Monthly Archives: August 2015

Oz in the News 8.31.15

UntitledTCM Campaign Puts ‘Oz’ on the Broad Side of a Barn  Turner Classic Movies is going after younger viewers who like to socialize around movies with a new branding campaign — above the tagline “Let’s Movie” — the first such outreach in about a decade for the Turner Broadcasting System-owned channel.   New on-air and online spots show groups gathering to watch, for example, The Wizard of Oz projected onto the side of a Kansas barn, John Wayne in The Searchers played off a butte in Monument Valley and Ben Hur on the outside walls of The Colosseum in Rome. (Click to view a :30 spot and a :60 spot.)

Somewhere over the Halifax  The Halifax branch in Old Market Place brightened up the day of many a customer with their The Wizard Of Oz theme. Staff were dressed as characters from the popular musical, balloon rainbows covered the store and they even had their own yellow brick road. The Grimsby branch is just one of many Halifax banks up and down the country showing their support for Pride. The Grimsby store is the only one to go with The Wizard Of Oz idea.

Oz in the News 8.29.15

Uzo Aduba Talks Casting in NBC’s THE WIZ LIVE: ‘Anything Is Possible’  Best known for her Emmy-winning portrayal of Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the hit Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” actress Uzo Aduba (Broadway’s GODSPELL) stopped by this morning’s TODAY to share that she couldn’t believe it when she got the call to play Glinda the Good in NBC’s upcoming live production of musical THE WIZ. Quoting the song “Believe in Yourself” from the show, the actress shared, “If you do believe, anything is possible.” Watch the appearance in full below!

The Builders Association’s ELEMENTS OF OZ to Make World Premiere at Peak Performances This Fall  The Wizard of Oz is baked into our collective DNA for good reason; it’s a great story with a strong spine. It’s got all the right ingredients: remarkable characters, good, evil, love, hate, courage, fear, abundant symbolism — and magic. The film version supplied our imaginations with gorgeous images and beautiful tunes. The Builders Association returns to Peak Performances with their 21st century You Tube-inspired take on this enduring classic. The fun begins with ELEMENTS OF OZ on September 26th and runs through October 4th, 2015. You want music? How about Somewhere Over The Rainbow sung by dozens of Oz You Tube fans from all over the world? Rather than being a distraction, your smart phone will enable you to be surrounded by the Oz of our imaginations, from the poppy fields to the Emerald City. Why go clomping through a field of brilliant red poppies when you can summon them on your phone? ELEMENTS OF OZ ventures into a new hybrid world of its own, with its blend of tradition and invention. If theater traditionally celebrates the idea that people come together to witness a live event onstage, what happens if the live performance cannot truly be seen without the “wizardry” of our new fantastical devices? This daring platform gives the talented Builders team a chance to explore all the allegories that have been spun from The Wizard of Oz since its publication in 1900.

Best Selling Author J.A. Jance Releases New Book  Judith Ann Jance, known more familiarly as J.A. Jance, is a published author of 53 books. In March of 1982, J.A. Jance began writing; however, she did not become a published writer until 1985. Growing up, Jance was an avid reader due to the large age gap between her siblings and herself. During her childhood, she was inspired by L. Frank Baum’s book “The Wizard of Oz.” Even as a second grader, she was not “as impressed by the wizard…as I was by discovering Frank Baum behind the words,” she said. That was when she realized her dream of becoming a writer.

Oz in the News 8.28.15

IMG_0061Preserving The Yellow Brick Road  Walking down and up the winding path (it is built within the curves of a mountain) it doesn’t take long to see the manmade potholes that frequent the trail. “It’s disheartening and makes you angry that people think they can just sort of pick its carcass clean,” says Donna Devereux who played Dorothy at the park in the 1970’s. A full yellow brick road has about 44,000 bricks. The Land of Oz Park struggles with the perception of being abandoned which often leads to disappearing bricks. Cindy Keller lives full time on the property as the care-taker since none of the landowners live in North Carolina. “Before we had fencing, people would come in from various locations and walk the yellow brick road and upon occasion they will kick in a window or possibly find a door ajar. Their curiosity gets the best of them and they keep on exploring. It would be very scary to be sitting there, having your dinner and have someone walk in, it doesn’t happen often but it has happened,” says Keller.

