Monthly Archives: August 2013

Oz in the News 8.28.13

imagesWarner Bros. Tries to Bankrupt “Wizard of Oz” Collectors  Marking the 75th anniversary of one of its crown jewels, “The Wizard of Oz,” Warner Bros. has launched a comprehensive, cross-divisional campaign encompassing theatrical, home entertainment and consumer products.

* McDonald’s will feature limited edition “The Wizard of Oz” toys in Happy Meals in over 14,000 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada from Sept. 20 through Oct. 10 at participating restaurants while supplies last.

* Amtrak will participate by displaying in-station and on-train signage, from November through December 2013, along with an adventure sweepstakes supported by online and social media.

* Cupcake baker contestants on Food Network’s show “Cupcake Wars” will be transforming their personal visions of “The Wizard of Oz” into gorgeously decorated sweet confections with an Oz-themed competition, to be aired Saturday, September 28, at 8 pm ET/PT.

* Gourmet Trading Company, the leading distributor of fresh asparagus in North America, will promote “The Wizard of Oz” for six months on 2.5 million bunches of asparagus with call outs about the release on hang tags, as well as guidance for consumers on how to connect via Gourmet’s Facebook page for a chance to win special prizes.

* Langer Juice Company, Inc. will place a premium on-pack commemorative offer on their juices, found in major retailers across the country. Interactive media support will accompany the promotion.

* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council are partnering with “The Wizard of Oz” on a variety of TV, outdoor, radio and digital Public Service Announcements (PSAs) featuring iconic elements from the beloved film and focusing on child passenger safety. The PSAs will direct consumers to and and will run in donated media nationally.

* One Kings Lane, known for providing distinctive, one-of-a-kind items for the home, will be celebrating the anniversary with cinema memorabilia and other important objects of the era on September 20th at

* QVC(R) will celebrate “The Wizard of Oz” anniversary release with special programming and product. “‘The Wizard of Oz’ 75th Anniversary Celebration” is scheduled to debut on QVC(R) September 26 at 9 pm (ET), for commemorative collections of jewelry, toys, collectibles, books, DVD and beauty products that celebrate the classic film.

* Simon Malls(R) will host themed Simon Kidgits Club(R) events in 100 Simon(R) malls across the country during the month of September.

* Finally, “The Wizard of Oz” will be delighting millions of spectators and viewers across the country, as part of the iconic 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade(R), a world-famous holiday event, with a giant hot-air balloon and balloonheads of “The Wizard of Oz” characters.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products will also support the milestone anniversary with a robust licensing program consisting of more than 80 top-tier licensees.

Master toy partner Jazwares leads the way, followed by new licensees including Dylan’s Candy Bar, philosophy, PaperStyle, Julep, The Noble Collection and NECA. Other prominent partners supporting the film include Mattel, Madame Tussauds, Rubie’s Costume Company, Steiff and many more. Commemorative anniversary products will be available across a wide range of categories including apparel, jewelry, fine art, collectibles, stationery and paper goods, toys and games and personal care.

Oz in the News 8.24.13

matthewarnold__130621172508-275x321NBC Buys ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Drama From Matt Arnold As Frank Baum’s Classic Becomes The Hottest TV Property This Season  A century after the release of L. Frank Baum’s Wizard Of Oz series, the books have become the toast of this TV development season. NBC just nabbed Emerald City, an Oz-themed drama from Siberia creator/showrunner Matthew Arnold. Two weeks ago, CBS put in development Dorothy, a medical soap inspired by the characters and themes from The Wizard of Oz. I hear there is another Oz drama making the rounds from Heroes alums Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster, with Heroes creator Tim Kring supervising. And just last month, Syfy picked up for development a miniseries titled Warriors Of Oz from director Timur Bekmambetov, a fantasy-action reimagining of the classic story.  Emerald City, which Arnold is writing and executive producing through Universal Television, is described as a dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of Game Of Thrones, drawing upon stories from Baum’s original 14 books. Following the success of the 1900 The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Baum wrote 13 sequel novels.

