Monthly Archives: April 2012

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.”

Oz in the News 4.7.12

Quick change Kelly: Miss Osbourne slips into a whopping five outfits before dressing up as Wizard Of Oz’s Dorothy to host quirky awards show The 27-year-old was tasked with hosting the NewNowNext Awards in Hollywood, and it required some colour and quirkiness. Kelly took to the stage for a Wizard Of Oz themed performance with drag queens Jiggly Caliente, Sharon Needles and Milan. The star dressed as Dorothy, and showed off her legs in a blue and white gingham mini dress with a matching bow in her hair.

Jersey Jack Pinball, Inc. to Release First Game, The Wizard of Oz Pinball Machine  Jersey Jack Pinball, Inc. (JJP) will build 1,000 very special ‘Emerald City Limited Edition’ versions followed by a standard version Wizard of Oz Pinball Machine which the company expects to sell many thousands of worldwide. Since JJP began taking pre-orders shortly after they announced the title, by last July they were sold out of the Limited Edition games although a few games may be available through distributors.

The Witches of Oz Blu-ray Review

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Supplemental Materials
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Ballet Des Moines to stage ‘Wizard of Oz’  At a recent Ballet Des Moines rehearsal for “The Wizard of Oz,” it looked like the tornado struck early. Munchkins scurried about the East Village studio, and winged monkeys chatted with spooky trees. A vintage bike with a Toto-sized basket leaned against the wall. But when the music started, the scattered elements arranged themselves almost by magic into the story they’ll present twice Saturday at the Civic Center. The show involves more than 150 local dancers, with music performed by the Des Moines Community Orchestra. This year’s choreography was designed by the company’s artistic director, Serkan Usta, and ballet mistress, Lori Grooters. Volunteers built the sets and made many of the costumes. Usta bought the others during a trip to his native Turkey.

Oz in the News 4.5.12

Hello Yellow Brick Road: Elton joined on stage by Sting and Meryl for charity version of Wizard of Oz Meryl Streep, Sir Elton John and Sting shared a stage for the first and probably last time in a charity performance inspired by the Wizard of Oz. At 62, Streep looked remarkably fresh-faced in a white-smock dress as she took on the role of Dorothy, which was made famous by Judy Garland in the 1939 musical film. Sir Elton, 65, played the Cowardly Lion, 60-year-old Sting appeared as the Tin Man while crooner James Taylor, 64, was the Scarecrow at Carnegie Hall in New York. Along with singer Taylor, they all performed If I Only Had A Brain, while 64-year-old Taylor went on to give a solo rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

A Journey Over the Rainbow: An Evening with Michael Patrick Hearn Mention “ruby-red slippers” or “lions, tigers, and bears” to anyone, young or old, and without question the story of Dorothy and the magical land of Oz springs to mind. What is it about this fantastical journey to the Emerald City
that pulls us in, time and time again?  Perhaps MICHAEL PATRICK HEARN, noted Frank L. Baum expert and editor of the best-selling The Annotated Wizard of Oz, has the answer. Join us for this special evening with Mr. Hearn, as he takes us all on a journey over the rainbow.

Oz in the News 4.3.12

Does Judy Garland Still Matter?  “I don’t think young people have any idea who she is,” Quilter says. Even if they know the story, why should they care? They have much more recent iterations of the theme, such as Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston, to enthrall them. So perhaps it shouldn’t have surprised me that when I asked a group of high-school kids, including my own, if they knew of a great star named Judy, they stared at me blankly. Finally, one lit up. “Judge Judy?” he asked.

‘Wicked’ and Ghost Stories Collide in Discussion  While Link’s writing, much like her stage presence, was very calm, Maguire’s excerpt was a performance full of energy, which reflected his animated personality. He read from “Out of Oz,” the fourth and final book of The Wicked Years series. “The roots and the fundament of my four-volume book series really rest in the work L. Frank Baum did in his original tales of Oz in bringing depth and balance and range to that original story,” said Maguire. In his new book “Tales Told in Oz,” which is his first foray into short stories, he elaborates upon various subplots mentioned during The Wicked Years series.

Arizona Native Conjures a World of Fantasy for His NYU Thesis Film  David Shapiro is in the midst of pre-production on his very last and most sincere film as a student. Inspired by L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the name of the film is Sincerely Camp Starlight, and it follows delinquent camper Jonah on his final evening at camp, when he must rescue his first love from the infamous Wicked Witch of Starlight. It’s a kids-on-a-journey film in the vein of Super 8, The Goonies, Stand By Me, or E.T.

Oz in the News 4.2.12

Ballet gives Wizard of Oz the silent treatment  The Western Arkansas Ballet told the story of The Wizard of Oz its own way with performances this weekend (March 31 and April 1) at the Arkansas Best Corp. Performing Arts Center in the Fort Smith Convention Center. Though The Wizard of Oz is so well-known that it could be told without words, the performers with Western Arkansas Ballet relied more than ever on their movements and facial expressions to tell the tale.

Mary Testa, Jason Danieley, Darius de Haas Go Over the Rainbow April 2 for Harold Arlen Tribute  New York Festival of Song’s spring gala, which is entitled Over the Rainbow: A Gala Evening of Harold Arlen Songs, plays the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall April 2 at 7 PM. The concert will be followed by supper at the 21 Club. NYFOS artistic director and pianist Steven Blier host the evening paying tribute to American composer Arlen.