Monthly Archives: March 2016

Oz in the News 3.31.16


Why this building needs its own star on the Walk of Fame: Inside the LA hotel that housed Greta Garbo, Ronald Reagan and all 124 Munchkins  The Munchkins stayed here while they filmed the Wizard of Oz across the road on the MGM lot. Filming commenced on October 13, 1938, and according to the hotel’s website a story quickly spread that there was a secret tunnel built to connect the Munchkin actors to the filming location. It says: ‘In reality, this “secret” pathway was used for pedestrians to cross the busy boulevard, but we like to stick with the other story!’ The site continues: ‘The wild tales and stories that emerged from this Munchkin “residence” inspired the 1981 Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher movie, Under the Rainbow and, in 1997, six of the original cast returned for a Beyond the Rainbow event to share their remembrances with the Culver City Historical Society.’

2016 Oz-Stravaganza: Celebrate ‘Wizard of Oz’ with parade, costume contest  The 2016 Oz-Stravaganza will be June 3 to June 5 in Chittenango, N.Y. Chittenango was home to L. Frank Baum, the creator of the Wizard of Oz books. This year’s annual festival will celebrate the women of Oz – from Maud Baum, L. Frank Baum’s real-life leading lady, to Dorothy to Glinda the good witch. Maud Baum’s mother was Matilda Joslyn Gage. The parade is 2 p.m. Saturday. Streets close in the small village at 1 p.m., so get there early. The costume contest is also on Saturday. If you want to win a prize, you have to register at Stickles Park, starting at 11:45 a.m. The big dance is from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Marshall Farms, 1978 New Boston Road, Chittenango. Tickets are $15. Check the festival’s website for updates on events and schedules.

Oz in the News 3.30.16

tn-500_wickedlondon_markcurry_thewizard_0639_photobymattcrockett_rtFirst Look at Mark Curry as The Wizard in the West End’s WICKED  West End musical phenomenon WICKED, which tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, has released the first pictures of Mark Curry as The Wizard. Actor and presenter Curry took over the role on March 25, alongsideEmma Hatton (Elphaba), Savannah Stevenson (Glinda), Oliver Savile (Fiyero), Liza Sadovy (Madame Morrible), Sean Kearns (Doctor Dillamond), Daniel Hope (Boq) and Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose). Mark Curry is best remembered by many for Blue Peter, which he co-hosted alongside Caron Keating and Yvette Fielding from 1986 to 1990. His recent theatre appearances include: Agatha Christie‘s And Then There Were None (UK Tour); Out of Order (The Mill at Sonning); Victor/Victoria (Southwark Playhouse); Company (Southwark Playhouse); The Rocky Horror Picture Show (UK Tour); and Victoria Wood‘s Talent (Menier Chocolate Factory).

7 Things You Never Knew About the Ruby Slippers From The Wizard of Oz  The pair that now lives in the Smithsonian—and started the craze for collecting—was sold for $15,000 in 1970. Before they could hit the auction block they had to be located though, a feat that proved difficult. “During the auction preparations nobody could find the shoes. It took costumer Kent Warner months to find them among the 450,000 costumes that were there,” White told us. “Eventually he found them in a dusty old barn that used to exist on the MGM lot.” A behind-the-scenes video reveals that the sequins are made of gelatin, a material that doesn’t play nice with most cleaners. Instead, restoration techs have to clean each individual sequin with cotton dipped in ice water.

Oz in the News 3.24.16

WizardOz3_72dpi(Parody) When Dorothy Went Sequential: Comic Strips from The Revelator Years On May 19, 1917, Pres­i­dent Wil­son sent Roo­sevelt a telegram refus­ing him per­mis­sion to raise his new divi­sions of the Rough Rid­ers. Roo­sevelt assigned blame to Baum and THE REVELATOR, blind to the schisms he had already opened in the Repub­li­can Party and his own denounce­ments of Wilson’s for­eign pol­icy. Although no con­crete evi­dence has been uncov­ered, the sud­den ter­mi­na­tion of L. Frank Baum’s The Wiz­ard of Oz strip within two weeks of the telegram exchange between Roo­sevelt and Wil­son is clearly sug­ges­tive of cause and effect. As is the fire that destroyed two of THEREVELATOR ware­houses con­tain­ing issues from that period. We are only left to won­der what fur­ther per­mu­ta­tions of the strip might have been wrought in the ensu­ing years if it had per­sisted. We are only left to regret the mas­ter­pieces we might now be read­ing in the Funny Pages as a result of its immea­sur­able influ­ence. These remain to be dis­cov­ered by adven­tur­ous read­ers who pur­sue their own dream jour­neys to the Land of Oz.

