Monthly Archives: March 2012

Oz in the News 3.29.12

Academy adds to future museum When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences gathered for a recent staff meeting at the Pickford Center in Hollywood, the group had the opportunity to see a piece of movie history that impressed even the most senior executives: a pair of ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.” It was the first time since AMPAS made the acquisition in February that anyone within the org had seen the shoes, and everyone celebrated with red velvet cupcakes embellished with tiny, garnet-colored shoes. The footwear unveiling was a tangible sign of how much closer the org is getting to opening the decades-in-the-making Academy Museum of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the centerpiece of which will be Dorothy’s magical shoes. The Academy recently named execs to run the museum, which is targeted to open at LACMA’s May Co. building in 2016.

Darren Aronofsky Judy Garland Movie: Director Shoots Down Rumors Of New Biopic Via Twitter  Cross one project off Darren Aronofsky’s growing ledger. Despite a report from the website Tracking Board on Tuesday that Aronofsky would helm “Get Happy,” a Judy Garland biopic that has Anne Hathaway attached to star, the director confirms it isn’t happening. “Judy Garland story is not true,” Aronofsky wrote on Twitter. While the account is not verified by the social networking site, The Huffington Post confirmed with Aronofsky’s publicist that it is indeed the director doing the tweeting.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Wizard of Oz at the Orpheum  Forget evening-dress attire. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is encouraging patrons to don their best Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Wicked Witch costumes to win prizes at a unique screening of the original 1939 The Wizard of Oz on Monday (April 2). The VSO will provide the soundtrack, live, as Dorothy skips down the Yellow Brick Road to find her way home. Get ready for classic tunes like “Over the Rainbow” and “If I Only Had a Brain”, along with classical moments that include Robert Schumann’s The Happy Farmer, Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, and Felix Mendelssohn’s Scherzo in E Minor. And feel free to bring the munchkins.

Oz in the News 3.27.12

Dorothy of Oz Prequel #1 (Advance Review)  The comic book, across its 22 pages, does not move far in terms of story. It spends most of its time hanging out with the comic/movie’s antagonist who engages in a relatively uninteresting monologue for most of the time. All the reader learns is that he’s evil, that he does bad things and that most of his humor comes from him acting like he’s four. The comic’s artwork is the impressive strength of the book. It accurately fits the animation style of the upcoming movie, and Blair Shedd knows how to draw characters in a way that’s simple and emotive enough to engage child readers.

The Way of Oz: Guiding a Life of Wisdom, Heart, and Courage Besides commentary on the characteristics and the overall importance of humility, the Wizard in The Way of Oz inspires us to think of the wisdom of Confucius, who proclaimed: “Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.” And through The Way of Oz, we understand the power of integrity, empathy and beneficence to guide one’s life, all with ethics in the lead. Now, put the story, the characters and the lessons of the author’s life together and you have The Way of Oz: A Guide to Wisdom, Heart, and Courage. Or, stated differently, a guide for lifelong learning, loving, and serving—all with a future focus and ethics in the lead. Thus, The Way of Oz offers a framework for the journey down the Yellow Brick Road of Life.

Oz in the News 3.26.12

Park Ji Min Earns Two Perfect Scores on “K-pop Star” For the first time ever, Park Ji Min, a contestant on the popular SBS program “K-pop Star” received perfect scores of 100 from the judges. On the episode of “K-pop Star” that aired on March 25, Park Ji Min sang “Over the Rainbow” from the originial soundtrack of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Audiobook Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum Anne Hathaway’s reading of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz totally works. It’s hard not to hear the influence of the 1939 Musical in how she captures some of the characters, particularly Dorothy, and The Cowardly Lion. This creates an interesting issue. One of the things that is often strange for me when viewing The Wizard of Oz is Garland takes on the almost impetuous and naive cadence of an 8 year old girl, which is Dorothy’s true age as opposed to Garland’s actual age of 17 at the time of the performance.. Hathaway perfectly mimics that tone, which is just right for Dorothy, but you can’t help imagining the older Garland when she does it. This really isn’t a bad thing, but it does make for a weird blending of movie Dorothy and book Dorothy. Her voice of The Tin Woodsman has a melancholy tone, an almost feminine softness that is hard to adjust to at first, yet it captures the dichotomy of a character who a times cries when he kills a small bug, but then ruthlessly slaughters a legion of wolves. Most importantly, when you listen you are not constantly hung up on the fact that you are listening to a Hollywood Starlet read you a classic tale. Instead, her voice allows you to fully immerse yourself in the world of Oz, which is in fact, Wonderful.

