Oz in the News 6.2.23

Man who allegedly stole Judy Garland’s Ruby Slippers enters not guilty plea

Court documents show Terry Jon Martin entered a plea of not guilty on Thursday in federal court for one count of Theft of Major Artwork.

Jurors returned the indictment for the theft of an object of cultural heritage from the care, custody or control of a museum in May, court records show.

Martin allegedly stole the pair of iconic shoes, which are one of four remaining pairs, in late August of 2005.

The shoes are worth at least $100,000, and although they were ensured for $1 million at the time of the theft, the current market appraisal values them at $3.5 million.

Federal authorities, along with Grand Rapids police, found the shoes in July of 2018. However, the investigation is ongoing by the FBI’s Minneapolis Division.

Oz in the News 5.31.23

David Lynch, best known for the surreal, unsettling cinematic worlds he creates, is the focus of a new documentary that explores his artistic inspiration drawn from one of Hollywood’s most vibrant visual journeys: “The Wizard of Oz”. Film critic Lisa Nesselson discusses how this critical examination highlights some of the iconography of the 1939 classic in Lynch’s oeuvre. 

Oz in the News 5.28.23

Taylor Swift has shared a new music video for her “Karma” remix featuring Ice Spice. Directed by Swift herself, the video places the pop star in a variety of unusual locations: inside a lightbulb, trapped in an hourglass, atop a Wizard of Oz-themed storybook with a yellow brick road. She’s later joined by Ice Spice and the two lasso planets together, row in a boat across an ocean, and serenade one another as the mountains (Swift) and the clouds (Ice Spice). Watch it below.

Oz in the News 05.26.23

Is ‘Ted Lasso’ really just a modern day retelling of this technicolor classic?

Aside from the occasionally comparable aesthetics and references to not being “in Kansas anymore,” (always bound to come up in a fish-out-of-water comedy about a man from Kansas), there are plenty of deeper links between the drama comedy and legendary film.

First and foremost, some context. One of the show’s creators, Bill Lawrence, has already displayed his love for Oz in a previous show: Scrubs. In an Oz-themed episode of the medical comedy series, the main characters have plots that align with Dorothy, the lion, the tin man, and the scarecrow, and there are also a fair few other references thrown in (patients being named after people who played a part in the making of the film and one of the characters listening to a song by the band Toto on their way into work are just two of them).

But that was just a single-episode homage. What we’re saying, and what we think the evidence points to, is that Ted Lasso effectively is Dorothy Gale — beyond his penchant for red sneakers, his clothes that match Dorothy’s famous gingham pattern dress, and other slipped-in references (like the fact that in episode one of season 2, Rebecca offers Ted a vodka tonic from a tray, which is the drink mentioned in Elton John’s song about Oz, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”).

Oz in the News 5.25.23

Brandi Carlile released a cover of “Home.” Carlile’s version of the song from The Wiz musical/film appeared in the latest episode of the Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso.

The Wiz was a 1975 Broadway musical and later a 1978 film based on Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz. Both the stage and film versions featured an all-Black cast. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor and Lena Horne were among the stars of the film.

Charlie Smalls composed the music for both the Broadway musical and film versions of The Wiz including “Home,” which is sung by Diana Ross as Dorothy in the film for the finale. Whitney Houston later covered “Home” as did Barbra Streisand.

Brandi Carlile is the latest to tackle “Home.” Carlile delivered a stirring rendition and handled the song’s expansive vocal range well.

Oz in the News 5.23.23

North Carolina’s famed ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme park to celebrate its 30th Anniversary

The Land of Oz was a theme park that operated between 1970-1980. It wasn’t until 1988 when a reunion of original park employees, known as the “Ozzies,” brought the park back to life with yearly re-openings known as the Autumn at Oz Festival. It opens a few times each year, to take visitors along the yellow brick road to Oz.

It’s located at 2669 Beech Mountain Parkway. Ticket prices vary and again go on sale in June 2023 find out more at the Land of Oz website.

Oz in the News 5.21.23

World Premiere Musical OZ Makes Its Debut 

Preempted from freeFall’s 19/20 season, this much-anticipated world-premiere musical by freeFall’s artistic director Eric Davis and resident music director Michael Raabe finally takes its turn on June 2. OZ explores the genius of L. Frank Baum and his complicated relationship with his most famous creation, the Land of Oz. This is the story of a dreamer at the dawn of a new age who reinvented the fairy tale in a distinctly American way, painting an idealized and magical vision of a world where witches might be good, and what you’re seeking is already inside you.

