Monthly Archives: April 2012

Oz in the News 4.26.12

James Franco, Mila Kunis talk ‘Oz’  “He is a comedic character,” Franco, 34, said of the Wizard. “There are a lot of sides to Oz, but one of the main aspects of Oz is his comedy and his sense of humor. I think that allows a movie to get away with a lot.” Kunis, who was also on hand at Caesar’s Palace, acknowledged she was more nervous to partake in this movie than any that came before. “You create a character from scratch, and it’s your little being,” she said. “But when there’s an anticipation for what the character ultimately turns out to be, you don’t want to mimic that or copy that, because you’ll never be able to replicate it.”

James Franco Talks ‘Fresh’ Trip to ‘Oz’  “There’s a tendency in these big huge movies to make the actions bigger, make the explosions bigger and make the violence more intense. In this world, you don’t have to do that. It’s strangely a movie for everyone that still is kinda cool and I like being a part of something like that.”

Oz in the News 4.25.12

Rachell Sumpter Discusses Designing Penguin Threads Book Cover ‘The Wizard Of Oz’   The original Denslow drawings and design of the Wizard of Oz are already beautiful. There was also the movie made about it and numerous children’s books. It’s well covered ground graphically. I hadn’t stitched extensively before this either. I considered many options; there are so many meaningful moments in the book. Originally I was trying to do something with the yellow road and her slippers. It took a while to figure out what would work stitched. A lot of the early ideas were eliminated simply because didn’t lend themselves well to the line quality that stitching produces. I am grateful for the final result.

Mila Kunis & James Franco Bring ‘Oz’ to CinemaCon  The 28-year-old actress wore a Phillip Lim top, shorts and jacket, Dior shoes, and Jennifer Meyer and ALC jewelry. Mila and James attended the event to promote their upcoming flick Oz: The Great and Powerful, which hits theaters March 8, 2013. Oz is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz that tells how the Wizard (Franco) arrived in Oz and became the ruler. Mila will play Theodora, The Wicked Witch of the West, with Michelle Williams as Glinda.

Remembering a Munchkin  While Cynthia Marguerite Nickloy – a 35-inch tall woman who starred under the big top and in movies – may have died 50 years ago, but she has not been forgotten. She was able to attend the gala opening night at the Glove Theatre for “The Wizard of Oz,” where she told a crowd she made $55 per week in Hollywood. She also said she married twice and lost one child. One of the marriages was to a man taller than 6 feet. She said she had a romance with fellow “Oz” Munchkin Elmer Spangler, but wasn’t interested in settling down. On April 14, relatives of Nickloy gathered by her grave at a part of Prospect Hill Cemetery in Gloversville to see the new pink headstone of “Princess Marguerite.”

Secret Theatre Opens THE MERMAIDS’ TALE  While the name L. Frank Baum is most immediately associated with his legendary work The Wizard of Oz, the author is one of the most prolific writers to date.  Following the success of Oz, Baum would go on to write the charming underwater adventure The Sea Fairies, published in 1911. Though one of Baum’s more obscure titles, it came to the attention of playwright and director Jack Dyville and writing partner John Stutte, who were inspired to adapt the novel into a children’s musical. The Mermaids’ Tale, which opens the Children’s Repertory Series at Secret Theatre later this month, promises to be a magical, musical adventure for both children and adults. Dyville says “the play has morphed a lot since its premiere in 2011”, with the show becoming even more“interactive and child-friendly.”

Oz in the News 4.23.12

‘Toto the Tornado Kitten’ Gets Own Children’s Book   Meet Toto the Tornado Kitten, now on a media tour. Speaking with a local Fox affiliate in Boston this week, Jonathan Hall, the paramedic who adopted the cat, named him after Dorothy’s famous dog in The Wizard of Oz and then wrote the book about their adventure, retold Toto’s origin tale on TV: “One of the lucky survivors was Toto the tornado kitten here. He was a little kitten that was found by a tree worker in a tree the day after the tornado and rescued, he was turned over to us in the fire station … and we tried taking care of him but couldn’t.”

Wizard of Oz supposedly comes with a curse  Four months after the film was released Frank Morgan, who played The Wizard, was involved in a car accident in which his chauffeur was killed. Toto broke a paw when one of the Wicked Witch’s guards stepped on it. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West, was badly burned during a stunt. And Judy Garland began taking amphetamines not long after playing Dorothy and soon progressed to barbiturates. She died aged 47 after accidentally overdosing.

