Monthly Archives: June 2012

Oz in the News 6.27.12

The Munchkin of Oz – best book for all seasons The Munchkins were paid through Leo SInger, who served as their employer, surrogate father (they called him Papa Singer) and organizer. Some sources say that they were paid $100 a week but Singer took half for commission. Each Munchkin was paid $50. Leo Singer was a controversial figure who had been accused of cheating and shortchanging his tiny actors. In spite of this, most of the Munchkins interviewed by Steven Cox talked fondly of him because he took care of them and kept them employed.

Story City with Bill Willingham  “My reading of the Oz books was woefully antiquated in that I did it early on in life and hadn’t revisited them as often as I should. And this is what I found out about Oz readers: Oz readers are fanatical readers. They want things correct. The few dips I’ve made into the Oz world had readers and some of the people who work in the Fables camp, like Eric Shanower, who has done the odd Fables book, and who, of course, is a massive Oz fan [Shanower writes Oz-themed comics for IDW and Marvel Comics], and Todd Klein, our letterer from day one: massive Oz fan — which apparently is a redundancy. There’s no such thing as just a middle-of-the-road Oz fan. They called me out on the tiniest little thing. It is not the Lunchpail Tree; it is the Lunchbox Tree.”

Oz in the News 6.25.12

Everything Oz Book Review  Although ‘Everything Oz’ gives you all the tools you need to create the ultimate themed party, many of the projects can be used for other things.    The Great Wizards Throne Tent would for example make quite an addition to any boudoir or would turn an outdoor seating area into a luxurious hide-away. Unlike it’s predecessor  ‘Everything Alice’ which contained some slightly mad (see what we did there) fashion ideas, the clothing and accessory projects in ‘Everything Oz’ are incredibly wearable, especially the beautiful Poppy T-Shirt, great for using up small pieces of fabric.

CBC-TV’s Over the Rainbow narrows down field of Dorothys  On Thursday, Bridel was one step closer to that dream as she and 87 other Dorothy hopefuls from across Canada attended callback auditions for CBC-TV’s upcoming series Over the Rainbow, which is searching for a lead in a Toronto production of The Wizard of Oz that’s set to open at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in December. “This has been an amazing experience so far,” said Bridel. “I mean, these girls are SO talented, so talented, and so nice. It’s not as much of a competition as it is an amazing experience. “It’s a joy ride, you know what I mean?” The callback auditions were held to pick the Top 20, who will get to a “Dorothy Farm” and meet the musical’s legendary co-creator, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Wizard of Oz collection at Linden Hill product of a decades-long friendship with the Musser family  The Musser family’s involvement with the 1939 movie production of “The Wizard of Oz” began with Laura Jane Musser’s grandfather. Peter Musser was a friend of author L. Frank Baum, who wrote “The Wizard of Oz.” “Peter Musser was an investor in the movie, and because of that, Laura Jane visited the movie set,” said Pat Sharon, chair of the Historical Preservation Committee of the nonprofit Friends of Linden Hill. “Laura Jane became fast friends with Margaret Hamilton, who came many times to stay at the Musser Mansion,” Sharon said. Correspondence and memorabilia in Laura Jane Musser’s collection give evidence to their friendship. There is a photo from “The Wizard of Oz” production signed by Hamilton on display, and Laura Jane called Hamilton “Maggie.” Musser and Hamilton travelled to Hawaii together, staying at the Royal Hawaiian.

Mapping the Oz genome  Earlier this week, Slate’s Lexicon Valley podcast examined the question of writers’ individual style and whether they are distinctive enough to be recognized. Intuition tells us that they should be, at least among writers who have worked to develop a particular voice that could be identified by their devotees. But, as hosts Mike Vuolo and Bob Garfield explain, a mathematician has done a study to scrutinize the words used by authors to determine whether they have identifiable “fingerprints.” Using L. Frank Baum and his Wizard of Oz series as a jumping off point, they describe how after Baum’s death, his publisher had another writer, Ruth Plumly Thompson, take over the series—though the fifteenth book in the series, the first published after Baum had died, still credited him as the author, with the note that it was “enlarged and edited by Ruth Plumly Thompson.” There has been question over whether that book, The Royal Book of Oz, was Baum’s last or Thompson’s first in the series (she went on to write and receive full credit for twenty additional Oz books), further complicated by the fact that Thompson was likely emulating Baum’s style in order to keep the series consistent.

