Oz in the News 12.14.11

First Look: Dorothy’s House from the Wizard of Oz Pinball Machine  The Witch’s legs are expected to appear when the house stops spinning and look to be attached to the back of the house’s front wall.  This wall pivots about its base to hide or show the legs.   Whether that pivoting happens as a result of the centrifugal force created when the house spins, or whether there is some external impetus to get it to happen isn’t yet known.  Jersey Jack Pinball (JJP) have said that the player has to achieve something in order to make the legs appear, so it may require physically activating. The house is expected to have decals applied to recreate the various windows, doors and wall and roof textures seen on the earlier version.  It has been made out of metal to provide the durability needed when it spins rapidly, while the aluminium construction should keep the weight down, requiring a less power-hungry (and heavy) motor.

Musical of the Month: The Wizard of Oz (1903)   Like many who spent their early childhood in those years before home video technology (VCRs, DVDs, Netflix, etc.) became ubquitous, I have fond memories of watching the annual television broadcasts of the 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz with my family.  Unlike most children, though, I spent much of my later childhood obsessed with the story.  As a six year old, I became a card-carrying member of The International Wizard of Oz Club, read all 14 Oz books by L. Frank Baum, and hunted in used-bookstores for the additional authorized books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, Jack Snow, and Dick Martin.  I vaguely knew that there were dramatic adaptations of The Wizard of Oz before Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, and Bert Lahr followed the yellow-brick road, but living as I did in the Midwest in those days before the commercial Internet, I suspected I would never get a chance to read or see them.

Oz Revisited   To the extent that Oz is a stand-in for America, Maguire offers so ugly a vision of it that most readers would turn away in disgust–were it not for the playful charm of the whole thing.  We can have our innocence and eat it too in Maguire’s Oz. As to where this dire view of America comes from, that part seems easy enough. This is pretty much the view of the country propagated by the academy for a generation or two.

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One response to “Oz in the News 12.14.11

  1. davidleeingersoll

    Just venting here. I really really wish that reviewers knew the difference between the MGM movie and Baum’s books. Elphaba bears no resemblance to the Witch of the West in the Wizard book. She is a reinterpretation of the Witch from the movie. But I imagine that anyone coming to this site knows that. So, like I said, just venting.

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