‘It Takes 2’ Fundraiser Supports Chittenango’s Oz History  It’s time for the Semi-Annual “It Takes 2″ fundraiser. Help the foundation fund the Baum-Neal House, All Things Oz Museum, and Oz-Stravaganza! festival by donating $2. You can donate via charge card or Paypal by clicking the donate button on the website or send a check in the mail. For supporters who donate $20 or more they will receive an Annual membership to the All Things Oz Museum as well as a special gift – the book “Journey to Oz” the story of L. Frank Baum by Chittenango Village Historian Clara Houck.

Home built for ‘Wizard of Oz’ dance director Bobby Connolly sells in Encino  A house built for “The Wizard of Oz” dance director Willian Harold “Bobby” Connolly has sold in Encino for $3.4 million. The film and stage choreographer, who died in 1944 at 46, worked on such other movies as “Cain and Mable” (1936), “Ready, Willing and Able” (1837) and “Fools for Scandal” (1938).


Oz in the News 8.26.15

84d0c9dd8e54d27ffa6849629762e965OZ Museum in Wamego, Kansas, celebrates 115th anniversary of the ‘Wizard of OZ”  The OZ Museum in Wamego, Ks., conjures the world of the Wizard of OZ, which began when L. Frank Baum published the book in 1900. The museum spotlights 2,000 artifacts, pulled from more than 24,000 treasures that rotate through the vintage storefront-turned-museum along Wamego’s Lincoln Street. About 70 percent of the artifacts are from the collection of Friar Johnpaul Cafiero OFM, who began collecting OZ memorabilia as a boy and carried on for 50 years. Cafiero and his siblings watched the movie on TV every year and dressed as the characters for Halloween—he was the Lion—and their costumes are in the museum.

Ruby Red–Handed: Dorothy’s Stolen Slippers Remain at Large If the slippers do reappear, they will belong to the insurance company. Michael Shaw the owner of the missing shoes, who turns 78 next month, sounds at peace with that. “There’s more to my life than a pair of pumps,” he says. “I have no desire to have them again. After years of bringing joy and happiness to so many thousands and thousands of people by being able to see them, now to me they’re a nightmare.” He ends a phone call with Newsweek by saying, “I’m not going to talk about it anymore. I’m sick of it. They’re gone.” Then he quotes another Hollywood classic: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

5 Things You Still Don’t Know About ‘The Wizard Of Oz’  Originally, MGM gave feedback to composer Harold Arlen, saying his song “Over the Rainbow” was too “symphonic” and that it would have to be sung like an opera. MGM also seems to have thought it was problematic to have their star singing in a farmyard. Before it became an iconic American song, many critics deemed “Over the Rainbow” long and unnecessary. Associated Press said, “The picture could have been speeded more at its beginnings, especially by the elimination of Judy’s first song.”

Wonderful Wizard Of Song Performs In Cleveland Sept. 15  The Wonderful Wizard of Song is a theatrical production that brings the pivotal moments of Harold Arlen’s life to the stage, framed by songs that have become “pillars” of American film and theatre.  It will performed at the Conn Center on the Campus of Lee University on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. The Wonderful Wizard of Song is a collaboration of the Harold Arlen Foundation and Matt Davenport Productions.  Mr. Arlen’s son, Sam Arlen (president of the Harold Arlen Foundation), is a consultant for the production.  Arlen not only provides first hand stories and insight to the writing of this production, but also has provided personal mementos, family photographs and Harold’s own home movies of the making of the Wizard of Oz.