Oz in the News 8.23.13

28DC2E1E9-DA92-E37F-E4BC2705D88F5B9DDanielle Wade, Jacquelyn Piro Donovan, Cedric Smith to Lead THE WIZARD OF OZ North American Tour; Full Cast Announced!  The North American tour will feature many of the same talented cast currently starring in the Toronto production including, as previously announced as Dorothy, Danielle Wade, who was chosen by the Canadian public through CBC TV’s “Over The Rainbow.” Starring opposite Danielle is one of Canada’s most respected and honored actors: Gemini-winner, film and theatre veteran, Cedric Smith as the Wizard. Actor and choreographer Mike Jackson (Chicago, Broadway/U.S. tour; Contact, U.S. tour) plays the Tin Man. Star of Mamma Mia! (Toronto/U.S. tour) and a Dora Award winner for his play High Life, Lee MacDougall plays the Lion. Jamie McKnight, known for his performance in The Producers (Toronto) and as one of the Canadian Tenors, plays the Scarecrow. Robin Evan Willis, star of many Shaw Festival productions, plays Glinda. Joining the cast as the Wicked Witch of the West is Broadway and national tour veteran Jacquelyn Piro Donovan (Les Mis, Miss Saigon, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Closer Than Ever).

Oz in the News 8.22.13

_69415173_orchestra2_976paRSNO flying high after airport gig  Melodies from the films Star Wars, E.T. and The Wizard of Oz were ringing through the main check-in hall at Glasgow Airport today as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) played at the unusual venueWearing her signature red shoes, Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz, was joined by her dog Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion to enjoy the music and participate in the performance.  Video here.

Oz in the News 8.19.13

23077955_BG4Service held in Phoenix for ‘Wizard of Oz’ munchkin  Margaret Pellegrini passed away at the Beatitudes Campus retirement community on Aug. 7 at age 89. Wood said longtime Valley entertainers Igor Glenn and Mike Chamberlin, as well as the cast at Valley Youth Theatre, paid tribute to Pellegrini during the celebration. Pellegrini’s grandson, Bill Pellegrini, said as a boy, his grandma would take him to the fair where she’d know everyone. He said he also remembers going with her to Hollywood, when she got her star on the Walk of Fame. Pellegrini was one of three surviving munchkins from the famous 1939 film.

The 3D re-releasing trend reaches a dead end  My IMAX 3-D showing of Pacific Rim had, as usual, an interminable reel of trailers attached. The blockbusters and the sequels didn’t cause any reactions, but The Wizard of Oz IMAX 3-D trailer did — audible groans and a spot of incredulous laughter. I can see why. 3-D conversion is an almost no-win scenario, PR-wise. The re-release will, regardless of the actual perceived quality, alienate existing fans of the movie while discouraging newcomers interested in the movie but not in the superfluous 3-D.  The format isn’t a cure-all, nor does it — no matter how good the conversion — absolutely enhance every movie. In fact, I’d wager that the 3-D and IMAX upscaling actually makes the sets from The Wizard of Oz look more fake than they already do, similar to how 3-D and high frame rate made makeup from The Hobbit look cheap.

Oz in the News 8.16.13

5185767Paranormal images: Can you see celebrity faces in Truro man’s pics?  Hugh Fairman, psychic expert, sent over these photographs of faces that appeared in water vapour during a psychic reading, which he then captured on camera. He claims the ghosts of Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Leonardo Da Vinci and Eva Peron have all “popped up to say hello”. And the paranormal expert has a collection of over 1,000 images in his possession.

Circus Smirkus attracts all ages for ‘Oz Incorporated’  The season’s theme is “Oz Incorporated,” a twist on “The Wizard of Oz” that involves the story’s well-known characters but is set in the future, at the Wizard’s corporation. A grand curtain at the back of the ring serves as the building’s elevator, opening and closing to transport performers on and off the stage. In a humorous variation on the traditional plot, the Wicked Witch argues loudly on a cell phone, while Toto carries a camera to snap selfies with each new character he meets.

BWW Reviews: GROOVE ON DOWN THE ROAD: A JOURNEY TO OZ, Queen Elizabeth Hall, August 14 2013  Dancing to music from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and hip-hop superstars I’m far too old to recognise, Dorothy leads the gang – joined by a very tumbly Toto – as it eases on down the road all the way to the Emerald City and The Great Oz himself. En route, they fight off the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys and even survive the poppy fields’ temptations of sex and drugs and hip and hop, to find that the things they most wanted were, of course, within themselves.