KTL Radio presents The Wizards of Oz featuring Sister Dorothy Muhammad  The world renowned “word/nameologist” will be using her unique method of using letter & number frequencies to break down some coded messages intertwined in some of our favorite fables. She will be deciphering and decoded the hidden messages in “The Wizard of Oz” and explaining how the template for these characters helped her identify the “Wizards” in her world. Walk with Dorothy down the yellow brick as she unlocks the hidden meaning of the frequencies of numbers 1-10.

Oz in the News 4.19.12

Yip Harburg: A Lyricist For The Ages  During his 84 years on the planet, Yip Harburg contributed brilliant lyrics to some of the finest melodies of the American popular song canon. Most of his songs were originally written for Broadway shows or Hollywood musicals. Finian’s Rainbow is probably his most popular stage work, but he’s best known for working with composer Harold Arlen on music for The Wizard of Oz, a collaboration which won them an Oscar for “Over the Rainbow.”

An Over-the-rainbow Experience at the Oz-Stravaganza Festival, June 1-3, 2012  What began as a one-day affair 34 years ago has turned into a 3 day jubilation with featured guests, costume parade, Miss Oz-stravaganza Pageant, writing and coloring contests, a Munchkin Mile Fun Run for kids, live entertainment, food, vendors, fun and more! One of this year’s special guests include André DeShields, the award-winning actor who created the title role in the 1975 production of The Wiz on Broadway. Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked, the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West that inspired the Broadway musical, acts as the parade’s Grand Marshall this year.

Extending Arianna Huffington’s “GPS for the Soul” Into a New Operating System for the Economy  Slowly a new story started to come to me in which a new operating system utilizing a new kind of money and new kinds of banks could be realized. The result was a 2.0 version of The Wizard of Oz entitled: The Wiz of Iz. The Wiz of Iz, is a short read at 120 pages and it’s based upon an even shorter story about four good buddies who set out to change the world along the Route of the Rainbow. The story is one you might have heard: There was a very important job to be done and because this job was so important, Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. So Nobody did it. Somebody got mad about that because it was Everybody’s job. In the end, Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Oz in the News 4.18.12

Baum Reflections on Oz-Stravagana and His Great Grandfather  All of my experiences lead me to believe my great grandfather’s success came about because he never lost sight of the audience he wrote for.  He wrote just to please children of all ages.  He wrote his stories while looking at the world through the eyes of a child, just one step beyond reality.  Oz has become a home away from home, a safe haven where dreams are real and reality can be put aside, at least for awhile!  Oz is imagination unleashed, allowing all who enter, to soar “somewhere over the rainbow.”

Road to Avonlea’s Cedric Smith in The Wizard of Oz   We’re not in Prince Edward Island anymore. In the new Mirvish/Andrew Lloyd Webber production of The Wizard of Oz, it looks like the Wizard will be going down the yellow brick road instead of his more customary Road to Avonlea. The Star has learned that the title role in this version (originally played by Michael Crawford in London) will in all probability be played by Cedric Smith, veteran stage actor, original member of the folk group Perth County Conspiracy and creator of the role of Alec King in the iconic CBC-TV Series Road to Avonlea.

Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz Brings 2,300 Runners to Olathe  With Garmin as its title sponsor and a colorful Wizard of Oz theme, the tenth annual Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz April 21 is attracting the attention of runners from across the country. Planners expect 2,300 or more participants in four running events: the Oz Marathon, the Wickedly Fast Half Marathon, the Dorothy Dash 5K, and the Munchkin Marathon.

Oz in the News 4.17.12

Breaking Glass Pictures Acquires North American Rights to the New Family Feature ‘After the Wizard’  After the Wizard is a heartfelt, often humorous and always entertaining story about a 12-year-old girl named Elizabeth (Jordan Van Vranken) who lives in an orphanage in Kingman, Kansas. Like millions of girls her age, she has read the beloved L. Frank Baum novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” countless times. But unlike other girls, Elizabeth believes she is Dorothy … and maybe she is. Because Elizabeth refers to herself as Dorothy and constantly looks for Toto and a way back to Oz, the headmistress at the orphanage worries Elizabeth is losing touch with reality.

Uncompromising Discourses Presents No Place Like Home 1-2 Review  Art wise its pseudo-Richard Corben in inspiration; Gothic in nature, indie-underground in stylization, heavy on inks and finally dark and decadent in colorization. Unlike Corben however it’s grounded more in realism, allowing the reader to be engaged in the atmospheric horror rather than be disorientated by the artwork. The pacing and structure of the book is another high point, although initially relying on the psychological elements of the implied horror rather than visual horror, the book slowly builds an intricate sense of tension before revealing the reality of violence and harm enacted upon the body by a common monkey.