First Look At Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great And Powerful  The first promotional image for Sam Raimi‘s next reveals the lead character and his plot-crucial hot air balloon. Basically, it’s The Franco in a top hat.

Oz in the News 6.20.12

The Wizard of Oz Grew Up in Omaha  My maternal grandmother must have been all of 45-years-old when I was seven and she told me where she kept her Wizard of Oz books. There was a series just like Twilight or the Hunger Games.  The books were not really like the movies. There were the same characters in similar settings but that was it.  The Wizard of Oz was the Hunger Games of the depression. In the book the Wizard reveals himself to Dorothy and her partners in crime . .

Zazzle & Warner Bros. Pretend All References To Wizard Of Oz Are Covered By WB Copyright  First of all, characters from the Wizard of Oz are not, in fact, “property of Warner Bros.” The original book, written by L. Frank Baum, was published in 1900 and is in the public domain. The popular movie version, in which Warner Bros. holds the copyright, came out in 1939. This does lead to some interesting copyright questions, and a few lawsuits. For example, last year, we wrote about a lawsuit involving t-shirts designed with public domain Wizard of Oz images. And then there’s a brewing fight over whether or not Disney can make a film based on the public domain parts of the Baum books if it makes no reference to the 1939 movie.  Basically, what the law has said is that if you’re making references to the specific characters or character traits that were portrayed in the movie, but which are not from the books, then its under WB’s copyright. So, if you were to display pictures of the actual actors or specific expressions or outfits that are from the movie, but not the books, then there’s an issue.

Oz in the News 6.16.12

Kettman’s Garland piece to be part of festival  Kettman will be driving a life-size colorful cutout of one Hollywood’s most iconic movie characters, Dorothy Gale, to the 37th annual Judy Garland Festival, which runs Thursday, June 14, through Saturday, June 16, in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Minn. Known locally for his artworks of modern pop culture personalities such as “American Idol” contestants and the rock band Kiss, Kettman said his Dorothy is as exact a replica as he possibly could create.

Judy Garland: The hardest working woman in Hollywood  Eight years since AMERICAN MASTERS first aired JUDY GARLAND: BY MYSELF, series creator and executive producer Susan Lacy talks about the film she produced, directed and wrote, as well as how she made a story not about Dorothy, not about the overdose, but about Judy Garland: The hardest working woman in Hollywood.

Oz in the News 6.14.12

André De Shields Honored at 34th Annual OZ-Stravaganza  De Shields met the other special guests at the event – including one of the last surviving original Munchkins, 89 year old Margaret Pellegrini “The Flower Pot Munchkin,” Munchkin-by-marriage Myrna Swensen (her late husband Clarence Swensen was a Munchkin soldier); Caren Marsh-Doll (Judy Garland’s stand-in for the MGM film); and Robert and Clare Baum (Robert Is the great grandson of L. Frank Baum). Also attending was Gregory Maguire, author of the original Wicked book (on which the Broadway musical by Stephen Schwartzis based), who served as Grand Marshall.

Definitely not in Kansas anymore  “The dream is to have all of these red shoes dancing down the yellow brick road,” said Bray. “We are basically doing an all-call for second hand cowboy boots.” Under the dancing feet will be, of course, the famed yellow brick road that led Dorothy and the gang to Oz. Unfortunately, laying actual yellow bricks down the Plaza isn’t an option, so Regina visual artist Gary Varro is bringing the image to life. “I came up with the idea of using gold canvas rolled out onto the ground, sort of like we’re constructing a road,” said Varro. “It will be on a dowel and … there’ll be a wizard character, leading the procession and it’s like the canvas is unfurling like a robe.”