ZooNation’s Groove On Down The Road is wizard street dance entertainment  Making full use of a Yellow Brick Road that snakes around the QEH auditorium, the audience is thrown into the action as young Dorothy and her ramshackle gang (Tinman, Tonto, Scarecrow and Lion) drop out of school and embark on a defiantly upbeat journey of self-discovery, packed with vibrant characters and young street dancers surely headed for stellar careers. It’s a joyous ensemble piece, so it feels a touch unfair to single out special praise. But top marks to Portia Oti’s effervescent Dorothy, Corey Culverwell’s sensitive and spring-heeled Lion and Steven Pascua for a Wizard so packed with attitude he is, well, wizard. Terrifically entertaining stuff.

Oz in the News 8.15.13

1189829‘The Wizard of Oz’ reissue could signal the end of the G rating  You may have read that “The Wizard of Oz” has been rejiggered for IMAX and 3-D, and will play a one-week theatrical run next month at some 400 IMAX theaters around the country (to include Utah) before the Oct. 1 release of a 75th anniversary 3-D/Blu-ray box set. (Although this year marks the 74th anniversary of the film; go figure.) What you may not know is that “The Wizard of Oz” has also been re-rated, and the board, in its infinite wisdom, has overturned the film’s G rating and marked it with a PG!

Oz in the News 8.13.13

13225104-standardWithout This Home, There’d Be No OZ   Without This Home, There’d Be No OZ ! a fundraiser held at the Landmark Theater to preserve the home on West Onondaga St. where author L. Frank Baum met his wife, Maud Gage. The marquee out front paid tribute to Margaret Pellegrini. The actress who passed away recently played a munchkin in the 1939 movie.

Recently deceased ‘Oz’ munchkin visited Cape  According to Dumey, Pellegrini’s appearances during the junior high stage run of “The Wizard of Oz” can be attributed to Chuck Heady of Cape Girardeau. “I asked Chuck about the possibility of Margaret coming to our performances,” he said. “The next thing I knew, she was here.” Heady, 68, had been friends with Pellegrini since 1992. A devoted fan of “The Wizard of Oz” and owner of an extensive memorabilia collection, Heady said their friendship was formed after he had spoken with other munchkins who were making an appearance in Poplar Bluff, Mo. “They told me she lived in Phoenix,” he said. “I had a sister who lived there, too, and when I visited my sister I gave Margaret a call. She said that we should have lunch together.” Heady said he visited with Pellegrini regularly during the next 21 years.

Weekend Munchkin Roundup  “(Jerry Maren) smokes about two (cigars) a day,” Elizabeth told me. “(But) I take good care of him – he’s going to be the last one.” As for frenzied fans, “We don’t have groupies,” Maren says. “I mean, there are people who love ‘The Wizard of Oz’ so much.” That said, he did get the odd request to sign women’s breasts.  “Oh, yeah,” he said. “But we’re not allowed to do that. If something happens and they get sick or something…”

Oz in the News 8.11.13

-732d9588d780ba6cOz Museum in Chittenango holding remembrance event for Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini  Fans are invited to the All Things Oz Museum to sign condolence cards for Pellegrini’s family and share their memories of the actress in a comment book. One of her Flower Pot Munchkin dresses, as well as photos and videos of Munchkins that have visited Central New York over the years, will also be on display. Admission is free for the event, held during the museum’s regular hours from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 9.

More than 11,000 visit Oz Themed Summerfest 2013  The celebration lasted all weekend in downtown Denton as visitors came from around the Eastern Shore to enjoy the sights and sounds of Caroline Summerfest. Organizers estimated more than 11,000 came to the free two-day family-fun event, featuring 160 performances, arts and crafts, games, local foods with a slice of Caroline County hospitality. The event kicked off Friday afternoon with performances and a pedestrian parade. The parade featured many entries wearing Wizard of Oz costumes as the 1939 film was this year’s festival theme.

Oz in the News 8.10.13

wizard-of-oz-heartless-tee-1CBS developing ‘Wizard of Oz’ medical drama  CBS is taking a big swing with a new project with a higher-than-high concept: Wizard of Oz medical drama. The broadcaster has inked a deal to develop a series titled Dorothy, described by the network as “a medical soap based in New York City, inspired by the characters and themes immortalized in The Wizard of Oz.” The show is from writer Emily Fox (Ghost Whisperer) and executive producers Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman (FX’s Justified, CBS’ Elementary) from CBS Television Studios.