Blu-Ray Review: The Witches of Oz  If its runtime had been cut in half, its noisy, disorganized and flamboyant silliness might be more endearing, but any movie that runs upward of two-and-a-half hours risks becoming monotonous, even if it’s chopped up into two separate installments, and a project this unfocused just can’t stand up to that challenge. Despite its epic runtime, “The Witches of Oz” doesn’t play like an epic fantasy at all – instead, nearly the first 90 minutes consists of non-fantastical set-up, peppered with vague flashbacks, character back stories, and a pointless romantic subplot, which is followed by a single bombastic fantasy battle, and then a conclusion.

First Footage from Animated DOROTHY OF OZ  Check out this interview video with Lea Michele, Megan Hilty and Bernadette Peters talking about their character work for the DOROTHY OF OZ animated film.

Oz in the News 4.15.12

A ‘Wicked’ veteran considers musical’s enduring appeal  “I’m always surprised when somebody comments about the Wizard being the villain of the piece. I think very few villains see themselves as villains. True villains, as a rule, don’t see themselves as such. I think the Wizard is a very simple guy, a very ordinary man who, due to circumstances beyond his control, found himself in an extraordinary situation where he became feared and deified in Oz. Being a simple man, he rode with it. He got himself carried away. As he says, ‘What can I say, I got carried away, and not just by a balloon.’ It’s an easy thing to do when people imbue you with supernatural powers.”

Mila Kunis on ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’ “Shooting a CG-heavy movie turned out to be good training for Oz: the Great and Powerful, which also stars James Franco, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz and is due out in March of 2013. “Oh, my gosh, it was amazing,” she says. “I don’t even know where to begin. Going from Ted to Oz was great, because I got to work with imaginary, inamimate objects. In Ted I practiced that, so by the time I went into Oz it wasn’t so hard to envision things going on around you.”

‘Wizard of Oz’-themed, first-person obituary by Saginaw Township woman goes viral  I’m off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz. Let us rejoice in what was a pretty cool life along my Yellow Brick Road. I, Michael E. Duvall, was loved — from the day I was born, Dec. 14, 1949, in Madisonville, to the day I died, April 7, 2012. Already awaiting my arrival in Emerald City are those who passed before me: my parents, Cecil and Mary Lucille (Morgan) Duvall, my niece Amy, and my first son, Jonathon M. Duvall. I’ve thought a lot about Jonathon over the years, and I look forward to our reunion. Left here in the Land of Oz are my beloved Munchkins and maybe a Flying Monkey or two. I wouldn’t dare say which is which.”

Oz in the News 4.13.12

World’s largest collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia finds a home in Camden  Who knew that the Yellow Brick Road leads to Penobscot Bay? We were as surprised as anyone to learn that a collector of all things Oz has decided to make Camden a showplace for his treasure trove. With more than a hundred thousand items in his possession, Willard Carroll has amassed the world’s largest and most valuable collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia. Within the next two years, an unassuming former furniture workshop on route 105 will become a Wizard of Oz museum. Included in Carroll’s archives are wonders sure to make any Munchkin’s heart melt with delight: the Wicked Witch’s terrifying hourglass; Dorothy’s gingham dress; original conceptual drawings for the 1939 movie sets; and the most complete remaining costume from the film — that of the green Munchkin of the Lollipop Guild. “That’s everything, including the underwear,” Carroll says.

Q&A with the Wizard of “Wicked”  “I was hoping to be hired for Elphaba, but I’m not right for it. (Laughing) At this point, I can’t imagine doing anything else. … A lot of my friends had done the role and were asking why I hadn’t done it. The timing came and I contacted my agent. I auditioned and here I am.”

Oz in the News 4.11.12

Baum’s Aberdeen Oz Was a Baseball Diamond Beside the immigrant drawn by free homestead land, the other “typical” settler on the Dakota frontier of 1888 was young, restless and looking to escape the maddening crowd back east. Lyman Frank Baum was the second type. Baum believed Aberdeen was no one-horse prairie pothole. The Hub City was progressive — there were 20 hotels, a library, four restaurants and a half-dozen newspapers in town. Electric light service and telephones were available. With the addition of Baum’s store, Aberdeen had everything a civilized town might want or need. Except a baseball team. An ardent “crank,” as baseball fans were then known, Baum felt the lack keenly. Less than a year after he arrived in Aberdeen, L. Frank Baum helped bring a group of local businessmen together to field a team. They were so impressed with his enthusiasm and ideas they made him secretary, responsible for the club’s day-to-day affairs. A subscription of 300 shares sold out quickly, and the Hub City Nine were on their way.

