Monthly Archives: September 2015

Oz in the News 9.30.15

0929ELEMENTS-slide-7VCG-jumboReview: In ‘Elements of Oz,’ Smartphones Enhance a Celebration of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Film  At “Elements of Oz,” having its premiere as part of the Peak Performances season at Montclair State University here, viewers are encouraged to use smartphones or tablets during the performance. These devices are not, of course, meant to be used for random texting and calling. You download a special app that instructs you to put your phone in airplane mode until the show starts. The app then provides access to various elements that enhance the production, primarily nifty filters that, when you point the phone at the stage, add new layers of imagery to the action. When Dorothy’s house in Kansas flies skyward, for example, you can hold up your phone and see a real corker of a tornado and slashing rain that isn’t apparent to the naked eye.

Celebrate Oz! In Coronado, Oct. 17 – Spreckles Park  Coronado will celebrate and honor L. Frank Baum’s connection to Coronado with its annual free community celebration of laughter, music, art and make-believe; including Oz characters dressed up and interacting with the children. Join us for the Celebrate Oz! Free Family Festival, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 17 at Spreckels Park. The park will be filled with incredible OZ and period music performed by the Coronado Concert Band and Coronado Big Band.

Judy Garland show on TV for first time in half-century  The digital television network getTV will air “The Judy Garland Show” beginning Oct. 12 as part of its new Variety Night. “The Judy Garland Show” will be televised for the first time since it aired on CBS in the 1963-64 season. Frequent Garland co-star Mickey Rooney appeared on the episode to air Oct. 12. Barbra Streisand, Diahann Carroll, Mel Torme, Bobby Darin, Ethel Merman, June Allyson, Jack Jones, and Garland’s daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft were among other guests on the series, which will air at 8 p.m. Mondays.

Oz in the News 9.27.15

2A6CA49A0-F784-DF4D-48144F29E92C3F87ELEMENTS OF OZ Makes World Premiere at Peak Performances  The enterprising and endlessly inventive Builders Association dive into The Land of Oz through the use of smartphone interactivity. Three remarkable performers: Moe Angelos, Sean Donovan and Hannah Heller play a range of the beloved characters on the spare stage of the supremely adaptable Kasser Theater. And for this show, you take your seat and are advised to turn on your cell phone. With their smart phones audiences will help create an immersive theater experience with all those remarkable ingredients: the terrifying cyclone, Glinda’s arrival in the bubble, a chorus of giggling munchkins, The Wicked Witch’s fiery exit and yes-the Flying Monkeys.

Syracuse-area casino thrives with ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme One of the main attractions at the Yellow Brick Road Casino is a cyclone, based off the same tornado that Dorothy and Toto went through. Chosen at random each day, players have an opportunity to step into this one-of-a-kind cyclone to win cash and prizes. “It was a blast in there. Everything was spinning around, it was just a good time,” said Kurt Beecher, who took a turn inside the Cyclone on Thursday.  Every piece of the casino adds to the “Oz” environment. Watch the video to see all the different restaurants and games.

Oz in the News 9.26.15

Fox Gamer demo: ‘LEGO Dimensions’ unites Batman, Doctor Who, ‘Wizard of Oz’

Oz in the News 9.24.15

echoes-webBradford’s City Park to get ‘yellow brick road’ in Wizard of Oz-inspired event  See Bradford City Park transformed with the magic of Oz.  Skip along the Yellow Brick Road, play among the fantastical flowers, experience the storm in Dorothy’s House and ride the giant Ruby Slipper Slide.  Watch live and light shows, different each day, as Bradford’s communities become Munchkins, Emerald Citizens or Flying Monkeys.  Meet Glinda the Good Witch, the Wicked Witch of the West, Professor Marvel or The Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz himself.  There’s a new experience all to enjoy each extraordinary day on 9th, 10th and 11th October 2015.

Oz in the News 9.22.15

11x17-posterUpcountry History Museum: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  September 19, 2015 to January 18, 2016, the Upcountry History Museum will fulfill its mission of connecting people, history and culture through a traveling exhibition titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  The 1,500 square foot immersive exhibition is based on the popular and iconic book, The Wizard of Oz, published in 1900, written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow.  Built as a larger than life pop-up book, the exhibition is filled with dazzling graphics and immersive Oz experiences showcasing “America’s first fairytale,” a literary classic that spans generations.  

