Oz in the News 12.16.18

Original Wizard of Oz script sells for $1.28 million at Profiles in History The original handwritten script for The Wizard of Oz has sold for $1.28 million during an auction of classic movie memorabilia at Profiles in History on December 11. The script had been described as “perhaps the most important manuscript in Hollywood history”, and was part of an historic archive documenting how the classic 1939 film was adapted for the silver screen from L. Frank Baum’s original books. The first draft of the screenplay was written in April 1938 by Noel Langley, who was one of three writers credited with the final script (although many more went uncredited throughout the troubled production). Fans of the film also had the chance to bid on the hat worn on-screen by Margaret Hamilton in her iconic role as the Wicked Witch of the West. The hat, which featured straps to hold it in place as she flew on her broomstick, sold for $102,400.

Marc Almond’s survey of Judy Garland’s life and afterlife (Passions, Sky Arts, Monday, 9pm) is more enthusiastic than enlightening, given its stated aim to “separate the real Judy from the mythical Garland”. But he finds some rewarding interviewees, and some glamorous backdrops against which to set them. The first sections of the programme whisk us through the familiar story biography, from Benzedrine-addicted child star shackled to MGM to the faded, frail figure of later years who was still capable of stunning an audience. This game quality clearly endears her to the Soft Cell singer, himself no stranger to life’s turbulence. The most interesting part of the programme deals with her afterlife. Almond chats to writer Matthew Todd about the significance of The Wizard of Oz to the gay community, at a time when “you couldn’t be out” and phrases such as “a friend of Dorothy” were vital codes. If Garland continues to resonate, especially to younger gay men, it’s through the timing of worldwide Gay Prides, which commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, which themselves coincided with Garland’s funeral. A police raid on a gay bar on that day of all days was seen as outrageous provocation.

 

Oz in the News 12.14.18

Frigid quest for Wizard of Oz ruby slippers in frozen lake relived on Expedition Unknown: Amazing Adventures Rewind on the crime: Back in 2005 one of those pairs is stolen from a Minnesota Museum, and local investigators had a hot new lead that the stolen ruby slippers could be hidden inside an old paint can way under the ice of a frozen lake. Minnesota… in the winter, where it is minus 3 degrees outside. So what did Mr. Gates and his cameraman Evan B. Stone do? They suited up and headed out to get that can o’ slippers. Reliving the dream, Stone is utterly hilarious in his recollections and says: “Let’s put it in perspective here… we’re looking for women’s shoes… this isn’t the sixth floor of Macy’s here!” Gates is laughing thinking back to their excruciating exploits in ice: “Right? We’re gonna cut a hole in a lake and go through it! This was about as tough as it gets in terms of diving conditions.” Gates had a close call when his breathing apparatus froze up and the production team had to pour hot coffee out of a Thermos on his line to bust the crystals open. He says: “I freaked out suddenly my whole breathing apparatus up here crystallized and froze solid and this guy is dumping boiling hot coffee to try to melt the ice crystals off the edge of my exhaust valve!”

Oz in the News 12.12.18

Microgaming presents a world filled with magic and enchanted riches with Book of Oz Book of Oz is an enchanting five-reel, ten-payline, high-volatility online slot. Brimming with fantasy, magic and adventure, the game welcomes players into a world filled with enchanted riches. Featuring Wilds, ScattersFree Spins and Re-Spins, the fantasy themed slot encompasses whimsical art and captivating symbols, such as the lion of courage, the potion of love, the mystical wizard and the golden book, which are displayed on the reels to leave players spellbound as they spin to win magnificent rewards. Emerald riches lie in wait for players in Book of Oz, which will be available exclusively for Microgaming operators across desktop and mobile platforms from Tuesday 11 December.

Oz in the News 12.8.18

‘Wizard of Oz’ landscape sculpture coming to Centennial Park A whimsical “Wizard of Oz”-themed landscape plan for Centennial Park was approved by the Holland City Council Wednesday night. The late L. Frank Baum authored “The Wizard of Oz,” and 2019 will mark his centennial death anniversary. Baum spent many summers in Holland as he wrote the classic story that will now be represented where he once set foot. The landscape agreement between the city and the Holland Convention and Visitors Bureau will bring a three-dimensional flowerbed sculpture to Centennial Park. The sculpture will be shaped like an open book with “pages” referencing “The Wizard of Oz.” Character sculptures from the classic story will be installed on Herrick District Library property and linked to the flower sculpture with a yellow brick road. The flower bed book sculpture will probably be five to six-feet tall, Kenyon said. A company called Kadriform creates the structures constructed with a metal frame and filled with plants to form different intricate shapes and designs. Members of the Holland in Bloom Committee first got the idea for the project when they made contact with Kadriform at the annual Communities in Bloom Symposium in Canada. “This will be very professionally done, and will be very cool and neat to see,” Kenyon said.