The Garland House gets national notice for its architecture  Coinciding with the would-be 90th birthday of Judy Garland, as well as the introduction to Broadway of “End of the Rainbow,” a new stage-production on the life of the Hollywood legend, the trade journal Architectural Digest is currently featuring the famous Grand Rapids Garland House, the home where the young Frances Ethel Gumm spent the first four years of her life. According to the AD story, the home in Grand Rapids held a particular significance to Garland throughout her life, as told by her daughter Lorna Luft, who brightly referred to it as “Momma’s house” (visit for the whole story, as well as pictures of the renovated white clapboard house).

Judy Garland Birthday Honored at Tony Awards  Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli posted several messages on her website. “Today is a day for celebration,” wrote Garland’s famous daughter on Sunday. “We celebrate the privilege of having had Mama touch all of our lives.” “She left us with so many feelings we never would have discovered about ourselves until she exquisitely translated them to us with her voice,” Minnelli continued. “She is to be missed deeply, yes… But, what if we never had her? That’s what we celebrate today.”

Girl’s dream comes true with Wizard of Oz audition  A young Nova Scotian girl was given special permission to audition for CBC-TV’s reality television contest yesterday. It’s a TV show where contestants compete to be the best Dorothy for a new theatre production of Wizard of Oz in Toronto. Sam Galbraith, a nine-year-old girl from Windsor, is actually too young to compete. Her mother wrote a letter to producers asking if Galbraith — who has a developmental delay — could audition along with older contestants. To Liz Galbraith’s surprise, the producers said her daughter could audition.

Oz in the News 6.10.12

“Garlands for Judy” Goes Digital  The first edition of “Garlands for Judy” was published in November 1995 by Scott Schechter.  In it, Scott stated: “Whenever it is warranted, the majority of the pages will deal with the current audio and video releases (along with other mediums) to preserve and present this legacy today (with the look back at various career activities saved for times when there is not much “new” product being issued).”  This new version will do the same.

37th annual Judy Garland Festival  How do you create the world’s largest collection of memorabilia honoring a legendary star of television and film in a northern Minnesota community? John Kelsch, director of the Judy Garland Museum, will tell this story as part of this year’s 37th annual Judy Garland Festival, June 14 through 16, in Grand Rapids.

First footage of Wizard of Oz Pinball from E3  Jersey Jack Pinball has surprised us by taking a production Wizard of Oz Pinball machine to E3. As such, some videos are already out on the net showing the game in action (in narrowvision unfortunately). But I think it’s great that JJP is reaching out to new players at a convention where the focus is typically on home console gaming. These videos only show the attract mode, with an impressive array of multi-colored LEDs, which once again shows a feature they have been willing to bring to pinball that has otherwise been ignored.

Oz in the News 6.9.12

‘Oz’-inspired lounge opens doors at Revere Hotel  Revelers basked under mint-hued lights at the opening of the Emerald Lounge, the new nightspot in Boston’s Revere Hotel. With decor inspired by the “Wizard of Oz,” clever details include a metal tornado sculpture running the length of the bar. Patrons willing to wander the space can find a delicious surprise. Hint: Click your heels twice.

Margaret O’Brien to Attend Peter Mac’s GET HAPPY! Judy Garland 90th Birthday Celebration  In honor of Judy Garland‘s birthday and on behalf of The Judy Garland Foundation, Ms. O’Brien will be doing a special signing of color 8×10’s which all the proceeds will go to the Judy Garland Foundation. For more information, click hereJudy Garland‘s Birthday is Sunday June 10 (also Los Angeles Gay Pride day). Peter Mac as Judy Garland will be in the Gay Pride Parade. Mac will be doing a special appearance at the Gay Pride Festival at the PRIDE in Media booth for a meet-and-greet and that evening will run his new show, GET HAPPY! A 90TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION at the theater.

Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project Presents PRELUDE TO PRIDE: A WIZARD OF OZ  Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project is celebrating its 10-Year Anniversary. Its annual “Prelude to Pride” salute will be an original production of the time honored classic, “A WIZARD OF OZ”. Adapted by T. Scott Wooten, this hilarious and madcap send-up of the fabled classic by Frank L. Baum is just in time for St. Petersburg Pride Celebration.

Veteran educator explains how to follow the yellow brick road to personal and professional success in forthcoming book  Seamlessly blending both the Oz stories themselves and the story of its creator, Smith created The Way of Oz, a meticulously researched, thoughtful, and thought-provoking guide for gifted students, college-bound and college students, as well as those counselors and educators who lead them. Resplendent with practical advice and charming illustrations by award-winning illustrator Dusty Higgins, and enhanced with rich video content linked with interactive codes, The Way of Oz provides a dynamic and interactive roadmap to leading a life of meaning, integrity, service and love.

Annual Judy Garland festival features tours, talks  John Kelsch, director of the Judy Garland Museum, will tell Judy Garland’s story as part of this year’s 37th annual Judy Garland Festival, June 14-16, in Grand Rapids.  Jim Sazevich, house detective from St. Paul, will tell the story of the restoration of the Garland family home in 1995-96. He prepared a 150-page report tracing the history of the house from 1892 to the present day. He found hundreds of photos, former owners, and even a former babysitter and housekeeper for the Gumm family.

Oz in the News 6.7.12

SCERA’s newfangled ‘Wizard of Oz’ features brains,heart, courage   “At the time of the story, the industrial movement was under way, so I’m adding a lot of metal work, gears, clocks and trains,” said Showgren in explanation of the show’s usage of steampunk. “Think of Sherlock Holmes and his guns, and the television series ‘Wild, Wild West’ with its gadgets. It’s like placing the future in the past.”


Sophie Evans on Going Over the Rainbow as Dorothy in London’s The Wizard of Oz  “I’ve even got the Judy Garland dressing room—the one that Judy used when she was here. Sometimes it’s a bit weird: Little things happen in the theater, and I go, “That’s Judy.”

Pyramid Players to show different side to ‘Wizard of Oz’  With Dorothy and Toto barking at each other, the Wicked Witch of the East claiming she was the victim of a hit and run farmhouse and the Munchkins playing mediators, Trouble in Oz picks up where Wizard of Oz left off, bringing a refreshing twist to “happily ever after.”

Oz in the News 6.5.12

The Munchkin Coroner Returns to Oz   Meinhardt Raabe (1915-2010)  At last remains only that old ache—
the longing for an elsewhere out of reach.
Reunion parades with crowds clapping
were no balm. Rustling my blue robes,
I’d feel my breath ratcheting.
After all the world a blur of skirts
at eye level, crotches I spoke to
and made a lowly math of, each
one a face to be recognized, still I was wee.
Itty. Give me Culver City. Oz, glittering.
The cameras, Judy Tom-Thumbing me
with weird teenaged mother-love
down to the pith, to my little plum pit
heart, kneeling with a box of chocolates,
cooing sweets to the sweet,
pink sleepyheads yawning,
a Munchkin chorus line, the brick road spiraling.
Four lines I learned to sing, hymn-like,
and rewind. But oh, I must aver,
most sincerely, it’s the plight
of striped stockinged legs limp
beneath the pitched house, hint
of dead witch that sets me weeping.
Somewhere over there,
give me more heel-clicking.
In The End, I learn to trace
the return-wish backwards:
If I only had. A tornado. A home.
There’s no place.

Crooked Tree dancers to perform “Wizard of Oz” “All of the choreography is very diverse and suits the different characters well. My role is definitely a challenge for me. I love doing classical ballet but as the Cowardly Lion, I am challenged with more contemporary ballet this year. I am really looking forward to seeing all the hard work come together on stage for the audience to enjoy.”

Search for Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy begins today in Vancouver  Over the Rainbow, hosted by comedian Daryn Jones, will also feature a secondary search for the role of Toto, Dorothy’s feisty pooch.  Though Toto was played by a brindle Cairn Terrier in The Wizard of Oz 1939 film, any breed may try out, said Mirvish.  “I think this is dog-blind casting,” he noted with a laugh. “You could have a Great Dane and as long as it will sit in your lap, it may qualify as Toto on the television show.

