Oz in the News 8.17.14

ireland-2Witches and Ireland and Bears, Oh My! — Ancestry.com Celebrates 75th Anniversary of the Wizard of Oz by Revealing Family History Connections of the Films’ Stars  Actress Margaret Hamilton has a connection to the Salem Witch Trials, as does the book’s author, L. Frank Baum. According to family history experts at Ancestry.com, Hamilton’s 5th great grandparents found themselves living in colonial America near Salem, Massachusetts in the year of the famous Salem Witch Trials, after immigrating to the U.S. from Ireland. Research also revealed Baum had ancestors who lived near Salem during that same time period. Hamilton and Baum are also joined by the film’s top stars in having ancestral connections to another land of emerald green — Ireland. Actors Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley who played “Dorothy,” the “Scarecrow” and the “Tin Man” respectively, all have ancestors hailing from the Emerald Isle. Garland’s roots go back to County Meath, while Bolger has family connections to County Limerick. Haley’s ancestors left Ireland in the 1800s.

Winkie Con 2014: Ozplay Named after Winkie County, the westernmost region in the Land of Oz ruled by the Wicked Witch of the West, Winkie Con is organised by the International Wizard of Oz Club and is the longest-running Oz event in America. A few decades ago there were a host of such get-togethers, including the East Coast’s Munchkin celebration. But interest began to dwindle and by 2009, Winkie Con had just 40 attendees. The other events had winked out of existence entirely. This year, propelled by the publicity for the anniversary of the MGM film, Winkie Con moved from the mid-California Monterey peninsula down to San Diego. The relocation was due in part to San Diego’s proximity to neighbouring resort town, Coronado, where Baum wintered and wrote several novels. It was also the first year the usually humble Winkie Con expanded to offer a broad conference-style schedule, with concurrent panels discussing subjects such as the strong feminist characters in Baum’s books and the rise of fantasy and sci-fi fan culture. Attendance spiked to over 350; many attendees were newer fans, who had found their way down the yellow brick road via the musical “Wicked” or “Oz the Great and Powerful”, the new Oz film released in 2013.

Classic ‘Wizard of Oz’ line permeates pop culture Say you’re writing a screenplay for a movie or a script for a television series. Say your character is surprised by his or her surroundings or needs to express that things have just gotten very, very weird. Hmm… Whatever should that character say? If you’re from Kansas, you already know what the writer will type next. “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.” Actually, to be exact, the line is “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” and it originated in the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s been borrowed liberally over the years by movies, television shows, headline writers, political pundits, reality show producers, social media users and every day conversationalists. The line is so iconic, in fact, that it was No. 4 on a list of the top 100 movie quotes of all time that was compiled in 2005 by the American Film Institute – ahead, even, of “May the Force Be With You” and “Here’s looking at you, kid.” It even outranked “There’s no place like home,” another famous line from “Oz.”

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