Oz in the News 8.25.14

Kansas Dorothys with Gov. Sam Brownback. This year marks the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” movie.Courtesy of Seward County Historical Society

Kansas Dorothys with Gov. Sam Brownback. This year marks the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” movie.Courtesy of Seward County Historical Society

‘Wizard of Oz’ forever linked to Kansas’ legacy  For better or worse, the characters from Oz are so entrenched in American culture that when Kansans go visiting elsewhere they often are asked, “How’s Dorothy and her little dog, Toto?” “We have this love-hate relationship,” Jay Price said. “The Wizard of Oz is our default setting,” particularly when it comes to tourism. Many of Kansas’ western-themed attractions — such as Wichita’s Old Cowtown Museum and Boot Hill in Dodge City — were created in the 1950s and 1960s, Price said, when television and movie westerns were popular. But the Wizard of Oz — which debuted in theaters 75 years ago this month — had long before that become timeless. “We are stuck with it the way Georgia is connected with ‘Gone with the Wind’ and Austria is connected with the ‘Sound of Music’,” Price said.

Becoming Toto: How a Female Terrier Named Terry Became a Film Icon  It was the kind of moment that has defined the lives of many young performers and future stars. Abandoned by her birth parents, Terry had spent the better part of three weeks hiding under the bed of the German couple that had taken her in. Crippled by anxiety and shyness, life seemed like one big rug stretching endlessly ahead, and Terry — a 1-year-old Cairn terrier — was a carpet-wetter. But Terry refused to be defined by a weak bladder. She came out from under that bed, channeled her insecurities into her training, and just five years later she was on top of the world. No longer an insecure carpet-wetter but “Toto,” with a career-defining role in The Wizard of Oz , which opened in theaters across the country 75 years ago today and turned her into perhaps the most beloved animal in Hollywood history.

Westchester Kids ‘Follow Yellow Brick Road’ To First Wiz-Fest  With the help of the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion, three young ladies were granted their wish to sing “Wizard of Oz” songs karaoke style at the first Wiz-Fest in Peekskill on Saturday. The story oft told is that a 12-year-old Baum, on his way to military school in Peekskill, asked for directions and was told to “follow the yellow brick road.” “It’s a great story. I don’t know if it’s true, but I want it to be,” said Brian Snee, an associates director and chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Manhattanville College who recently moved to Peekskill.

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