Oz-Stravaganza ends with special donation  Oz-Stravaganza wrapped up in Chittenango on Sunday, but not before the festival’s special guests left their mark on the village. Margaret Pellegrini and Andre De Shields both donated items to the All Things Oz Museum, which was dedicated to the works of native son L. Frank Baum. Pellegrini, one of the munchkins in the 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz”, donated replicas of the hat, dress and shoes she wore in the movie. De Shields, who originated the role of the “The Wiz” on Broadway, donated a pair of the oversized emerald glasses he wore in the Tony award-winning musical.

Oz book develops character based on local child who fell victim to violence  In “Family of Oz,” Wallace worked to incorporate elements of Aadon’s personality into the character named for him. His love of Spider-Man translated into the creation of a purple spider to serve as his companion. And Aadon’s charge — to oversee a field of pinwheels — was derived from the Olmsted family’s annual effort to plant blue and silver pinwheels across Madison County to raise awareness about child abuse and its prevention through Aadon’s Peace Fund.

Stoneybrook residents bring ‘Wizard of Oz’ to life The 1939 award-winning film starred 16-year-old Judy Garland as Dorothy. Stoneybrook’s version starred Maxine Taylor, 91. In fact, the youngest cast member of Stoneybrook’s production of Oz as 74; the oldest were 97.

Oz book author plans signing  Roger S. Baum, great-grandson of the original Oz book series creator L. Frank Baum, has continued the tales of Oz with books of his own including “Dorothy of Oz,” “The Lion of Oz and the Badge of Courage” and more. Baum is scheduled to sign books at noon Saturday at the 8915 W. Charleston Blvd. Barnes & Noble in Las Vegas.

Des O’Connor Joins The Wizard of Oz for Hit West End Show’s Final Season  Despite appearing at the London Palladium in more than 1,200 solo performances, The Wizard of Oz marks Des O’Connor’s first appearance in a musical at the venue. Following in the footsteps of both Russell Grant and Michael Crawford, O’Connor will play the Wizard from the 22nd of May through to the final show on the 2nd of September. He will also take on the role of Professor Marvel, and appear alongside Sophie Evans, runner-up in the BBC’s Over the Rainbow.

Sheriff’s sale of former Westside home of Judy Garland is canceled  In Times news reports from the time of Garland’s residency, Luft describes the singer as “mentally unbalanced and emotionally disturbed,” claiming she had tried to kill herself at least 20 times and used inappropriate language in front of the children. She filed for divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty and objected to the removal of several items from the house, including some beds. “My children are sleeping in them,” she told a judge.

Three Songs That Got Away  In advance of the imminent publication of the webzine Garlands For Judy (formerly a paper publication under the direction of the late Scott Schechter and soon to be an online version under the direction of The Judy Room founder and webmaster Scott Brogan) and the celebrations related to what would have been Judy Garland’s 90th birthday on June 10th, The Judy Room is proud to publish the sheet music to the three songs that were written by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin for A Star Is Born, but went unused: “I’m Off the Downbeat,” “Green Light Ahead,” and “Dancing Partner.”

Oz in the News 6.1.12

Flower Pot Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini returns for OzStravaganza Now one of three surviving Munchkins, out of a cast of 126, Pellegrini called it a “chance of making history.” The acting job has provided her the opportunity to travel the globe as an Oz celebrity for decades. No matter where she goes though, everyone knows her, she said. Turning Stone is still one of her favorite places. “I love to gamble,” she said, rambling off a list of her favorite slot machines. “I love to come back here.”

Keith Bartlett to Join WICKED as The Wizard from July  Wicked, the hit musical now in its sixth year at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, will welcome Keith Bartlett to the role of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from Monday 30 July. Desmond Barrit will play his final performance as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on Saturday 7 July. From Monday 9 July until Saturday 28 July, Christopher Howell will play the role.