Oz in the News 1.20.14

1385c060ada030960c0e9110.LLast surviving Munchkin Jerry Maren was ‘Mayor McCheese’ in TV ads  You may have seen him as ‘Mayor McCheese’ or the ‘Hamburglar’ in McDonalds ads, or as ‘Buster Brown’ or ‘Little Oscar’ in Oscar Mayer ads. But Jerry Maren is best known and beloved for his role as the Lollipop kid in the 1939 classic film “The Wizard of Oz.” Maren, who will turn 94 Jan. 24, is now the last surviving Munchkin after Thursday’s death of Ruth Robinson Duccini, the last living original female Munchkin. He appeared in a number of “Our Gang” comedy shorts, and starred as an ape in the 1973 movie “Battle for the Planet of the Apes.” He starred in the movie “Little Cigars,” also in 1973. He gained fame as Buster Brown in Buster Brown shoe ads, and traveled as “Little Oscar” with the Oscar Weiner mobile, Fricke said. He also had a regular part on “The Gong Show” in the 1970s as the guy who threw confetti at the end of each show, Fricke said. He did guest appearances on “The Odd Couple,” “Beverly Hillbillies” and “Seinfeld.” In 2010, he played a mime in the movie “Dahmer vs Gacy.” He was honored in September 2013 in a hand and footprint ceremony outside the TCL Chinese Theatre, formerly Graumans, in Hollywood. He place his hands and feet in the wet cement to help commemorate the film’s 75th anniversary, in 2014.

NBC Gives Series Orders To ‘Emerald City’  NBC has given a 10-episode order to Emerald City, an Oz-themed drama from Siberia creator/showrunner Matthew Arnold. The order comes after Josh Friedman, who supervised the writing, recently took a pass at the script. The two executive produce through Universal Television where Friedman is under a deal. A writers room is slated to get up and running soon but casting may be postponed until after pilot season.   Emerald City is described as a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of Game Of Thrones, drawing upon stories from Baum’s original 14 books that include lethal warriors, competing kingdoms, and the infamous wizard as we’ve never seen him before. A head-strong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on an eye-opening journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz. Following the success of the 1900 The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Baum wrote 13 sequel novels. Emerald City is the one of several Wizard Of Oz in development at various networks and the first to get a green light.


2 responses to “Oz in the News 1.20.14

  1. The NBC series sounds ghastly. Why call it “Oz” if you are going to change everything? Hollywood needs to get a bit more creative, rather than just giving us this endless stream of fairytale retreads, remakes and revisions. Do something new!

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