Monthly Archives: December 2013

In Memoriam: Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini (September 23, 1923 – August 7, 2013)


Credit: Photographed March 3, 2013, by Jesse Groening. © National Oz Museum.

In honor of  MGM Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini who passed away earlier this year, The Daily Ozmapolitan is honored to present this triptych of her last series of professionally photographed images.  Tom Wilhite has this to say about these pictures, “This series of photos was shot when she was interviewed for the Farnsworth Art Museum exhibition.  Several weeks after these photos were taken – and the interview conducted – she had what I understand was a stroke from which she did not recover.  I am guessing these are the last photos of her.  Margaret’s interview in the Farnsworth show is an historic link to the film and, for the photographer and me, a moving remembrance of our visit with her.”

Rest in peace, Margaret.  You were a true Ozian.

Blair Frodelius – Editor

Oz in the News 12.27.13

wizard_of_oz_cover_web2 Dorothys travel through ‘Oz’ book, film  To honor the 75th anniversary of the motion picture “The Wizard of Oz,” the Special Collections department of UNC Charlotte’s Atkins Library has created an exhibit of rare copies of the L. Frank Baum books that inspired the movie.  In the classic tug-of-war about which is better – the book or the movie – the film version of “The Wizard of Oz” pulls its weight like no other.  But to take a side, said Mark West – a UNC Charlotte English professor, an expert on Baum’s books – people first have to understand how completely different the two are from one another.  The collection will be on display until Jan. 17.

Oz in the News 12.21.13

Dorothy's dressThe ‘Merry Old Land of Oz’ relocates to Maine  In the not too distant future, these items, among the largest private collection of Oz memorabilia in the world, will be displayed in “The National Oz Museum, Center for Illustration and Literature for Young People,” in Camden.  In 2012, as part of the Rhode Island School of Design’s (RISD) design studio, 12 graduate students completed their vision of what the interior of the museum would look like in the 5,000 square foot workshop on Carroll and Wilhite’s property. The students visited the site prior to beginning their conceptual drawings. “We just let them wander, as opposed to leading them through the building,” Carroll said. Once he and Wilhite narrowed the 12 students down to two, they had input on the designs. “The one we chose had a nice facade. Inside, it reflected the open, welcoming feeling we were looking for; we didn’t want the museum to feel like attraction,” Carroll said. The Oz museum will contain a permanent exhibit of 150 to 175 items, including the 105 items now at the Farnsworth. Carroll plans to rotate other exhibits, perhaps his 1902 stage show photos and posters, the movie blueprint, and another of his collection of foreign Oz books in 50 languages.

‘There’s no place like home’ Wizard & Habitat team up  “We are excited to be able to pay tribute to the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz and to Dorothy’s most famous line by kicking off construction of new home builds across the country with Habitat for Humanity as part of our larger, yearlong campaign called There’s No Place Like Home.,” Brad Globe, President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products told “Warner Bros. is committed to making positive contributions to the communities in which we work and live, and the There’s No Place Like Home campaign gives the studio the chance to leverage a beloved classic title like The Wizard of Oz to create awareness and support for a worthy cause.”

YouTube Names the Top ’10 Karaoke Songs for 2013 on `KaraokeOnVEVO’  Not all the tops Karaoke Songs of 2013 were new hits. Coming in at Number 9 was a big hit for Judy Garland from 1939. It is probably one of the best-known songs of all time. “Over the Rainbow” from the classic film The Wizard of Oz broke the top ten for the first time this year. “Over the Rainbow” won an Academy Award for best song at the time. “The Wizard Of Oz” just celebrated its 75th birthday with a theatrical IMAX 3D release.

Oz in the News 12.19.13

200px-AmericanFairyTalesFamily Fun with American Fairy Tales Dec 18-31  AMERICAN FAIRY TALES is a fast-paced, slapdash, interactive family-friendly show for the holidays. This production of AMERICAN FAIRY TALES, adapted by Stan Heleva and directed by Michelle Pauls, features adaptations of three short stories by L. Frank Baum, the author of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ and other American classics. These little known stories will have their Philadelphia premiere when performed on the Walking Fish Stage. It’s interactive! Audience members can help the performances by adding specific sounds and movements from their seats, as well as join in singing seasonal songs with the cast and even dancing with the actors. The stories to be performed are: THE GIRL WHO OWNED A BEAR, BOX OF ROBBERS and THE QUEEN OF QUOK. Opening Night is Friday, December 20 @ 7:00pm. And then the show runs until December 31.

Want a Copy of the Wicked Witch of the East’s Death Certificate for Christmas?  The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion is a fascinating compendium of everything related to the movie classic. Written by Jay Scarfone and William Stillman, the book is a lovely “coffee table” piece that is sure to satisfy diehard fans as well as newbies. Most of the information contained in the book can be found in endless documentaries and specials made about the movie (some of which are also included in the new Blu-ray set, which is another beauty upon itself) but there is always something extra brought to the table by the texture and weight of paper.

