Oz in the News 2.2.12

John Meyer’s “Operation Ruby Slipper”  John Meyer (author of “Heartbreaker” about his time spent with Judy Garland) has a new Garland-related book that’s available for purchase in both paperback and eBook formats.  This time around, he presents a fanciful fun fiction featuring a 21-year-old Judy Garland who’s dropped behind German lines in 1943 by the OSS with the task of bringing back a photo of an elusive Nazi physicist.

Saving the Songbook  In a 1970 housecleaning, MGM dumped priceless film scores, musical manuscripts and recordings into a landfill by the Golden State Freeway near Valencia, Calif. Among the lost works were the original score for Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.” According to Michael Feinstein, singer, pianist and America’s most important archivist of the Great American Songbook: “This was one of the most dramatic demonstrations of how little people cared about this music. Arrangers and conductors can’t perform these classics without attempting to re-create them, note for note.” Moreover, Mr. Feinstein laments, this work continues to be trashed figuratively, if not literally. He recalled that the infamous talent judge Simon Cowell insulted a singing aspirant on “American Idol” by saying, “That sounds like cabaret.”

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