Oz in the News 8.16.11

International Wizard of Oz Club convention takes fans over the rainbow  Well over 300 members came to skip down the yellow road on Saturday, and it was apparent just how excited each person was. The unique part of the day’s events was that those that had worked at Oz when it was in operation came to perform songs and skits that had been a part of the park’s daily program, and also shared their memories and photos. The fact that the Land of Oz is not open for tours, except for the first weekend of October during its Autumn at Oz festivities, made the day all the more special.

Off to hear the Wizard  Acclaimed classical guitarist Chequerboard (aka John Lambert) will perform a specially commissioned soundtrack to the 10-minute silent film The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) before the main screening, which is part of the Kilmainham Arts Festival, which takes place on August 26th and 27th.

30th Annual Wizard of Oz Fest in Chesterton will not include ‘Lollipop’ Munchkin  This year, I’ve been told by festival publicity go-to gal Mary Reinhart that this year, her committee has officially secured attendance by two of the four surviving original Munchkins from the movie: Karl Slover and Magaret Pellegrini. At the age of 21 and standing just 4 feet 4 inches, Slover, who turns 93 on Sept. 21, can be seen playing the first trumpeter in Munchkinland. Pellegrini, who turns 88 on Sept. 23, is in good spirits, but has been fighting some health ups and downs this month. On July 31, she had surgery to have a pacemaker implant for her heart. Pellegini, who was just about 16 at the time of filming, is seen in “The Wizard of Oz” playing one of the “Sleepyheads” in the Munchkinland over-sized nest. This year’s festival, which is Sept. 16-18, will also include appearances by Mary Ellen St. Aubin and Myrna Swensen, who are considered “Munchkins by marriage,” since their late spouses had roles in the film.

Judy Garland celebrated in new John Fricke book, ‘Judy: A Legendary Film Career’  Fricke considers his latest book to be the most candid: “It’s the first time I’ve been able to be as honest as I wanted to be. All the people are dead now: [ex-husband] Sid Luft, [agents] Freddie Fields and David Begelman.” “There were a lot of litigious people out there,” Fricke said. Judy: A Legendary Film Career contains about 550 photographs, about half from Fricke’s personal stash. “I must have about 6,000 here,” he said from his home in New York City. “It’s not so much collecting as it is accumulating.”

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