L. Frank Baum’s work, including the Oz books, at the Central Library  An exhibit on Baum, his life and literary career and creations—including originals of all 14 books in the Oz canon, together with précis plot summaries—is currently on display at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library downtown. Also considering the continuing vitality of the Oz literary phenomenon, noting the Judy Garland (and Ray Bolger and Jack Haley and Bert Lahr) movie, which came out in 1939, and later illustration projects by the likes of Barry Moser and pop-up book artist Robert Saluda (sic), who is said to have taken Nancy Reagan as his model for the Wicked Witch of the West.

Oz in the News 12.16.13

20131216_627993.xml-20131122_oz_3‘Wizard of Oz’ junkie follows yellow brick road to Camden  If you need proof that Willard Carroll is the man who has everything, consider this: He outbid Michael Jackson to buy the hourglass that the Wicked Witch of the West wraps her bony fingers around to threaten Dorothy in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.” Carroll, whose collection comprises the entirety of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” exhibition at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, paid $80,000 for the hourglass more than 20 years ago. “Obviously, Michael Jackson could have outbid me,” said Carroll. But Jackson’s representative was authorized to bid only so high. Determined to acquire the hourglass that he coveted for years, Carroll kept upping the bid until the Jackson emissary angrily bowed out. “That is the most I’ve ever paid for anything, still today,” said Carroll.

The Wizard of Oz and the Western Cultural Imagination: A Conference celebrating and interrogating 75 years of the MGM Musical  Despite being firmly embedded in the Western cultural imagination, the legacy of The Wizard of Oz has received rather sparse critical reception. Taking place in the same month that saw the release of the film in the UK, this conference seeks to fill this void and explore the film and its legacy through a series of innovative presentations that explores ideas such as:

·       the Wizard of Oz within American and UK television programming;
·       young women’s agency;
·       representations of twisters, tornadoes, and hurricanes;
·       Technicolor and the emergence of colour film;
·       the Hollywood musical;
·       stardom and fandom;
·       intermedial history and the story’s migration to other media;
·       paratexts, advertising and memorabilia;
·       music, magic, witches and myth;
·       representations of the American rural landscape and the Depression;
·       gender and sexuality;
·       the Wizard of Oz and cultural capital;
·       carnivals, travelling shows, and fairgrounds;
·       costume and the iconography of shoes.

Proposals are welcomed from all academic disciplines and can take the form of a paper, performance, artwork or poster presentation. Innovative presentation formats are encouraged. The conference will include a fancy dress, sing-along screening of the film.

Oz in the News 12.12.13

BAUM-BOOKS-6A trip to ‘Oz’ in downtown Library’s Rare Book Room The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library has launched its latest exhibit in the Rare Book Room and Ring of Knowledge. The Wonderful Wizardy of Baum features 14 first editions of the L. Frank Baum collection, including The Wizard of Oz. WBFO’s Eileen Buckley had a chance to be one of the first members of the media to review the exhibit and learn about a local connection to one of his earlier books. The library has the entire canon of Baum’s works on display. It had a few of the books, then worked to acquire the rest.  The first edition of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz  — created in 1900 — was already in the local collection, originally purchased by the downtown library.  The exhibit includes plenty of the pop culture surrounding the 1939 movie, which will mark its 75th anniversary next year.

Oz in the News 12.11.13

tumblr_mx9r0au9lp1t4iakno6_1280WICKED Imagined as a Disney Animated Film – Character Art  Here’s a great little collection of Wicked character art created by Disney animator Minkyu Lee, which shows us what the characters would look like in a Disney animated film. Lee worked on films such as The Princess and the Frog and Frozen. These were created by the artist while studying at CalArts and interning at Disney. Lee is a very talented artist and animator who also directed the Oscar nominated short Adam and Dog, which you can watch here. You can read about the artist’s thoughts on the importance of creating a visual development portfolio like this and how it came about on his website.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return – Lea Michele gets animated in the Emerald City  It’s taken a long time to get Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return to the screen. It was announced before Oz The Great And Powerful was in the works, but it’s only now we get a trailer, ahead of its release next May. The movie is a sequel to L. Frank Baum’s Wizard Of Oz, showing what happens when Dorothy returns to the magical land. Here’s the synopsis: ‘In LEGENDS OF OZ: DORTOHY’S RETURN, Dorothy returns to Kansas to find it devastated by the tornado that had whisked her away to Oz. The home she has been so desperate to return to is severely damaged, and the townspeople are packing up and moving out. But shortly after arriving in Kansas, Dorothy is magically transported back to Oz.

NBC’s next live musical? How about ‘The Voice’ does ‘Wizard of Oz’? Adam Levine could be the Scarecrow. Blake Shelton could step in as The Tin Man. And who would make a better Glinda the Good Witch than Christina Aguilera? And of course, Cee-Lo Green would be a slam dunk as the Cowardly Lion. For the role of the great and powerful Oz, we see James Spader, bringing his charismatic sinister flavor from “The Blacklist.” In the spirit of Carrie Underwood, who was cast as Maria in NBC’s “Sound of Music,” we see Nicki Manaj as Dorothy, who could bring a hip-hop vibe as well as a bit of nice-naughty spice as she skips down the Yellow Brick Road.