Oz in the News 8.25.15

Screen-Shot-2015-08-23-at-3.08.49-PMThere are some seriously weird Wizard of Oz adaptations out there  Matt Baume wants to introduce you to some of the most deeply peculiar Oz adaptions ever made. And you should let him. Unless, of course, you have no interest in witnessing Dorothy being captured by an evil space witch while a drunken Bill Cosby looks on… only to later meet a sexy lady robot and defeat cavemen before killing the Wicked Witch with a gigantic condom. Oh, yeah. So why are there so many weird versions of Oz? And why are gay men so bananas about the story? To find out, click on the link below and say “There’s no place like…”

Oz in the News 8.24.15

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: Video tribute to 'The Wizard of Oz' onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

This Weekend Marks The 76th Anniversary Of The Wizard Of Oz  Today, 76 years since Judy Garland sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the big screen, we’re taking a trip to Oz with author Rebecca Loncraine. Her book The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum details the experiences of Oz’s creator in such a way that you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled to another world, much like Dorothy did in that first book of Baum’s. Rebecca explains that Baum’s world was one of wacky circuses, disappearing hot air balloonists, and people who believed in ghosts. It was a world filled with dark fairy tales from the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Andersen, And it was a world filled with racism, war, and death.

Oz in the News 8.22.15

55d690ab96640.imageVictory never tasted as good  Perfection takes time. For Kelly Tucker, it took three weeks. Tucker, 16, won the Grand Overall Sweepstakes in the cake decorating competition at the state fair for her “Wizard of Oz”-themed cake. The 34-inch cake has six tiers — each one decorated to resemble one of the movie’s characters. “Most of the layers have their faces molded, and then we put their theme around the cake,” Tucker said. “We wanted something that a lot of people could relate to, and most people know the Wizard of Oz.” Tucker’s cake is currently on display at Centennial Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Jimbo Fisher takes FSU football ‘to see the wizard’ with yellow brick road  Since he took over the Florida State football team, coach Jimbo Fisher has been really good at preparing his team for a long football campaign. But his team’s latest performance has him taking them on a trip down a “yellow brick road.”

‘The Final Girls’ Director Explains ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Influence  The idea was more like they just get sucked into a movie, not necessarily a horror movie. So it’s more like The Wizard of Oz. They get sucked into a technicolor dream world where everything gets to be hyper-real. There’s crazy color, the sky can look like Gone With the Wind, there can be crazy painted landscapes that can look very beautiful. Going back to the dream analogue, it did want to feel in some parts very ethereal. It was interesting to try to create that visual contrast where, in the middle of a huge action scene or a scary scene, there’s something very beautiful. The director of photography Elie Smolkin and I designed it so that, for the first ten minutes or so in the “real world,” it’s not so close to The Wizard of Oz that it’s sepia. But we are trying to avoid greens and primary colors, keep it fairly washed out, kind of golden. When you get into the “movie” and they’re in that park, we wanted the green to be just burning through your retinas.

Elton John- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (OZ Video Mix)  The video (live footage from the “Top of the Pops” performance from 1973) of the 1973 number one hit single with additional footages from the 1939 feature film adaptation & its 2013 film prequel.

Oz in the News 8.20.15


A Journey to the Home of the Wizard of Oz  There’s no place like Chittenango, New York. This is a place that paints its sidewalks yellow. It’s a place where good and bad play out everyday. This place returns you to childhood. Its claim to fame is the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, the writer behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was the basis for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. Each summer the town celebrates “where Oz all began” with an Oz-stravaganza.  Chittenango keeps the Oz legacy alive, remembering “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and Baum himself, who — over the span of his literary career — wrote several sequels, such as The Scarecrow of Oz, which turns 100 this year. The original publication spawned several offshoots, such as the musical based on Gregory Maguire’s book Wicked, which is celebrating its 20th year of publication.  The family-friendly town, also celebrating a new Oz-themed casino, loves its characters and themes from the children’s book. Patty Welch volunteers at the All Things Oz Museumand says she and her neighbors exuberate “a passion for the Wizard of Oz and everything it entails.” She has previously dressed up as Dorothy with her family. This year, her daughter got to sing “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked at the town’s Oz-stravaganza festivities.

Major “Wizard of Oz” exhibit coming to Figge  “It’s a collection about the whole Oz as a cultural phenomenon in the United States,” Figge executive director Tim Schiffer said. “They have blueprints of the sets. They have tons of posters and promotional materials.  From June 12 to Sept. 25, 2016, the Figge will host “The Wonderful World of Oz: Selections from the Willard Carroll/Tom Wilhite Collection” in its Katz Gallery. It will feature 175 items, from first editions of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 book to original sketches, costumes and props from the 1939 movie, to Oz spinoffs such as puppets, toys and posters from movie sequels. Highlights include the hourglass the Wicked Witch threw at Dorothy and her companions in the film, an original Munchkin costume for one of the Lollipop Guild trio and Dorothy’s screen-test dress. The Figge will present public programs related to the exhibit.

