Oz in the News 9.18.13

5238c71da9979.preview-620‘Oz’ gets $25 million promo, including Munchkin guest  The studio is spending an “over the rainbow” amount of $25 million this month for promotion to push the 75th Anniversary launch of the original movie converted to 3D for IMAX theaters. On Sunday, the new 3D film version was screened for celeb guests in Hollywood at the new TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX. This is the same theater space that was originally Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where the film premiered in 1939. Attending Sunday’s all-star event were Mario Lopez, Molly Ringwald, Kevin Sorbo, all posing for photos with the new Dorothy (as played by Garland) wax figure unveiled by Madame Tussauds Hollywood. But best of all the special guest of the day was Munchkin Ruth Duccini, 95, one of our regular celebrity guests at the Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival. She, along with Lollipop Munchkin Jerry Maren, 93, are the final two surviving Munchkins.

Oz Revisited: Why We Still Follow the Yellow Brick Road Part I International film remakes have run the gamut from, O to Z, in ‪Japan, Turkey, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Lithuania. Disney has mounted a sequel (the 1985 Return to Oz) and a prequel (this year’s Oz the Great and Powerful). The Wiz, a black-cast Broadway show, which won a Tony Award for Best Musical and ran for four years, was filmed in 1978 with Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. The stage musical Wicked, a revisionist tribute to the mean, green Witch of the West, has been entrancing Broadway audiences for the past decade. It will mark its 10th anniversary on Oct. 20.

Oz Revisited – Part 2: How They Made It Wonderful  In many ways Baum prefigured Walt Disney (who in the 1930s had hoped to make an animated feature of the Baum book, but MGM secured the rights first). He invented characters that lodged in the popular imagination, then extended their lives in sequels and translated them into other media. Like Disney, Baum became nearly as famous as his creations, not by hosting a TV show but by touring cross-country. And in 1905 he announced an Oz theme park, which he never realized. In fact, his dreams crashed when he invested much of his fortune in Oz movies. That made him another kind of American icon: the big dreamer who can’t write himself a happy ending.


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