How a poet born 120 years ago perfectly expressed what we’re feeling today  Admired for his talent as a lyricist in the theatrical and film world, E.Y. “Yip” Harburg wrote the lyrics for iconic American songs, including “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” as well as the lyrics for “The Wizard of Oz,” “Finian’s Rainbow,” “Bloomer Girl” and the 1943 film adaptation of the musical “Cabin in the Sky,” one of the first to star African-American talent targeted to a mainstream audience that featured Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, as well as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.


Oz in the News 3.21.16

Fairy-Tale-Fashion-MFIT-Christian-Louboutin-shoes-250Fairy Tale Fashion  Fairy Tale Fashion is a unique and imaginative exhibition that examines fairy tales through the lens of high fashion. In versions of numerous fairy tales by authors such as Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen, it is evident that dress is often used to symbolize a character’s transformation, vanity, power, or privilege. The importance of Cinderella’s glass slippers is widely known, for example, yet these shoes represent only a fraction of the many references to clothing in fairy tales. The exhibition also highlights two fairy tales that take place in Parallel Worlds—Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. Although Alice makes little reference to clothing, there is a distinct “Wonderland aesthetic” that has influenced fashion. This subsection will feature a playful, bright blue mini-dress by Manish Arora, adorned with fabric playing cards that reference the tale’s Queen of Hearts and her playing card army. By contrast, The Wizard of Oz makes numerous references to fashion, including Dorothy Gale’s blue-and-white gingham frock, represented by a checked cotton dress from the early 1940s by Adrian, who also designed many of the costumes for the famous 1939 film version of the tale. Although Dorothy’s magical shoes are silver in the story, they are better remembered as the sparkling “ruby slippers” from the movie. A pair of bright red, crystal-encrusted stilettos by Christian Louboutin is unmistakably evocative of Dorothy’s iconic footwear.


Off To See The Wizard With NMDT-PC  New Mexico Dance Theater Performance Company (NMDT-PC), directed by Susan Baker-Dillingham opened her original ballet “The Wizard of Oz” Friday. Baker-Dillingham first choreographed the ballet in 2008 and it premiered in Los Alamos that November. It’s one of my favorites of Baker-Dillingham’s ballets. The choreography in her ballets is always stunning, but this one blows me away.

Oz in the News 3.19.16

o47oo3-b88667147z.120160317183852000gc2fet8a.10Maple Youth Ballet gets visit from original member of 1939 ‘Wizard of Oz’ movie cast at rehearsal  Members of the Maple Youth Ballet had a special guest attend their rehearsal on Sunday. Priscilla Montgomery Clark, a member of the cast of the original 1939 film, shared stories with the cast about her time as a child actor, according to Maple Youth Ballet Executive Director Kathy Krade. Clark, who lives in Orange County, was 9 when she acted in the movie as a Munchkin. She told members of the cast that while she was not nervous to be on the film set, she was frightened by the Wicked Witch of the West – until she got to know her, that is. “Out of character, she was just the nicest person,” Clark recalled Sunday.

Oz in the News 3.18.16

OZ_KeyArt-984x500Here’s what a Vancouver-set ‘Wizard of Oz’ might look like  Vancouver Film School student Dio Ostuni’s concept art reimagines what it might look like if Frank Baum’s classic The Wizard of Oz were set in the Rain City instead of the Emerald City. Ostuni is currently studying Concept Art at the Vancouver Film School, and a recent project had him re-imagining a classic story and creating a design pack including characters and locations. Ostuni’s version of The Wizard of Oz in Vancouver envisions the Woodward’s Building as the Emerald City, and injects a bit of Vancouver’s diversity into the characters of Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.

Wicked Grosses $1 Billion From Broadway Box Office  Broadway’s Wicked has grossed over $1 billion from its Broadway box office, producers announced today. The production reached the milestone in a record twelve and half years, faster than any other production in Broadway history. The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera are the only other shows to have reached the $1 billion box office mark. Worldwide, Wicked has amassed nearly $4 billion in global sales and has been seen by nearly 50 million people. It is currently the 10th longest-running production in Broadway history.