Oz in the News 8.14.15


Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, and Common Join The Wiz Live!  According to Deadline, NBC’s The Wiz Live! has added three more members to its star-studded company. R&B singer Ne-Yo joins the cast as the Tin Man, rap artist Common will play the gatekeeper to Oz, and Elijah Kelley (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) takes on the role of the Scarecrow. As previously announced, the three join a cast starring Queen Latifah (the Wiz), Mary J. Blige (Evillene), David Alan Grier (Cowardly Lion), Stephanie Mills (Aunt Em), Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba (Glinda), Glee‘s Amber Riley (Addaperle), and newcomer Shanice Williams, who takes on the leading role of Dorothy for the live broadcast.

Talk on Judy Garland’s Legacy  Rockland Public Library will host “Moments of Magic,” a talk on Judy Garland by music producer, collector and writer Lawrence Schulman, on Thursday, September 3, at 6 p.m., free and open to the public. Schulman will try to answer the question, “If I had just one hour to convince you of Judy Garland’s place in classic American popular music, what film and television performances would I choose?” Schulman will review Garland’s life and career and show nine audio-video clips; there will be time for questions and answers. Schulman has been responsible for numerous CD sets devoted to Garland over the past 20-odd years, and wrote the liner notes for most of them. He was responsible for the release of Garland’s historic 1935 Decca test records, and also unearthed her 1960 concert at the Paris Olympia and got it issued.

The Man That Got Away: The Life and Songs of Harold Arlen  Over the Rainbow, “Stormy Weather,” and “One for My Baby” are just a few of Harold Arlen’s well-loved compositions. Yet his name is hardly known–except to the musicians who venerate him. At a gathering of songwriters George Gershwin called him “the best of us.” Irving Berlin agreed. Paul McCartney sent him a fan letter and became his publisher. Bob Dylan wrote of his fascination with Arlen’s “bittersweet, lonely world.” A cantor’s son, Arlen believed his music was from a place outside himself, a place that also sent tragedy. When his wife became mentally ill and was institutionalized he turned to alcohol. It nearly killed him. But the beautiful songs kept coming: “Blues in the Night,” “My Shining Hour,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” and “The Man That Got Away.” Walter Rimler drew on interviews with friends and associates of Arlen and on newly available archives to write this intimate portrait of a genius whose work is a pillar of the Great American Songbook.

Oz in the News 8.13.15


“A Day in OZ” Coming to Clarksville, Missouri  Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and even the Wicked Witch of West will all be in Clarksville, Missouri for “A Day in OZ” Festival on Saturday, August 29th. This special Wizard of Oz-themed day will include an appearance by the Spirit of Oz, the premier professional touring group of Wizard of Oz Characters. They will perform in the park throughout the day. There will also be a Breakfast with the Oz Characters for $6 per person, along with several games and contests, like a Little Mister Scarecrow Contest, Little Miss Dorothy Contest, scarecrow building contest and a contest for the best wicked witch cackle. The streets will be lined with vendor booths, including arts and crafts, antiques, flea market, Wizard of Oz collectible booths and much more. Food vendors will also be on sight. Along with the contests, there will be live entertainment, a petting zoo, wagon rides, hay scramble, “dunk the wicked witch”, an old fashioned cake walk, games, games, games, an Auntie Em Pie Eating event and so much more! The fun packed day will end at dusk with an outdoor movie screening of the Wizard of Oz in Riverside Park.” A special presentation and festival dedication ceremony will be held to honor “Missouri’s Own Munchkin”, Mickey Carroll. Mr. Carroll sadly passed away in 2009. He was known as the “town crier” in the original 1939 Wizard of Oz movie. The Oz Festival will also be honoring the only living munchkin from the movie, Mr. Jerry Maren, during this special presentation.