Oz in the News 8.21.11

Disney and Raimi Preview New Oz  Disney pulled back the curtain at D23 Saturday to reveal Oz The Great and Powerful, a prequel to Wizard of Oz that just recently began filming in Michigan. Although neither director Sam Raimi nor his cast — which includes James Franco as the title character — could make it there, the filmmaker did send along an EPK-style sizzle reel featurette to take D23 attendees behind the scenes of his new movie.
The featurette showcased concept art of Raimi’s Oz, which the filmmaker insists is closer to author L. Frank Baum’s original description of the fantasy land than past film incarnations have been. If you can imagine a realm somewhere between Tim Burton’s Wonderland, Avatar’s Pandora and the Irish countryside, you have a good idea of what’s in store.

Wizard of OZ is 72yrs old today!  It’s 12:40 am Friday morning and NYC’s Madame Tussauds decides they need an over sized pair of the world famous Wizard of Oz’s Ruby Red Slippers in order to celebrate the launch of The Wizard of Oz Cinema 4-D experience in New York that coming Tuesday. Interested in seeing photos of how we made them?  Check out our Facebook fan page and don’t forget to hit “LIKE” !!!

“The Wizard of Oz: Classic Movies on the Radio” Audiobook Download Now Available  The digital audiobook The Wizard of Oz: Classic Movies on the Radio, narrated by Judy Garland, has received an average rating of 4.09 stars on Audible.com. The title has a running length of 1 hour The audiobook was first released in December 2006 and a sample is available for download.  The audiobook is normally sold by Audible.com for $2.95, but if you’re not already an AudibleListener® member, you can take advantage of a special promotion and get The Wizard of Oz: Classic Movies on the Radio or any other audiobook for free with a 14-day free trial. If you are a current Audible.com member, the audiobook is available for 1 credit(s).

Art review: The striking comic artistry of Ben Caldwell  Caldwell, in all of his skills, is a cartoonist and animation developer who utilizes every resource at his command in order to convey a strong, visually compelling narrative in cartoon form.  He is an obsessive and consummate draftsman, who during the course of our conversation was drawing into a small tablet all the while. Well versed in the history of comics, he is familiar with those of the past and is the illustrator of such graphic novels as the vampire saga of Dracula, the Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter and the further adventures of Wonder Woman.  This exhibit displays many first-draft ideas and is filled with examples of his work, from minor sketches to completed, full-color pages of exacting precision. Presently, his style echoes a combination of wistful Disney-esque wide-eyed characters, sweeping perspectives and an energetic manga sense of leaping action. He uses a clean, clear and crisp calligraphic line that never appears disjointed or awkward regardless of the fantastical subject matter.

Geckos on display in Gulfport  The theme of the 2011 Gecko Ball is The Lizard of Oz. Oz-inspired décor will take over the entire Peninsula Inn. Admission includes an Oz-inspired dinner buffet, live music and dancing featuring Kevin Wilder and his Yellow Brick Roadies, a photo booth with Oz backdrops, cash bar and drink specials including Geckotinis and Ruby Slippers, silent auctions and other surprises. Costumes are encouraged, but are not mandatory.

Judy Garland Drama Coming to Broadway  “End of the Rainbow,” Peter Quilter’s popular London drama-with-music about the final months of Judy Garland’s life, will come to Broadway next year, the show’s producers announced on Thursday. Performances are scheduled to begin March 19, 2012, at a Shubert theater to be announced, with opening night set for April 3. Tracie Bennett, a two-time Olivier Award winner who originated the role of Garland in London, will reprise her role on Broadway.

Judy Garland in 1944 film “Meet Me in St. Louis” on Blu-ray December   Warner is bringing the classic 1944 musical “Meet Me in St. Louis” starring the late Judy Garland to Blu-ray Disc on December 13th. Tech specs for the release have not yet been officially detailed but stay tuned. The title is now available for PRE-ORDER over at Amazon with a $24.99 price tag. The release will come in the form of a “DigiBook” and the bonus materials set to be included are listed below. Even further below after the break you’ll find a trailer for the film.  Introduction by Liza Minnelli. Audio commentary by Garland biographer John Fricke, actress Margaret O’Brien, screenwriter Irving Brecher, songwriter Hugh Martin, and Barbara Freed-Saltzman, daughter of producer Arthur Freed.  3 documentary specials – Meet Me in St. Louis: The Making of an American Classic, Hollywood: The Dream Factory, and Becoming Attractions: Judy Garland.  The 1966 pilot for the Meet Me in St. Louis TV series.  2 vintage shorts – 1930′s Bubbles and 1941′s Skip to My Lou.  Audio Vault featuring an outtake of “Boys and Girls Like You and Me” and a 1946 Lux Radio Theater broadcast.

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