Monthly Archives: November 2013

Oz in the News 11.30.13

Oz in the News 11.29.13

imagesA Tribute to Blacklisted Lyricist Yip Harburg: The Man Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz  His name might not be familiar to many, but his songs are sung by millions around the world. Today, we take a journey through the life and work of Yip Harburg, the Broadway lyricist who wrote such hits as “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and who put the music into The Wizard of Oz. Born into poverty on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Harburg always included a strong social and political component to his work, fighting racism and poverty. A lifelong socialist, Harburg was blacklisted and hounded throughout much of his life. We speak with Harburg’s son, Ernie Harburg, about the music and politics of his father. Then we take an in-depth look at The Wizard of Oz, and hear a medley of Harburg’s Broadway songs and the politics of the times in which they were created.

Oz in the News 11.23.13

Ozma_of_OzOZMA OF OZ to Round Out Playwrights Foundation’s Rough Readings Series  The Playwrights Foundation’s 2013 Winter Rough Readings Series concludes with readings of Rob Melrose‘s adaptation of OZMA of OZ on Monday, December 2, 7:30pm at Roble Hall, Stanford University and on Tuesday, December 3, 7pm at The Thick House, San Francisco. Directed by Rob Melrose, OZMA of OZ is a trip-hop musical based on L. Frank Baum‘s third book in the Wizard of Oz series and presented in partnership with Cutting Ball Theatre. OZMA of OZ features music by Bay Area electro-rock group Z.O.N.K. giving the piece its own 21st Century San Francisco spin.


Oz in the News 11.19.13







‘Wizard of Oz’ authorities to sign 75th anniversary companion book at Barnes & Noble  Jay Scarfone and William Stillman, historians and collectors of all things “Oz” for four decades, have just produced “The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion.”  In their introduction, the Pennsylvania residents recall becoming enamored of the film in the 1960s and 1970s, thanks to watching annual TV broadcasts with family. Between viewings, “we’d search for tangible reminders of that happy experience,” and so their collections started with picture books, soundtracks and figurines.  The authors will sign their lavish $40 hardcover from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 1700-H Fruitville Pike.

Oz in the News 11.14.13

wizardofozhistorianjohnfrickeCamden Public Library hosts an evening with ‘Oz’ expert John Fricke  The Camden Public Library is participating in the nationwide celebration of all things Oz by hosting the world’s leading expert on “The Wizard of Oz,” John Fricke, on Thursday evening, November 14 at 7 p.m. Fricke is the author of “The Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of an American Classic,” being published this month by Down East Books. Fricke’s presentation will celebrate the Maine launch of the new book and offer a very entertaining evening for all in attendance. In addition to John Fricke’s appearance on November 14, the library will produce “A Wicked Event” on November 21 at the Camden Opera House with Gregory Maguire, author of the “Wicked” series which inspired the Broadway musical. Tickets are available at the Camden Public Library and online at The library will also display the original Tik-Tok Robot from the Oz collection of Tom Wilhite and Willard Carroll, as well as iconic life-size Oz cutouts, posed for photos throughout the month.

Oz in the News 11.13.13

F7F52DA0-A188-3C63-467134AA97DF8127Janet Kelly Offers a Series of New Adventure Stories  “Lost Lands of OZ” begins a series of new and exciting adventure books exploring the mysterious land of OZ which was originally created by L. Frank Baum in the early 1900s with the “Wizard of Oz” and 13 others authored by him. edu•characters has created a fabulously unique map of the contemporary OZ and the first book in the series, “The Rain King is Missing,” is an original story based on the amazing geography, the magical places, fascinating characters and unbelievable things that Baum created in his timeless books. Readers are introduced to the beautiful fairy princess, Ozma, who is the real ruler of OZ. Although only 16 years old, Ozma is the most omniscient and omnipotent in all of OZ. She fairly rules over the land of OZ with Glinda, the good witch. However, today evil clouds hang over Emerald City. Wicked forces in the Outer Lands of OZ are trying to take control of the magical kingdom by capturing the Rain King.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ Turns 75: A Look Back at a Film Classic  The Wizard of Oz was a popular hit in 1939 but more than half its audiences were children who usually paid a dime to get in. At a cost of $3 million, the movie didn’t make a profit until a rerelease 10 years later. But when it began playing on TV in 1956, it became more special than ever because it was right there with us in our own home, in our very living room. And, to quote Dorothy, “There’s no place like home!”

BOOK REVIEW: “The Wizard of Oz – The 75th Anniversary Companion”  This new book is filled with fun facts and tidbits such as this concerning all of the actors, and touches a bit on the “hanged man” scene and takes a look at cut out segments of the film like “The Jitterbug” number. “The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Companion” is a lavish book written by Jay Scarfone and William Stillman, and designed in close collaboration with Warner Brothers. This is an over the top, above and beyond, Anniversary edition. One hundred and seventy-six pages hardcover coffee table book perfect for Ozophiles, film buffs, and fans of the movie. There is a forward by Caren Marsh-Doll (Judy Garland’s stand in for the film) and then an introduction by the authors. The book opens up with an entire section on the book series and Lyman Frank Baum. It then blends into MGM obtaining rights. From there it is a feast for all the senses; old photographs and promotional stills are blended with fascinating facts and stories about the director, actors, stage hands, camera men, anyone and everyone who had a hand in making this film.

