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.