Oz in the News 3.29.17

National Recording Registry Picks Are “Over the Rainbow”  Judy Garland’s hit single “Over The Rainbow”; the original-cast album of “The Wiz”; the rap group N.W.A’s seminal album, “Straight Outta Compton”; the Eagles’ 1976 “Their Greatest Hits”; and the national anthem of black America have been designated as aural treasures worthy of preservation as part of America’s patrimony. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today named these recordings and 20 other titles to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress because of their cultural, artistic and historical importance to American society and the nation’s audio heritage. One of the best-known ballads of all time, “Over the Rainbow,” from the classic American fantasy film “The Wizard of Oz,” expresses a poignant yearning for escape as sung by the film’s young star, Judy Garland.  “Over the Rainbow” became an anthem for Garland, a song she cherished throughout her life as her favorite.  “It represents everyone’s wondering why things can’t be a little better,” she said in a 1967 interview, two years before her death. Lyricist E. Y. “Yip” Harburg settled on the image of the rainbow as the “only colorful thing that she’s [the Garland character] ever seen in her life,” he recalled, and created a symbol of hope that also became a reason for the film’s creators to shift its cinematography from sepia tones to Technicolor once Dorothy landed in the Land of Oz. Garland credited the song’s “childlike, wistful quality” to its composer, Harold Arlen.  The song won an Academy Award, and the 1939 Decca recording by Garland—released a few weeks after the film’s premiere—with accompaniment by Victor Young and his orchestra, became a best-seller.

Oz in the News 3.24.17

Man in Cold Norton Road, Latchingdon buys Wizard of Oz-style ruby slippers to display in front lawn for shoe-crazed wife  MOST of us like to present our front gardens with a nice border of flowers and an immaculate patch of lawn. Such thinking doesn’t hold sway with Andy Walker, who has adorned his garden in Latchingdon with a Wizard of Oz-esque pair of ruby slippers. Mr Walker, a scrap merchant who moved to his Cold Norton Road home nearly three years ago, discovered the shoes at a scrap factory awaiting to be destroyed. “Being a scrap merchant, I was one day walking around a scrap factory when I spotted these huge red, high-heeled shoes on top of a shelf, and I thought to myself, if these can’t satisfy an obsession with shoes, I don’t know what can. After they’d been placed down we had several people walking by just looking and taking photos, which isn’t very surprising. “It’s not something you’ll see every day in a quiet neighbourhood.”

Oz in the News 3.22.17

Boomerang Launching ‘Dorothy & The Wizard Of Oz’ and ‘Wacky Races’ in June Turner International has revealed details of two new WB Animation original series — Dorothy & the Wizard of Oz and Wacky Races. In the U.S., they will exclusively be shown on the company’s recently announced subscription Streaming Video-On-Demand (SVOD) service. Internationally they will air on the company’s linear Boomerang kids channel starting in June. Dorothy & the Wizard of Oz is an uplifting comedic fantasy series based on the classic L. Frank Baum book series, and set soon after Dorothy and her friends have defeated the Wicked Witch of the West. Following the original story, Queen Ozma has appointed Dorothy the Princess of Emerald City and, practically born for the role, Dorothy tackles her royal duties with enthusiasm, bravery and farm girl feistiness.

Oz in the News 3.17.17

Morpurgo pens Wizard of Oz retelling for HarperCollins Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz tells the story of L Frank Baum’s original tale through the eyes of Toto, Dorothy’s trusted canine companion. Morpurgo said: “The Wizard of Oz is a truly wonderful and magical tale, but I always felt that there was one character who had little part to play in the story. Dorothy we know and love, but her dog Toto does little more than accompany her on her adventures. We never know what he thinks of all that is going on – he just gets carried around a lot. Why not tell the story again, but through Toto’s eyes! Our hope is that through Toto, many thousands of children, and grown-up children too, will come to enjoy L Frank Baum’s wonderful Wizard of Oz again.” Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz will publish on 7th September 2017 in full-colour hardback, with simultaneous publication in the UK and US, as well as in e-book and audiobook formats. Publication will coincide with the opening of Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime in Stories, a free exhibition at the V & A Museum of Childhood which celebrates Morpurgo’s life and writing. The exhibition moves from Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books, where it is currently on display, and will open on 22nd July 2017 until 25th February 2018.

Oz like you’ve never seen it before Long overshadowed by the immensely popular 1939 remake, the rarely seen silent version of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1925) will be screened one time only on Sunday, March 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., Wilton. The program, which will include an earlier short Oz film also based on stories and characters of author L. Frank Baum, will be accompanied by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based silent film musician. Accompanist Jeff Rapsis specializes in creating music that bridges the gap between an older film and the expectations of today’s audiences. Using a digital synthesizer that recreates the texture of a full orchestra, he improvises scores in real time as a movie unfolds, so that the music for no two screenings is the same. “It’s kind of a high wire act, but it helps create an emotional energy that’s part of the silent film experience,” Rapsis said. “It’s easier to be in tune with the emotional line of the movie and the audience’s reaction when I’m able to follow what’s on screen, rather than be buried in sheet music,” he said. The silent version of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1925) and other Oz-related silent films will be shown on Sunday, March 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., Wilton, N.H. Admission is free; a donation of $5 per person is suggested to help defray expenses. For more info, visit http://www.wiltontownhalltheatre.com or call (603) 654-3456. For more info on the music, visit http://www.jeffrapsis.com.