OZ stars David Foley, Jr. (Broadway National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera), Melissa Minyard (Broadway’s Les Miserables) and Drew H. Wells (freeFall debut!). Tampa Bay favorite Roxanne Fay returns to freeFall as Matilda Joslyn Gage with Elizabeth Meckler (American Stage’s Ragtime) as Dorothy.

Davis and Raabe have been collaborating for over a decade on exciting adaptations and re-imagined productions of classics like The Pirates of Penzance, Peter Pan, War of the Worlds and the interactive walkthrough experience, The Rose and The Beast. OZ marks the longtime collaborators first original work together with Raabe writing music and lyrics and Davis writing the book and additional lyrics.

Book tickets now atClick HereClick Here or by calling 727-498-5205. OZ plays freeFall June 2 through July 9. Tickets range from $45 – $55. There are two previews. One on June 2 at 7pm and on June 3 at 2pm. Tickets for previews are only $25. freeFall matinees are always at 2pm and evening performances are always at 7pm.

Oz in the News 5.20.23

Bill to buy ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” introduced Friday

Minnesota legislators have introduced a bill to allocate money to the Minnesota Historical Society to purchase the iconic ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz.”

The slippers – one of four known pairs to exist – were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids in 2005. The alarm system didn’t go off and no fingerprints were left behind – just a single red sequin. They were recovered by the FBI during a sting operation in Minneapolis 13 years later. 

For years, many speculated that the burglary was an inside job, but on Wednesday, 76-year-old Grand Rapids native Terry Martin was charged with stealing them. He has a previous felony conviction from 1986 for receiving stolen goods out of Hennepin County, and was unknown to employees of the museum.

The slippers are worth at least $100,000. The bill stipulates that the slippers must be publicly displayed by the Minnesota Historical Society, which can lease or loan them to the Judy Garland Museum.

Oz in the News Special Bulletin

Man indicted for stealing ‘Wizard of Oz’ ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland

A man has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of stealing a pair of ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz,” federal prosecutors in North Dakota said Wednesday.

The shoes were stolen in 2005 and recovered by a 2018 FBI sting operation, but no arrests were made at the time.

Terry Martin was indicted Tuesday with one count of theft of a major artwork, prosecutors announced Wednesday. The indictment did not provide any further information about Martin and online records do not list an attorney for him.

On Wednesday, a summons was issued for Martin. An initial court appearance was set for June 1, and it will be via video. Terry Van Horn, spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department in North Dakota, said he could not provide any information beyond what was included in the indictment.

When they were stolen, the slippers were on loan from Hollywood memorabilia collector Michael Shaw. The three remaining pairs Garland wore in the movie were held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian, and a private collector.

Oz in the News 5.17.23

The Wizard Of Oz Author L Frank Baum Had A Penchant For Fowl Play

LONG before he wrote a book about Dorothy — a girl from Kansas who, along with her dog Toto, was transplanted into a magical land known as Oz during a tornado — Lyman Frank Baum (who preferred to go by Frank) had a flourishing career as a columnist, editor and publisher of another literary endeavour: a trade journal about chickens. 

This isn’t meant to be flippant, for Frank was most fervent about fowl. And while poultry may have been a recent passion for him, publishing was an older one, dating to about 1870, when Frank was merely 14. The technology of the printing press had piqued his interest, so his father bought a small, easy-to-operate machine for Frank. He promptly began publishing a “newspaper” about their home from it. By 1873, Frank had done what all gadget enthusiasts love to, and upgraded to a better model. 

By March of 1880 — despite his young age —  he was considered enough of an expert that his launching of “The Poultry Record” was a modest success. 

As journals go, descriptions of The Poultry Record don’t exactly sound groundbreaking, but Frank did manage to ruffle a few feathers, most notably those of rival breeders (and publications), with his well-aimed literary potshots. He also dispensed advice on the breeding of fancy fowl. Several issues later, he accepted a takeover bid for the journal, and the deal included Frank staying on as a columnist for The Poultry Record.