Oz in the News 12.6.18

‘Wizard Of Oz,’ ‘Ben-Hur,’ ‘Shawshank,’ ‘Alien’ And ‘Field Of Dreams’ Headline TCM’s 2019 Classics The 14 movies returning the movie theaters as part of the 2019 TCM Big Screen Classics series have been revealed. The year-long event, in partnership with Fathom Events, gives film fans the chance to revisit, or enjoy for the first time, classic movies on the big screen. The first gem out of the gate in 2019 will be The Wizard of Oz. A critical success on its 1939 release, it actually didn’t make a profit for MGM until the 1949 re-release, earning only $3.02 million at the box office against a budget of $2.8 million – it was the most expensive production ever for the studio at the time. Thanks to various reissues, unadjusted for inflation, it has finally made $23.3 million. The Wizard of Oz will be in select theaters January 27, 29, and 30, 2019.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ secrets you probably haven’t heard “The Wizard of Oz” is still captivating viewers nearly 80 years since it first premiered in theaters. In fact, according to a recent research conducted worldwide, the classic musical has had the most impact in audiences than any other Hollywood masterpiece, including 1960’s “Psycho” and 1977’s “Star Wars.” Historians and collectors Jay Scarfone and William Stillman aren’t surprised by the findings. They’ve written several books on “The Wizard of Oz” and earlier this year they released “The Road to Oz,” which features interviews with several of those involved with the production of the 1939 film and surprising anecdotes from personal archives. The Oz experts spoke with Fox News about some of the surprising facts they found as they researched for their new book

Oz in the News 12.5.18

‘Wizard of Oz,’ Miyazaki to star in LA Motion Picture museum An immersive “Wizard of Oz” exhibit will greet visitors to the Motion Picture museum in Los Angeles when it opens after a long delay in late 2019, organizers said on Tuesday. A pair of the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the classic 1939 musical, along with costumes, props and exhibits about the behind the scenes making of “The Wizard of Oz”, will be installed in the lobby of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Hundreds of other movie memorabilia on show in the main “Where Dreams Are Made” exhibit will include a pair of doors from Rick’s Cafe from the movie “Casablanca” and the typewriter used to write Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” The 300,000-sq-foot museum, with two movie theaters and sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills, is now expected to open in about a year, museum officials said on Tuesday. The work of Japanese master animator Hayao Miyazaki will be the subject of the museum’s first temporary exhibit, followed by one on African-American cinema from 1900 to 1970 that is scheduled for the fall of 2020.

People demand refunds after utterly ‘sloppy’ performance of ‘The Wiz’ Dorothy forgot her lines, the Cowardly Lion looked more like a bear and the magical land of Oz was displayed on a laptop projector. A subpar performance of “The Wiz” put on by a concert promotion agency this past weekend at the Brown Theatre has caused dozens of Louisville customers to call and demand refunds, according to an employee at the Kentucky Center For the Performing Arts. Helen Barnett, who spent $65 for seats, said she was a fan of “The Wiz” because of its all-black cast. “It was terrible,” Barnett said. “Dorothy was wearing a Walmart dress. They forgot their dialogues … at one point Dorothy said she wanted to go back to Texas!” (In “The Wiz,” Dorothy is from Harlem while Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” is from Kansas.) Tasha McGhee, who went to the 7 p.m. show, said the actor playing the Cowardly Lion didn’t have a tail or a mane on his costume. He was missing one of his paws and was wearing one black sock instead. It went downhill from there. McGhee said there were several times the cast and crew set the wrong scene and needed to turn off the lights to reset it. “It was really sloppy,” Tasha McGhee said. “The backdrop was a projected image of a cornfield and a barn. But then laptop notifications kept popping up on screen. They were projecting it off of someone’s computer.”

Oz in the News 12.4.18

Rhys Thomas’ Ruby Slippers Book Offers New Insights On FBI Recovery Of Stolen Shoes Rhys Thomas at first thought the call from the FBI was a joke. The author and documentary filmmaker listened to the phone message again and jotted down the return number. “Could this be a crank call?” he wondered. “Am I a person of interest in some investigation I know nothing about?” Calling the number in Minneapolis, he got FBI public affairs officer Michael Kulstad on the phone. “May I ask what this is about?” Thomas asked, still a bit wary. “May we speak confidentially?” the FBI official asked. “Yes,” Thomas replied. “Mr. Thomas, this is about the ruby slippers.” “We’d like to invite you to a press conference,” the FBI official told Thomas over the Labor Day weekend. “Do you think you could attend?” “Can you tell me anything more about this?” Thomas asked. “What about the shoes?” After a long pause, Kulstad said: “I can tell you that we have recovered the ruby slippers.”

The Wizard of Oz is a grotesque predictor of Trump’s America Oz is first wondrous and revelatory, then sinister and suspect, a good trip that goes wrong, swerving from the vivid Ikea yellow of the munchkins’ brick road to the scorched red-and-black tableau of the wicked witch’s eyrie. It’s this lurking inner wrongness, the darkness at its edges and the emptiness at its core, that speaks to me now. The US of The Wizard of Oz is not so far from the US of today. The supposedly great man living in Trump Tower – I mean Emerald City – turns out to be a con artist, a bloviating coward who relies on self-aggrandisement and empty shows of power to cow the people. The film’s chaotic momentum, in which events roll luridly from one rococo set-piece to the next, with Dorothy’s destination and the purpose of her trip moving in and out of focus, seems strangely familiar. And the central reveal about the hollowness, cynicism, opportunism, egotism and fakery of our leaders is chillingly apt.