Hillsides benefit brings in the green There was a traffic jam on the “Road to the Emerald City” when Hillsides, a non-profit home for abused children, held its annual benefit at the California Club in downtown Los Angeles.  Formally dressed guests captivated the “Wizard of Oz” spirit of Dorothy’s perseverance and compassion, Tin Man’s heart, Scarecrow’s wisdom and Lion’s courage to make a difference by raising $390,000 for this home that was first founded as an orphanage in 1913. Guests were enchanted by a replica of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers that she wore in the iconic film. The slippers were previously on loan to The Smithsonian Museum from the collection of David A. Pacheco. These sparkling shoes were on display on a revolving pedestal above one of the silent auction tables.

Oz in the News 3.22.12

‘Community’ takes on Michael Jackson, Judy Garland, and Bono  If you thought Community went all-out on its Halloween costumes, you ain’t seen nothing yet! The next all-new season three episode is about to show you just how much fun this study group can have on just a regular day. Dressing up in costumes is not just for Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) anymore!

Rachel Weisz Shares Secret ‘Oz’ Lightning Powers Weisz explained that “Oz: The Great and Powerful” takes more of the origin story approach to the classic tales. “It’s how the wizard, James Franco, ended up in the Emerald City,” Weisz said. “In the Emerald City, there live three witches: Glinda—Michelle Williams—who is the good witch, Theodora—Mila Kunis—and myself are sisters. I’m a big sister, and we both are more on the dark side.” But what’s an evil witch without some special powers? Weisz confirmed hers for the movie. “Well, I have a magic power, which is lightning,” she said. “That was the key.”

Girlfriend Getaway Finds Wizard of Oz in Wamego  Retiring to The Victory Inn Bed and Breakfast, we paused to enjoy the water fountain near the gazebo in the beautifully landscaped yard and then sat on the swing on the Victorian home’s wraparound front porch. I chose the No Place Like Home Room displaying Wizard of Oz memorabilia, while Janis slept just down the hall in a canopy bed in the larger Bistro Room, reminiscent of the sidewalk cafes in Paris.

Museum of Play hosts ‘Wizard of Oz’ weekend Are you a good witch or a bad witch? Meet Glinda the Good Witch and pose for pictures. Then ooh and aah over gigantic bubbles and entertaining humor at performances of Bubble Man Doug Rougeux’s BubbleMania on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m. Rougeux has been performing all over the world since 1984, including two national tours with Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Return to Oz with new movie release  The recently released “Dorothy and The Witches of Oz” follows the grown-up Dorothy Gale, now a successful children’s book author, as she moves from Kansas to present-day New York City. Dorothy discovers her popular books are based on repressed childhood memories and that Oz is very real. The film was shot in 60 days in Connecticut and New York, Scott said. “But the real time was spent after that,” he said. “With 1,400 visual effects, it took two years to finish.” “Dorothy and the Witches of Oz” is the first in a three-part series, Scott said. “We start shooting the sequel this summer.”

Oz in the News 3.18.12

New film studio in Pontiac struggles after state says ‘Cut!’ to incentives  The studio underwent its first test last year when “Oz,” the $105-million Walt Disney 3D prequel, took over all seven sound stages for much of the year. “I give it an ‘A,’ ” director Sam Raimi, a Royal Oak native, told the Free Press. “It’s the best I’ve ever seen. I recommend it to the world.” “Oz” came to Pontiac because it was approved for a $40-million Michigan film tax credit in 2010. In December, the state further revised the incentives, turning them into grants and reducing the percentage of money paid to production companies. The new law keeps the film incentive program until September 2017.