The Creative Land of Oz Scholarship  The JASPER Awards Student Cover Design Competition is open to NJ vocational, high school and college graphic design students. This is a great opportunity to have a printed piece for your portfolio. The winner will receive a printed portfolio piece, a $500.00 scholarship and be our guest at the JASPER Awards Ceremony at the Double Tree Tinton Falls on October 15, 2015. Entries must be designed to support this years theme, The Wizard of Oz using the tag line, The Creative Land of Oz. To enter and to view official rules, please visit the 40th Annual JASPER Awards site here

Oz in the New 9.20.15

AR-150919252.jpg&MaxW=650Local yellow brick road Family heirlooms and memories have always been important to Newton resident Max Regier. Regier and his wife, Nellie, have filled their home with trinkets of years gone by. When a yellow-brick road constructed by his mother in the early 1990s lay dormant in the backyard of her former residence at 816 N. Blaine St., Newton, it was little surprise when Regier eventually went and dug the thing up, rebuilding it in his back yard. That was four years ago. Today the freshly painted road is accented by a sign pointing the Regier’s grandchildren to various Oz-related places and leads from the patio to Nellie Regier’s craft shop, keeping Melinda Brown Regier’s memory alive.

A lion, a wizard and a wardrobe  I found myself at a dinner sitting next to biographer, playwright, theatre critic extraordinaire and vaudeville royalty, John Lahr. His father Bert, you will recall, played the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz and was a Broadway stalwart for something like 50 years. I began to panic slightly about the things I mustn’t say. Of course I knew better than to disclose the mountains of Wizard of Oz trivia I have at my fingertips. It would have been a disaster if I had started regaling him with things like, I don’t know, how I’d read that Meinhardt Raabe, the 24-year-old actor who played the Munchkin coroner in The Wizard of Oz, had a massive growth spurt at the age of 35. When the film was shot Raabe was four feet tall. Eleven years later, he was four foot seven, only four inches shorter than La Garland herself. Can you believe it?

Creighton Homecoming: Wizard of Oz theme resonates with community  “The theme ‘Brain. Heart. Courage.’ truly encapsulates the whole Creighton experience, and is very reminiscent with alumni, students and all Creighton constituents,” Alumni Relations Office Senior Program Coordinator, Kathleen Vazquez said. She spoke of “Brain” as a reminder of Creighton’s principal purpose as an educational institution. “Heart” speaks to the university’s mission, charged by Jesuit values and oriented toward passion and service. And finally, “Courage” is what fuels all members of the Creighton community, former and present, to turn their education outward to impact the world.

Oz in the News 9.18.15

BN-KH857_OZ_02j_J_20150915153237Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? Even a Wizard Can’t Save Oz From Vandals  For this year’s opening, on Oct. 3 and 4, the park made available 7,000 tickets, at $35 each, which sold out in 2½ weeks—twice as fast as last year. Oz can also be rented for private events and Dorothy’s house—before the tornado—rents for about $180 a night. These days, Oz is kitschy and low-tech compared with modern theme parks. The Emerald City is mostly just a green door and some smoke machines. The Cowardly Lion’s lair is in disrepair. Owner Page Leidy says all the revenue from events goes into restoring and maintaining the park. Winged monkeys aren’t a problem, but harsh winters and effects of years of neglect are. Making matters worse are the growing numbers of uninvited visitors. At nearby Appalachian State, an oft-told joke holds that most students have a yellow brick or two in their dorm rooms.

Oz in the News 9.17.15

BEVERLY HILLS , CA - OCTOBER 19: Original munchkins from "The Wizard of Oz," (L-R) Mickey Carroll, Myrna Swenson, Clarence Swenson, Meinhardt Raabe, Karl Slover and Margaret Pellegrini, arrive for a gala screening marking the movie classic's 50th anniversary at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Samuel Goldwyn Theatre October 19, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS , CA – OCTOBER 19: Original munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz,” (L-R) Mickey Carroll, Myrna Swenson, Clarence Swenson, Meinhardt Raabe, Karl Slover and Margaret Pellegrini, arrive for a gala screening marking the movie classic’s 50th anniversary at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Samuel Goldwyn Theatre October 19, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images)

“There’s No Place Like Bethesda:” Meinhardt Raabe’s Legacy to Disabled Adults  At first blush, The Wizard of Oz and Bethesda Lutheran Communities wouldn’t seem to have much in common.  One is a beloved, classic movie; the other is an organization that supports developmentally disabled adults.  But what they do have in common is Meinhardt Raabe. Raabe was the diminutive actor who – at the time of his death in 2010 – was the last surviving actor from the Wizard of Oz.  And like Bethesda, he was a native of Watertown, Wisconsin.  More recently, his estate donated a million dollars to Bethesda.  And in return, the organization is throwing a Meinhardt Raabe-themed celebration tomorrow.  Mike Thirtle is the President and CEO at Bethesda, and he told the story of the beloved actor and his legacy fighting against discrimination.

