.

Best Selling Author J.A. Jance Releases New Book  Judith Ann Jance, known more familiarly as J.A. Jance, is a published author of 53 books. In March of 1982, J.A. Jance began writing; however, she did not become a published writer until 1985. Growing up, Jance was an avid reader due to the large age gap between her siblings and herself. During her childhood, she was inspired by L. Frank Baum’s book “The Wizard of Oz.” Even as a second grader, she was not “as impressed by the wizard…as I was by discovering Frank Baum behind the words,” she said. That was when she realized her dream of becoming a writer.

Oz in the News 8.28.15

IMG_0061Preserving The Yellow Brick Road  Walking down and up the winding path (it is built within the curves of a mountain) it doesn’t take long to see the manmade potholes that frequent the trail. “It’s disheartening and makes you angry that people think they can just sort of pick its carcass clean,” says Donna Devereux who played Dorothy at the park in the 1970’s. A full yellow brick road has about 44,000 bricks. The Land of Oz Park struggles with the perception of being abandoned which often leads to disappearing bricks. Cindy Keller lives full time on the property as the care-taker since none of the landowners live in North Carolina. “Before we had fencing, people would come in from various locations and walk the yellow brick road and upon occasion they will kick in a window or possibly find a door ajar. Their curiosity gets the best of them and they keep on exploring. It would be very scary to be sitting there, having your dinner and have someone walk in, it doesn’t happen often but it has happened,” says Keller.

‘It Takes 2’ Fundraiser Supports Chittenango’s Oz History  It’s time for the Semi-Annual “It Takes 2″ fundraiser. Help the foundation fund the Baum-Neal House, All Things Oz Museum, and Oz-Stravaganza! festival by donating $2. You can donate via charge card or Paypal by clicking the donate button on the website or send a check in the mail. For supporters who donate $20 or more they will receive an Annual membership to the All Things Oz Museum as well as a special gift – the book “Journey to Oz” the story of L. Frank Baum by Chittenango Village Historian Clara Houck.

Home built for ‘Wizard of Oz’ dance director Bobby Connolly sells in Encino  A house built for “The Wizard of Oz” dance director Willian Harold “Bobby” Connolly has sold in Encino for $3.4 million. The film and stage choreographer, who died in 1944 at 46, worked on such other movies as “Cain and Mable” (1936), “Ready, Willing and Able” (1837) and “Fools for Scandal” (1938).


Oz in the News 8.26.15

84d0c9dd8e54d27ffa6849629762e965OZ Museum in Wamego, Kansas, celebrates 115th anniversary of the ‘Wizard of OZ”  The OZ Museum in Wamego, Ks., conjures the world of the Wizard of OZ, which began when L. Frank Baum published the book in 1900. The museum spotlights 2,000 artifacts, pulled from more than 24,000 treasures that rotate through the vintage storefront-turned-museum along Wamego’s Lincoln Street. About 70 percent of the artifacts are from the collection of Friar Johnpaul Cafiero OFM, who began collecting OZ memorabilia as a boy and carried on for 50 years. Cafiero and his siblings watched the movie on TV every year and dressed as the characters for Halloween—he was the Lion—and their costumes are in the museum.

Ruby Red–Handed: Dorothy’s Stolen Slippers Remain at Large If the slippers do reappear, they will belong to the insurance company. Michael Shaw the owner of the missing shoes, who turns 78 next month, sounds at peace with that. “There’s more to my life than a pair of pumps,” he says. “I have no desire to have them again. After years of bringing joy and happiness to so many thousands and thousands of people by being able to see them, now to me they’re a nightmare.” He ends a phone call with Newsweek by saying, “I’m not going to talk about it anymore. I’m sick of it. They’re gone.” Then he quotes another Hollywood classic: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

5 Things You Still Don’t Know About ‘The Wizard Of Oz’  Originally, MGM gave feedback to composer Harold Arlen, saying his song “Over the Rainbow” was too “symphonic” and that it would have to be sung like an opera. MGM also seems to have thought it was problematic to have their star singing in a farmyard. Before it became an iconic American song, many critics deemed “Over the Rainbow” long and unnecessary. Associated Press said, “The picture could have been speeded more at its beginnings, especially by the elimination of Judy’s first song.”

Wonderful Wizard Of Song Performs In Cleveland Sept. 15  The Wonderful Wizard of Song is a theatrical production that brings the pivotal moments of Harold Arlen’s life to the stage, framed by songs that have become “pillars” of American film and theatre.  It will performed at the Conn Center on the Campus of Lee University on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. The Wonderful Wizard of Song is a collaboration of the Harold Arlen Foundation and Matt Davenport Productions.  Mr. Arlen’s son, Sam Arlen (president of the Harold Arlen Foundation), is a consultant for the production.  Arlen not only provides first hand stories and insight to the writing of this production, but also has provided personal mementos, family photographs and Harold’s own home movies of the making of the Wizard of Oz.

Oz in the News 8.25.15

Screen-Shot-2015-08-23-at-3.08.49-PMThere are some seriously weird Wizard of Oz adaptations out there  Matt Baume wants to introduce you to some of the most deeply peculiar Oz adaptions ever made. And you should let him. Unless, of course, you have no interest in witnessing Dorothy being captured by an evil space witch while a drunken Bill Cosby looks on… only to later meet a sexy lady robot and defeat cavemen before killing the Wicked Witch with a gigantic condom. Oh, yeah. So why are there so many weird versions of Oz? And why are gay men so bananas about the story? To find out, click on the link below and say “There’s no place like…”

Oz in the News 8.24.15

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: Video tribute to 'The Wizard of Oz' onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

This Weekend Marks The 76th Anniversary Of The Wizard Of Oz  Today, 76 years since Judy Garland sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the big screen, we’re taking a trip to Oz with author Rebecca Loncraine. Her book The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum details the experiences of Oz’s creator in such a way that you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled to another world, much like Dorothy did in that first book of Baum’s. Rebecca explains that Baum’s world was one of wacky circuses, disappearing hot air balloonists, and people who believed in ghosts. It was a world filled with dark fairy tales from the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Andersen, And it was a world filled with racism, war, and death.