You haven’t lived here until … you leaf through CMU’s children’s antique book collection  Central Michigan University is home to an open-to-the-public collection of antique kids books. Definitely check out the early edition “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” bound in vellum, that author Lewis Carroll gave to Princess Beatrice, daughter of Queen Victoria, and the 1900 first edition of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” with the complete set of 39 sequels. But No. 1 on your list should be “The Speaking Picture Book,” circa 1880, which made animal sounds by pulling strings attached to a set of miniature bellows inside. This volume is 4 inches thick; only a quarter-inch is paper, according to Clarke Historical Library director Frank Boles.

Oz in the News 3.17.12

Life lessons found in quest for Oz  Toledo educator Claudia Cooper finds a number of metaphysical messages in The Wizard of Oz, which she will discuss at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Lyons Universalist Church, 145 E. Morenci St., Lyons, Ohio. Ms. Cooper, who studied drama, received a bachelor’s degree in special education, and attended St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo., said one of the helpful messages that a person can take home from Oz is to not be limited by fear. “We live our lives with all these worries, these concerns,” she said. “Dorothy and the others are on their journey to see the Wizard, but if they go through the woods they are probably going to encounter ‘lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!’ The fears we have in our daily lives — how are we going to pay these bills or do this or do that — they are the lions and tigers and bears of our lives. And they turn out to be something we can very easily deal with. They’re not as frightful as we make them out to be.”

‘Witches of Oz’ cheesy but fun for family   I’m guessing director-screenwriter Leigh Scott learned how to stretch a dollar as a disciple of B-movie director Roger Corman. The digital effects are second-tier, the pacing is slow (especially early on), and the acting also feels like television-series work for the most part — and not the best of that. An exception is Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”) as the wily Wizard, who at one point claims to have once played Lear on the Omaha Playhouse stage. Wish I’d seen that.

Oz in the News 3.16.12

‘Dorothy and the Witches of Oz’ takes yellow brick road to Mayfair  “Dorothy and the Witches of Oz,” an update of and riff on the L. Frank Baum stories by Milwaukee native Leigh Scott, has its local big-screen premiere starting Friday at the AMC Mayfair Mall Theatre, 2500 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa. Born in Milwaukee, Scott – who co-wrote “Dorothy” in addition to directing and producing – went to film school at the University of Southern California, where he interned with indie legend Roger Corman’s company. According to press materials for the movie, Scott, 40, has directed 25 feature-length films, including “Beach House,” “Art House” and the 2009 made-for-television remake of “The Dunwich Horror.”

Oz in the News 3.13.12

Sorry, Toto – Kansas won’t get a state dog this year  The House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources declined to hear House Bill 251, effectively killing the bill for the current session. State Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, who introduced the bill, said he plans on re-introducing it again next year. “I don’t think PETA made a dent in what we are doing. I just think it had more to do that this is an election year.”

TheaterMania Magazine March Issue Features the Judy Garland Bio-Play “End of the Rainbow”  Today, TheaterMania releases the fifth issue of TheaterMania Magazine, an online magazine that combines live theater with pop culture, celebrity and fashion. The March 2012 issue of TheaterMania Magazine, released today, features the playwright and stars of “End of the Rainbow” discussing the play that examines events surrounding some of Judy Garland’s final public performances, an exclusive first listen of “This World Will Remember Us” from the cast recording of “Bonnie & Clyde”, and designer Christopher Oram’s eight ensembles for Eva for Broadway’s “Evita”. Readers can get a peek at TheaterMania Magazine online and then download the TheaterMania Magazine app for free to their device so they can take it on the go! TheaterMania Magazine can be downloaded to an iPad through the iTunes store or to a Kindle Fire and any Android device from