Oz in the News 9.13.15

20150955f20b9d9bb83Everything You Need to Know about the Midwest Wizard of Oz Fest On Saturday, they’ll even try to break a Guinness World Record of largest gathering of people dressed as ”Wizard of Oz” characters. (The record stands at 1,093, in case you were wondering). To participate, visitors must be in costume full and recognizable as a character from the original story. Oz visitors will hear from Mary Ellen St. Aubin, wife of Parnell, who played a Munchkin in the original film. Roger S. Baum, great-grandson to the original ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ author L. Frank Baum will also share with the crowd.

Tinley Park serves as backdrop to Oz Fest  5 p.m. Friday, about 350 people had already followed the yellow brick road to Oz Fest. Even with the dark skies and downpours, they realized they weren’t in Kansas anymore — that it was indeed Tinley Park. Dark clouds loomed over the sky as winds blew papers from one of the vendor booths across the open grass. Other vendors ran to help, and people referenced the movie that the fest was named for: “The Wizard of Oz.” “I think there’s a tornado coming,” a woman joked with a smile.

Characters come out for Midwest Wizard of Oz Festival  Organizers of the festival had hoped to break a Guinness World Record for having the largest number of Oz characters gathered in one spot at one time. They needed to break the current record of 1,093 people dressed in costume. They had around 500. The lack of participants, however, was not the main concern in calling off the contest. Rather, it was the muddy mess Mother Nature had left behind in the field characters were to gather that prompted organizers to call it off. “They totally understood,” Odyssey Fun World General Manager Clint Paraday said of the people who came to the festival dressed in costume. “Most are thankful I’m not making them get in the mud.” Paraday said he will make another attempt to break the record at next year’s festival.

Not My Job: We Quiz Frank Oz On L. Frank Baum, Author Of ‘Wizard Of Oz’  Next question – L. Frank Baum was interested in technology. He put in some wonderful futuristic ideas in his books. In fact, he was credited with being at least among the first people to depict what? A – cellphones; B – the George Foreman grill; or C – Dippin’ Dots, the ice cream of the future.

OZ: That’s a tough one.

SAGAL: Isn’t it, though?

OZ: I’m going to go for the ice cream of the future.

SAGAL: (Laughter) No, but it would be great.


SAGAL: And then the scarecrow took out a little container of tiny frozen balls. No, it was cellphones in the “Tik-Tok Of Oz” book.

OZ: Really?

SAGAL: People used little devices to talk to each other. It’s very futuristic.

OZ: Wow.

Oz in the News 9.10.15

ctOz to work magic in Tinley?  Hundreds of paving blocks were laid in a wooded area in an effort to reproduce Dorothy Gale’s journey. Some scenes from the movie, using mainly mannequins, will be re-enacted along the Yellow Brick Road, which does lead to the Emerald City and there are a smattering of poppies leading up to it.  It took about six weeks to finish the path, and 20 gallons of yellow paint were used, Paraday said. Hundreds of flowers were planted on either side of the walkway, and Odyssey workers are soaking them down with 1,200 gallons of water each day so they’ll make it through the recent hot, dry weather and still be viable for the fest, he said.

“The Wonderful Wizard of Song” to perform in Munster  “The Wonderful Wizard of Song” is a collaboration of the Harold Arlen Foundation and Matt Davenport Productions. Arlen’s son, Sam Arlen, president of the foundation, is a consultant for the production. He not only provides first-hand stories and insight to the writing of the show, but also has provided personal mementos, family photographs and Harold Arlen’s own home movies of the making of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Companies should take a more holistic approach to product innovation  This is the theory behind Wizard of Oz testing. It’s a methodology for the evaluation of a new product or service, but where the product doesn’t need to work like or even look like the real thing. That said, the experience of interacting with the innovation feels real and less like a test, ultimately eliciting more natural responses. The technique is named after the novel and classic film, where the Wizard is exposed as a normal man sitting behind a curtain. Wizard of Oz testing sees the experimenter create a realistic illusion of a new product or device to discover how users interact with an idea, to reveal and record genuine and valid responses.