Oz in the News 12.2.11

Beyond the Yellow Brick Road  No child today has ever lived in a world without Muggles. But nobody alive has known a world without munchkins, not after L. Frank Baum went from entertaining neighbourhood children with his flights of fancy to landing those flights on paper in the best-selling children’s book of 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. As much as Harry Potter may define modern kid-lit, Baum set the yellow-brick standard and Oz remains as ubiquitous as ever. The 1939 film adaptation is estimated to have been watched by more people than any other motion-picture in history and earlier this year was turned into an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in London’s West End. Webber was no doubt inspired by the success of revisionist Oz musical Wickeditself adapted from Gregory Maguire’s book series, which saw the fourth entry Out of Oz released last month—but Baum had staged his own Broadway smash in 1902, which was the Cats of its day.

Interview with Angelica Shirley Carpenter Biographer of Children’s Book Authors  “I found Matilda through her son-in-law, L. Frank Baum, author of the Oz books. Mother and I wrote our second biography about him, so Matilda has been on my radar since then. It is fun to think of Matilda and Frank, writing very different kinds of material under the same roof, and I don’t think that it is a coincidence that, when you look at Frank’s 14-book Oz series, you see that Oz is a paradise ruled by women.”

“Glee” meets “Star Wars” holiday special meets Judy Garland  “Glee” forums have been consumed with speculation about an apearance of some sort of “Big Foot” on the set of the show in recent weeks — leading, no doubt, some to assume that Ryan Murphy had decided to conflate “Glee” and “American Horror Story” into one very special holiday episode. In fact,the furry one was quickly ID’d as a real superstar, Chewbacca. Last night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the star and director of the Christmas episode told JK that — yes — Judy Garland will also be incorporated into the special.

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