Oz in the News 12.7.13

52a2628a07590.preview-300Is a break near in the ruby slippers theft?  According to a spokesperson from a Twin Cities private investigation firm, there may be a break in the theft of the slippers, which were stolen from a display at the Judy Garland Museum in August 2005. Despite numerous leads, no suspects have ever been publicly named in the theft. The stolen slippers were one of several pairs of ruby slippers Grand Rapids native Judy Garland wore in the 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” “We’ve had several developments in the case,” said Rob Feeney, spokesman for Alexander and Associates, which was hired to look into the theft. “Our agency believes the slippers are still in Minnesota.”

Oz in the News 12.6.13

2ee534364a8f8c208da2c7881e57a467US: 75th anniversary Wizard of Oz Monopoly revealed  Roll the ruby red dice as you travel the board and attempt to own all the best reall estate in the Land of Oz. Players begin their journey in sepia in Kansas, just like in the movie. They then travel into a world of colour as they follow the Yellow Brick Road through the Haunted Forest, Apple Orchards, Cornfields and arrive at the Emerald City Gate. The game board unfolds to reveal a 3D po-up centre showcasing pivotal movie plot points including scenes of the Gale farm, the tornado, Munchkinland, the Poppy Fields, Emerald City and the castle belonging to the Wicked Witch of the West. New Monopoly rules created just for the game allow players to enter the pop-up Land of Oz and gain tactical advantages that can potentially thwart an opponent or further the player’s quest to own it all. The houses and hotels from the traditional game have been transformed into custom farmhouses and Emerald Cities, respectively. Meanwhile, classic movie icons from The Wizard of Oz – including the hat of the Wicked Witch of the West, the Rubu Slippers and Toto – replace the traditional Monopoly movers.

Oz in the News 12.3.13

article-0-19CE49E000000578-619_306x431Who should run Britain: Tin Man Cameron (all head, no heart) or Scarecrow Miliband (all heart, no brains), asks Wizard of Oz poll  Imagine you live in the land of Oz, and the candidates are the Tin Man, who’s all brains and no heart, and the Scarecrow, who’s all heart and no brains. Who would you vote for?’ Amongst all voters, a majority prefer the Tin Man over the Scarecrow. It is designed to unpick voters’ reactions to differing leadership styles. In the 2000 race for the White House, Al Gore was well ahead of George W Bush in traditional polling, but the Tin Man was neck and neck with the Scarecrow. The result of the election was similarly close. Now YouGov has put the question to voters in the UK. Of all those surveyed, 41 per cent say they would prefer to be led by the Tin Man, compared to just 32 per cent who chose the Scarecrow.

‘The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion’ authors to visit East Dallas  Next week, December 11 to be exact, authors Scarfone and Stillman will be guest lecturers at C.C. Young retirement home at White Rock Lake. The lecture starts at 2 p.m. at The Point building. C.C. Young will fly  the authors in from Pennsylvania for the occasion, organizers say,  and is offering tickets to the general public for $15 apiece. Residents and C.C. Young and Point members get in for $12. The book, whose list price is $40, will be available in limited quantity for $32 and the authors will sign attendees’ copies free of charge.

Q&A With ‘Lion’ In Ordway’s ‘Wizard Of Oz’  “It’s a big costume. It’s a lot of fun. It probably takes me about 15 minutes to get dressed into that costume. I get dressed, there’s an under-layer and then I put on a lot of the makeup. And then I’m helped by a dresser because I can’t actually get into it myself, there’s so many pieces to it. Then I have the tail, which kind of has a backpack harness that goes on, then the fur outer layer that kind of wraps around that, there’s a big headpiece with a wig and mane and everything. So there are a lot of pieces. It’s padded in various places and it’s also vented to try and keep me cool but really, it’s hot. It’s really hot. I’m used to that now but it’s a fur suit with padding. It’s a fun costume and I really enjoy it. The tail has a life of its own. When I move around, it took me a while to learn how the tail would move – sometimes I’d hit people with it on accident and sometimes on purpose.”

Getting to Know WIZARD OF OZ Newcomer Danielle Wade  “This will be my first Christmas away from home which is sad but exciting. I will have my Wizard family and I am sure we will be doing Secret Santa and dinner of some sort. I think it’s very cool that you become a family with your cast and crew while you are away from home.”

Publisher’s Weekly Big Holiday Gift Books  People not only want to look at great art—they also want to possess some part of it. It’s the reason you might leave a museum with an exhibition poster, calendar, or postcard. It also explains, as Anne Midgette recently pointed out in the Washington Post, why you might load up your iPhone with photos of a museum’s Picassos or Monets. “Seeing art that moves you awakens the lover’s sense of Mine,” she writes. Illustrated books are an important extension of that need to own art and make it familiar and comfortable. That desire makes them particularly special holiday gifts, and the same is true for illustrated books on photography, history, and fashion. This fall there are many, many standouts including Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of the American Classic. John Fricke. Down East Books, $30 (168p).