Oz in the News 8.22.14

5b2ab8025d807ce15860726f1fb392539271568e.pngWatch the Story Behind the ‘Wizard of Oz’ You Never Got to See  Decades before Mario Kart and Thor made it cool, Oz screenwriters Edgar Allan Woolf and Florence Ryerson — who were hired to take a pass at an early draft penned by Noel Langley — dreamed up the idea of a grand Rainbow Bridge connecting Earth to magical lands beyond. This bridge would provide Dorothy and Toto with another way into Munchkinland, one that wouldn’t necessarily involve an errant tornado. But the cost proved prohibitive, so the girl and her dog had a rougher trip to Oz after all.

It took some real wizardry to make ‘Oz’ effects  The special effects experts couldn’t just take a camera out to Kansas and wait for a tornado. They had to make one. “They tried a test first with a water vortex, and talked about rubber, and finally settled on cloth,” Oz expert John Fricke said. “They came up with a 35-foot-long muslin stocking that they wrapped around chicken wire to give it a conical appearance.” Gillespie rigged up a gantry crane, rotated by a motor, that traveled the length of the soundstage. The base of the tornado was fastened to a car below the stage, where the crew moved it along a track. The farmhouse, fence, barn and prairie all were done in miniature, and clouds were painted on glass. Wind machines and dust added the final touch. They filmed the tornado sweeping across the prairie from several angles, at distances, coming close to the camera and going away, Fricke said. “Once the (tornado) film was complete, they showed it as rear projection behind the actors,” he said.

At Tanglewood: Pops goes the ‘Wizard’ “It’s one of the hardest coordination things I’ve ever done,” conductor Keith Lockhart acknowledged. “You’re accompanying to something that doesn’t know you’re there. When Judy Garland starts singing, you need to be not too late, not too early the tempo keeps bobbing on you, so you’re constantly adjusting, pushing and pulling. It’s pretty exciting.”

Wizard of Oz’ look-alike contest at Bucyrus’ Bob Evans Farm  Visitors can tour the Homestead Museum and Gallia County native Jane Stowers Craddock’s “Oz” memorabilia collection of more than 1,000 items from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Her collection includes framed signatures of actress Judy Garland, autographs of the Munchkins, personal clothing worn by the Munchkins, movie posters, a life-sized Wicked Witch of the West and others.

It’s Still Popular Being Green: A Decade Later, ‘Wicked’ Continues to Be Catnip for Tweens  In retrospect, “Wicked” seems an early sign of the cultural clout — which is to say buying power — of a generation of girls (and now women) whose desire to see, and read, and sing along with stories about female empowerment has become a snowballing trend. “The Hunger Games” came along in 2008, and became one of the biggest media phenomena of the past decade. And, of course, “Frozen,” Disney’s animated blockbuster movie about two royal sisters with a complicated relationship, surely owes a significant debt to “Wicked,” and not just because Ms. Menzel gave voice to the heroine Elsa, with her snow-blowing superpowers and her megahit “Let It Go.”

Is My Geek Showing?: 75 years of ‘Oz’ I am obsessed with the witches of Oz, and it’s always been my personal belief that Glinda is the actual villain of the 1939 film. (If you want to get into more detail about my theories, get in touch with me! Contact information is at the end of the article.) But even though I’d count myself as a hardcore fan, there are bigger Oz geeks than me out there. For instance, if you’re looking to join a group of fellow enthusiasts, there has been a fan club – The International Wizard of Oz Club – in existence since 1957. This organization hosts events like “The Oz Club Convention,” where members meet up with other Oz fans, attend auctions, watch movies (like “Return to Oz,” the theme of 2015’s con), and, as their Facebook page states, “… otherwise hobnob with our fellow wizards.”

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