New chronology of US history at Smithsonian to span from Pilgrims to ‘Oz’ to 2008 election  The National Museum of American History will open a new exhibit Thursday featuring iconic objects from pop culture along with objects dating back to the Pilgrims’ arrival in 1620. “American Stories” will be a new chronology of U.S. history from the first encounters of Europeans and Native Americans to the 2008 presidential election. Dorothy’s heels from the 1939 movie will help show the emergence of American pop culture. Other sections will explore the nation’s founding, growth, innovations and contemporary society.

Judy Garland’s Easter Parade Almost Didn’t Happen  Milwaukee native John Fricke is considered the world’s leading authority on the career of Judy Garland. His newest book is called Judy: A Legendary Film Career, published by Running Press. Fricke spoke with Stephanie Lecci about Garland’s film, Easter Parade.

Wicked: A Great Comic Book Musical  It’s not based on a comic book, but it has many of the same features as one. It’s a colorful set with a steampunk look. It has crazy costumes and makeup-laden characters. Monkeys fly above the crowd. It works very hard to fit into the continuity of an earlier story. It features several secret origins. And the whole thing is one big RetCon. I can’t imagine how that Spider-Man musical can compete with all of that.

Why The Wizard of Oz Should be Rated NC-17  With the slippers, Dorothy becomes West’s target for the bulk of the movie. Does Glinda know/care? Listen to her passive-aggressive read of the situation after West’s smoky departure: “I’m afraid you’ve made rather a bad enemy of the Wicked Witch of the West.” Now if Dorothy were the actual teenager Judy Garland was, and not the innocent/gullible 10-year-old she was playing, her response would have been: “I’ve made her an enemy? You did it, you bitch! I didn’t ask for these shoes!”

Oz in the News 4.8.12

L. Frank Baum and the Macatawa Goose Man: Celebrating the origins of “The Wizard of Oz”  In 1899, Baum published “Father Goose: His Book.” The collection of children’s poems exploded in popularity and provided Baum with wealth and prestige for the first time in his life, his great-grandson, Bob Baum, recalled. The author used the profits from his book to rent a large, multi-story Victorian summer home nestled on the southern end of the Macatawa peninsula on Lake Michigan. The home, which he eventually purchased, came to be known as the Sign of the Goose, an ever-present reminder of the fame that came along with “Father Goose.”

Around Town: There was a wizard among us  In 1914, Kenneth Baum was an advertising executive with the Los Angeles Times. Kenneth, along with Harrison Gray Otis and Harry Chandler, was a founding member of the Los Angeles Times Automobile Club, “the first automobile club comprised entirely of newspaper men.” (See “Newspaper Club Formed,” L.A. Times, Nov. 21, 1915). By the 1930s, Kenneth started his own advertising business. He moved his family to Balboa Island, but by the 1950s, he was living here, in our town. In March of that year, his mother died at her home in Hollywood. (“Widow of ‘Oz’ Book Author Passes at 91,” L.A. Times, March 7, 1953). Less than a month later, Kenneth Baum died. He is buried near his parents at Forest Lawn Glendale.

Comic Conversion: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  It seems almost impossible to escape the over-narration problem with comic adaptations, at least those of classic novels, but Shanower manages to reduce it enough so that you’re not constantly wincing at artwork clogged with text. Shanower may have also kept a few too many of the off-shooting scenes, but he does offer those with no Oz experience outside the MGM movie a glimpse of the true depths of Baum’s characters. Young’s art is what really make this adaptation worthwhile. His illustrations enhance the whimsical fairy tale feel of the original book, giving the comic its own life and a leg to stand on amongst the many adaptations Baum’s work inspired. Baum’s book is a classic that all fans of children’s literature should read at some point (I’m ashamed to say I didn’t read it until adulthood), but Shanower and Young’s adaptation is still a fine means for jumping into the world of Oz.

Playhouse group to stage old-time radio ‘Wizard of Oz’  “This version of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was originally presented as part of the Lux Radio program. Lux Radio Theater was a classic radio series that began broadcasting hour-long versions of Broadway plays and film adaptations in 1934. The shows often featured the original stars. ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was dramatized as a one-hour radio play on the Dec. 25, 1950, broadcast of Lux Radio Theatre, with Judy Garland reprising her 1939 film role.”