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…”

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