Oz in the News 7.23.15

oz-1Abandoned States: The (Not-So) Abandoned Land of Oz  It’s a rainy, windswept Saturday afternoon, and I find myself staggering out of a wrecked old house on top of a mountain, as though tossed about in a tornado. Floorboards are bent and splintered, and things strewn about with abandon. Swinging open the back door, I go down a stairway and come to a path of yellow bricks winding through some strangely colorful woods. I’m not alone. A girl appears, wearing a blue and white gingham dress with matching blue bows in her hair. There’s a picnic basket on her arm, and inside a scruffy old pup. I look into the woods around us. “You ever seen any animals out here?” “I have, actually,” she responds. “I’ve seen a mountain lion, and a couple of bears.” “Lions and tigers and bears.” I chuckle. “Have you seen a tiger yet?” She’s a ringer for Dorothy, but this isn’t Kansas. We’re on Beech Mountain, in North Carolina. The two of us are standing in what was once a bustling, Wizard of Oz-themed amusement park.

Inside the $1m hunt to bring Dorothy’s stolen ruby slippers home  Word surfaced over the weekend that an anonymous fan has offered to pay up that $1m in exchange for the safe return of Hollywood’s most famous footwear. “At first we sort of wrote it off: ‘Oh great one, a million dollars,’” Feeney said on Monday. “But they were serious about it. It was just hard to believe.”  “It’s had a huge emotional impact on just about everybody that’s seen it the past 76 years,” said Oz historian John Fricke, “and the shoes are magic.” “Whether a crazed, obsessed fan took them for a collection, or someone took them to sell them, they could never display them,” Karen Owens, membership chair for the International Wizard of Oz Club, surmised of the thieves’ current whereabouts. “Why would you take away such a beautiful piece of movie history when you are just going to have to keep them on a shelf or throw them in the trash?”

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