Oz in the News 3.9.12

Disney and Warner Bros. Duel on the Yellow Brick Road   For Disney, the trademark applications pertain to its merchandising plans for the 2013 release of Oz, the Great and Powerful — “a prequel to the 1900 book by L. Frank Baum, told from the point of view of the Wizard.” (Fun movie trivia: Does anyone else remember Disney’s last Oz film? Headless, princess Mambi, anyone? Dorothy at the insane asylum? I suspect Disney is hoping you’d forgotten — but I never will!) For Warner Bros., its applications (and oppositions to Disney’s applications) are geared towards protecting its rights in the ridiculously valuable Wizard of Oz film and related merchandise. And it’s no coincidence that, while Disney’s film is to be called Oz, the Great and Powerful, Warner Bros.’ new registration is for “The Great and Powerful Oz.” For Toto, these applications are all very boring. He is still caught up in the 2004 book by Roger S. Baum (L. Frank Baum’s great-grandson) and Victoria Seitzinger, entitled “Toto of Oz and the Surprise Party.” Because Toto eating cake with munchkins is way cuter than some stupid trademark applications.

Something wicked comes to Schultz  Beanie Boren, a science wiz not keen on reading, has designed a book reading machine for his science fair. Unfortunately, the machine malfunctions and brings the witches from “Snow White,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Hansel and Gretel” to life. “The whole premise is getting those witches back into the book machine,” said Owens. “Book world goes into chaos because the characters are missing. The characters work together to get the witches back into book world. It goes a mile a minute and it is lots of fun.”

‘Gone With the Wind,’ ‘Wizard of Oz,’ Michael Jackson items and more go up for auction in Milford  The calendar may show that we’re not anywhere near Halloween, but don’t let that stop you from picking out the most perfect one-of-a-kind costume you could imagine. You, my dear, are going to look magnificent when Oct. 31 finally rolls around. Handmade costumes from “Gone With the Wind,” “My Fair Lady,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Just to name a few. All of these costumes are coming to Costume Bazaar in Milford this weekend — more than 85,000 of them — and they are yours for the bidding. Premiere Props, known as the “world’s largest entertainment memorabilia store and auction company,” is joining forces with the Costume Bazaar, Hollywood Live Auctions and Mary’s Closet in Boston, to sell off thousands of props and costumes from major studios. To get an advance look at what’s available, go to

Oz in the News 3.7.12

Betty Ann Bruno says hello to hula again  Born to a Chinese Hawaiian mother and a Dutch Irish father, Bruno spent her formative years feeling like a stranger in her own skin. When she learned to dance as a child in the 1930s, it was because Hollywood filmmakers wanted little hula girls. Her mother denied her Chinese heritage and didn’t teach the Hawaiian ways. There were great memories, including her time on the set of the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.” The producers didn’t have enough small adult actors to play Munchkins, so they recruited a few children to stand in the back. “It was filmed in November, and it was magic,” Bruno says. “This was the Depression, and … there was no Fairyland, there was no Disneyland. There was no color in people’s lives. But the Munchkin set, it was miraculous.”

Anne Hathaway Inaugurates ‘A-List’ Audio Book Series Hathaway had never read the Wizard of Oz before but when someone suggested it she fell in love in the story and its many different voices. She said she was surprised at how much new she discovered in the book, even though she’s a fan of the classic movie. For her performance, Hathaway imagined reading to her young cousins.

Shoe repair shop makes a footprint in Hollywood For a recent episode of the TV series “Modern Family,” Raul Ojeda crafted a pair of shoes covered in red sequins for actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson. His character, Mitchell, shows off the shoes for a “Wizard of Oz”-themed birthday party he throws for his partner, Cam. A decade ago, Raul Ojeda was working as a shoe shiner. Now the 29-year-old is leaving his own footprint in Hollywood, supplying custom-made shoes to the stars, from Steve Carell to Sally Field.