Oz in the News 11.12.13

3_two-panelBillboardrFrench-001Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Farnsworth Art Museum  Some of these items, like the witch’s hourglass or an early version of Dorothy’s blue gingham jumper, are the movie equivalents of religious relics: objects that go beyond mere nostalgia to something like transcendence. The most famous item associated with the movie, a certain pair of ruby-red slippers, aren’t here. They’re at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C. What is here are ruby-red slippers worn in the 1985 film “Return to Oz.” A shooting script for “The Wizard of Oz,” with a dress tested by Judy Garland for the movie and the blouse she wore during the first two weeks of filming. A shooting script for “The Wizard of Oz,” with a dress tested by Judy Garland for the movie and the blouse she wore during the first two weeks of filming. The script and hourglass and dress are the stars of the show. But what may be the most illuminating items are some of the ephemera from throughout the Oz canon: soap, an Oz-themed box of Whitman’s candy (do the original contents remain inside?), playing cards, a board game, dolls, wallpaper, buttons, and so on.

Munchkins tribute at Woodridge ‘Wizard of Oz’ showing A celebration of the classic film “The Wizard of Oz” is happening this weekend at the Hollywood Boulevard Cinema in Woodridge. A special tribute to the munchkins features costumes and memorabilia. There are only two surviving munchkins, ages 93 and 95. They no longer travel so fans celebrated in their absence. And of course “The Wizard of Oz” is being shown on the big screen in 2D and 3D.

Oz in the News 11.8.13

save-oz1AFM: Film Sharks Toons Up Anima’s Feature ‘Save Oz’  The animated feature, which is in production for second-quarter 2014 delivery, draws on some characters and locations from L. Frank Baum’s celebrated “Oz” book series, which began with 1900’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” But “Save Oz!” has an entirely original story and original main characters. It centers on Oxxy, an enthusiastic and friendly flying monkey, who rebels against serving wicked witch Evilene, reaching out to the Champions of Oz — the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man — who have taken Emerald City to its maximum splendor. Unfortunately, they haven’t quite been feeling themselves recently and a flying monkey army is bent on capturing Ozzy.

Glenn Beck explains American politics with “The Wizard of Oz,” dolls and really weird voices The video is long, so allow me to summarize: The American people are Dorothy, Mitch McConnell is the Good Witch of the North, the government is the Wicked Witch of the West and Lindsey Graham, John McCain and John Boehner are the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, respectively.

Oz in the News 11.7.13

wizard-of-oz-tin-man-new-picturesAfter 75 Years, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Still Has Secrets to Tell  Authors Jay Scarfone and William Stillman admit in their foreword that they had a formidable task, so they gave themselves strict criteria: They wanted to gather visual material, quotes and facts that have been rarely, if ever, seen. They succeeded. The coffee table book offers a treasure trove of images, including startling photos of Judy Garland testing multiple wigs in various styles and colors — including cascading blonde locks. There’s a costume test for the Scarecrow where he looks like a refugee from a Tim Burton movie. And there are photos of Oz-mania, including a human logjam at Grand Central Station when Mickey Rooney and Garland arrived there for the film’s New York premiere, as well as a boxy-looking 70-foot Tin Man balloon for the 1939 Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of the American Classic,” Documenting Birth of Oz to Wicked, Will Be Published Penned by John Fricke, the Emmy Award-winning producer of the PBS American Masters and A&E Biography documentaries about Judy Garland, “The Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of the American Classic” promises photographs of the largest collection of Oz memorabilia. It is published by Down East Books. Chapters include “The Royal Historian of Oz,” “An American Phenomenon,” “A Technicolor Show of Shows,” “Oz Around the World,” “Return to Oz” and “Wicked Wonderful.”

Over the Rainbow, A Tribute to Yip Harburg  Through “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” and “April in Paris,” lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg has provided some of the most beautiful and moving lyrics of all time. On November 19th, “Over the Rainbow, A Tribute to Yip Harburg,” will take place at Rockwell: Table & Stage. This concert will be a celebration of classic songs and some rarely heard gems from his catalog of over 500 songs. Amongst the artists performing will be Terri White (“Follies”), Barrett Foa (“NCIS: Los Angeles”), Spencer Day, Ginifer King (“Haunted Hathaways”), Ben Caron, Exist Elsewhere, and additional artists to be announced. Proceeds from the concert will go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Oz in the News 11.6.13

Ozland The Film  Ozland is the first feature length film by award winning, Mississippi filmmaker Michael Williams. In a dry and dusty post apocalyptic US, two wayfarers wander aimlessly until they find a book that changes their journey forever testing the faith, imagination, and the friendship of these two contrasting individuals.

Marks & Spencer Mashes Up Supermodels, Oz and Alice in Wonderland for Showy Christmas Ad  Model and quintessential English rose Rosie Huntington-Whiteley plays a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” in an elaborate new Christmas commercial for U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer. The ad was released online last night and is set to break on TV later this week.  Directed by Johan Renck, the commercial also stars Helena Bonham-Carter as a female Wizard of Oz and male supermodel David Gandy as the Mad Hatter/Scarecrow. It follows “Alice” as she chases after her dog, falls down a manhole and finds herself both in Wonderland and Oz, with a touch of the “Arabian Nights,” in a series of fantastical, snowy sequences — stuffed, too, with products sold by the retailer, from handbags to food.