 

Oz in the News 3.16.17

Oz Park’s ‘Toto’ Sculpture Model Has Died, And Fans Are Leaving Flowers Dedicated in 2007, “Dorothy and Toto” was the last of four “Wizard of Oz” sculptures executed by Kearney for the park. Kearney was a silversmith and goldsmith who once made a set of cufflinks for Duke Ellington before he was inspired to start making sculptures out of car bumpers. He was commissioned by the Oz Park Advisory Council and the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce to create the Tin Man sculpture now at the main northeast entrance to the park at Lincoln and Webster avenues in the ’90s. Going on to work in bronze, he executed sculptures of the Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion before finishing with “Dorothy and Toto.” “The love of my life, my little girl,” Jackie Kelly, of Provincetown, Mass., said Tuesday, after her dog, daVinci, died in her sleep Sunday night. “Little dog, big heart.”

Toto was stolen from the MGM Grand ‘Emerald City’ display and taken on tour The MGM was quite a bit different from today when it first opened, with a giant lion’s mouth above the entry way, and an Oz theme inside. All was well until the smallest member of the group was abducted. “I’m deeply saddened by the loss of Toto,” the MGM’s Bill Doak told News 3. “And we’ve alerted the authorities.” “All appeared lost until we got this fax here in the newsroom,” reported News 3’s Rick Fuentes in April of 1995. “A ransom note that says ‘Step aside, OJ. We’ve got Toto.’ It says, ‘Don’t bother clicking your heels.’ Now through some very scientific tests–and watching the movie a couple of times–we have determined that this photo is Toto.” Teasing pictures showed Toto in Canada. His abductors agreed to be interviewed, in subtle disguise. With News 3 acting as an intermediary, Toto was returned at night on a pedestrian bridge. The next day, the resort sent an emerald limo to pick up the dog. “Oh, you’re back,” said the MGM’s Michelle Tell accepting the return of purloined puppy. “It looks a little broken. I think that they were trying to send the foot back, just to show that they had Toto. But we’ll repair him, and he’ll be back at the Emerald City probably tomorrow. Everybody missed you. We’re so glad you’re home. Back at the MGM where you belong.”

What’s with all the ‘Wizard of Oz’ talk on ‘The Path’? There’s a moment in the episode, aptly titled “Oz,” that puts Eddie in front of a bus full of faceless passengers. The newest vision helps to paint Eddie’s internal struggle as he begins to ascend The Ladder once again. He’s well on his way to accepting his fate, taking the steps to become the true leader Meyerism deserves. The Ladder could easily be looked at as being a road to enlightenment — akin to an isolating version of the classic yellow brick road motif. It seems that Eddie is on the right path, finally. It’s only a matter of time before he reveals the truth to every Meyerist in the compound: Removing those green-colored glasses to see this Emerald City as it truly is.

Oz in the News 3.12.17

OVER THE CHASE-BOW Come Sing and Dance for Comic Relief blown away by smash Wizard of Oz performance by the chasers from The Chase VIEWERS of Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief were blown away when the stars of The Chase gave the performance of the night. Hyper intelligent general knowledge quiz masters Mark Labbett (aka The Beast), Anne Hegerty (otherwise known as The Governess), Shaun Wallace (aka The Dark Destroyer) and Jenny Ryan (code name The Vixen) went over the rainbow for a Wizard of Oz performance. Jenny kicked off their performance channelling her inner Judy Garland as she sang a note perfect rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow dressed as Dorothy Gale. She was joined Anne who dressed as the Scarecrow, while Mark got wild to dress up as the cowardly lion, and Shaun provided some shiny excellence as the Tin Man.

Oz in the News 3.10.17

Oz Books Can Teach Your Kids About Woke Politics And Colonial Crimes Since the day it became the best-selling book of 1900, the world has never been without The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. L. Frank Baum’s story about a Kansas girl who ascends via twister to a witch-plagued but otherwise perfect fairyland became a kid-lit classic long before the 1939 film, the most-watched motion picture ever, ensured Oz’s everlasting status. But Wizard was just the first of 14 Oz books by Baum, a series that provides a perfect introduction for younger kids to progressive politics like feminism, socialism, pacifism and multiculturalism. For older kids, however, the author’s racist writings about indigenous people outside of the books can be used as an entry point to discuss issues like colonialism and genocide.

Why I Still Walk the Yellow Brick Road I have the soundtrack on CD, a wind-up music box that plays “Over the Rainbow,” a vintage wallpaper lion decorating the nursery and, yes, I shelled out for the 70th anniversary ultimate edition Blu-ray boxset which not only includes the best-ever restoration of the 1939 musical but also the half-dozen silent Oz movies which preceded it and hours of documentaries on the film and phenom. And a couple weeks ago I brought my three-year-old son to see the musical, his first theatrical experience. But this isn’t just another geeky obsession. Or at least, not only. The Oz books were my dad’s favourite growing up. My sister was born while he, then a high-school acting teacher, was directing the play. My mom went into labour with me while watching it on TV a few years later. And three years after that, again during the Oz’s annual television screening, we got a call that my cousin had been born. In grade seven, I even played the wizard in our school play. So Oz has been a part of my life forever, and is a tradition I’m proudly passing on. But while the movie has been a part of our entire society’s shared experience since it became a TV staple in the mid-1950s — its unforgettable songs, unparalleled art direction, heart-warming scarecrow and bloodcurdling witch are now parts of modern folklore — there is so much more to Baum’s world.