Oz in the News 6.18.11

Finally, a memorial to Toto from ‘The Wizard of Oz’  “Toto is truly one of the favorite stars of the film,” says Mercedes Michalowski, director of the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. “A lot of our requests are for Toto displays and gifts.” Like the International Wizard of Oz Club and like Cairn Terrier Clubs across the country, Michalowski began following Toto’s latest adventure on Myers’ Facebook page. She was relieved to learn that when Calabasas said no, Myers and Goldstein turned to Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Owner Tyler Cassity said yes. Enthusiastically. Then he donated a $100,000 V.I.P. plot near the remains of Johnny Ramone, Rudolph Valentino and Jayne Mansfield. Then he commissioned a bronze sculpture of Toto to crown the monument. It will be unveiled at 11 a.m., on Sat., June 18, before movie lovers, dog lovers and the offspring of L. Frank Baum, who wrote The Wizard of Oz, and Carl Spitz, who owned and trained Toto. (Rumor has it that a Munchkin will attend, too!)

Wizard of Oz Munchkin Remembers  One Munchkin from the 1939 Wizard of Oz movie traveled from Georgia to is celebrate the 36th annual Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids this weekend. In 1928, when Karl Slover was 9-years old he left his home in Budapest with the Original World Famous Singers and Midgets.

Wizard of Oz exhibit will visit Kalamazoo Valley Museum  On June 18th, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum will pay homage to L. Frank Baum’s novel by bringing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to Kalamazoo. According to a press release, children ages two through 12 years of age are encouraged to participate in the 1,500 ft. interactive exhibit. Similar to Dorothy’s journey down the yellow brick road, children will begin their expedition on a farm and will be schooled in the 20th century ways of life. From here, children will be swept away down tornado alley and learn about the science behind nature’s most malicious disasters.  Upon entering the next room, children will be thrown into the fantastical world of Oz where they can help the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion overcome adversity while simultaneously becoming more aware of themselves by putting to practice the characteristics that will inevitably take root in the journey of life.

Think you know Oz, the Big Bad Wolf and the Little Mermaid? Think again. 3 children’s theater productions take new looks at familiar stories  Dorothy’s slippers will be silver not ruby when the marionettes of the Hole in the Wall Puppet Theatre bring their familiar problems to an infamous wizard. That’s because Artistic Director Robert Brock’s version of “The Wizard of Oz” opening Saturday is based more on the original Frank Baum “Oz” book than the beloved 1939 film with its Technicolor need for those flaming–red pumps. The familiar characters will appear at the end of Brock’s strings –– Dorothy the Tin Man the Cowardly Lion the Scarecrow some witches and one munchkin –– and the Oz storyline remains intact. However “it’s not a copy of the movie” Brock says. “For example in this ‘Oz’ the witch does not say ‘I’ll get you my pretty and your little dog too’ because it’s not in the book.”

‘Guitar Wizard of Oz’ to play at TPAC  Two-time Grammy nominee Tommy Emmanuel, who the late guitar legend Chet Atkins called “one of the all-time greatest guitarists on the planet,” will perform Sept. 13 at the Topeka Performing Arts Center. The 56-year-old, Australian-born Emmanuel has been playing guitar since age 4, learning the instrument by ear, with no formal instruction, and has never read music. By age 6, he was playing professionally in a family band that toured Australia.

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