Ariana Grande Adds Judy Garland to Her List of Spot on Impressions


Oz in the News 3.15.16


SXSW exclusive clip: Tripping through movie history in “Slippers”  He licensed some of the footage from U.S. news outlets such as NBC and ABC, but the more obscure material came from eBay and the personal archives of interviewees. The 8mm and 16mm footage of the MGM auction, for instance, came from the personal collection of the auctioneer’s daughter and has never been made public prior to the doc. Debbie Reynolds’ son, Todd Fisher, also contributed material from his mother’s archives. “I would scour eBay, and I bought film prints. All of the film clips in the movie come off of film prints,” says White, adding that The Wizard of Oz footage was extracted from a 16mm film print and 16mm trailer of the film. “I wanted to have that aged perspective, that collected perspective,” says White. “It’s not the best form or version of the footage [but] sometimes the worst quality footage looks more interesting than good quality footage.

Oz in the News 3.13.16

imageWorkshop to reflect on the ‘Wisdom of Oz’  A renowned psychologist and great-granddaughter of Wizard of Oz author L Frank Baum will visit Carrick next month. San Diego native Dr Gita Morena will be leading a unique two-day workshop and evening seminar on the ‘Wisdom of Oz’ in Belfast. An author, international seminar leader and certified sandplay therapist, Dr Morena is a teaching member of the International Society for Sandplay Therapy and programme coordinator for the professional certificate programme in Sandplay Studies at the University of California.  The Belfast workshops will offer a way to explore ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ as a metaphor for personal growth, spiritual transformation, and the emergence of the feminine. Titled ‘The Journey Home – Follow the Yellow Brick Road’, they will be held at Edgehill Theological College Belfast, on April 23 and 24. The evening seminar, ‘Travelling Through Oz: Understanding Symbolism and Imagery’, will be hosted by Queen’s School of Education on Monday, April 25.

SXSW 2016 Review: THE SLIPPERS Reveals Unexpected Hollywood Treasures  Granted, the new documentary by Morgan White probably starts off on the wrong foot by recounting its setup in a pedestrian, expected manner: the popular books by L. Frank Baum, the movie, its incredible popularity, Judy Garland and the red shoes, blah blah blah. Dedicated classic film fans have heard it all before. A tiny bit of patience is rewarded, however, once the focus narrows to the iconic red shoes in the context of the decline of the Hollywood studios in the 1960s. No longer able to sustain their expansive collection of costumes, props, and sets in Los Angeles, the studios began selling them off. That era climaxed, sadly, when MGM, the biggest studio of them all, was sold to investor Kirk Kerkorian, who then began selling off the studio’s assets in piecemeal fashion in 1970. More than 40 years later, it’s jaw-dropping to watch footage of those voluminous assets, not just the huge lots for production exteriors and dozens and dozens of vehicles and houses and other buildings, but also thousands and thousand of pieces of furniture, not to mention thousands and thousands of costumes and props. The auction of those assets took weeks to complete, and were epitomized by the sale of Dorothy’s ruby slippers for the princely sum of $15,000. At the time, it was the highest price ever paid for a piece of Hollywood memorabilia, a market that most people didn’t even know existed. The shoes ended up on display at the Library of Congress, enshrined as a museum display, and viewed by thousands. That’s where the official story might have ended. But wait! There’s more.

Oz in the News 3.10.16

marylouiselibertygirls-web-resize.jpg__800x600_q85_cropThe Secret History of the Girl Detective  (L. Frank) Baum had been tinkering with the idea of a mystery series for nearly five years, and in 1911, there was a false start with The Daring Twins, intended to be the first in an Oz-like series written under his own name. The sequel, Phoebe Daring, appeared the next year, and then the series was quietly discontinued; the Daring characters, tellingly, were wrapped up in their own financial anxieties, dismaying publishers and readers alike. As Edith Van Dyne, Baum embarked on a fresh effort, Mary Louise, naming his orphaned heroine after one of his sisters. He was likely drafting the story in 1915, when Green’s Violet Strange made her debut. But Baum’s publishers were wary: they declined the first version, judging the character of Mary Louise too unruly. Baum quickly rewrote Mary Louise and saw it published in 1916. Eventually, the new series would have ten books, half of them ghostwritten, and collectively they became known as “The Bluebird Books” for their powder-blue cloth bindings. The stories start with the acknowledgment that the shadow of World War I changed gender norms irrevocably. Baum deftly frames this in Mary Louise and the Liberty Girls: in the words of a grandfatherly character, “‘This war,’ remarked the old soldier, thoughtfully, ‘is bringing the women of all nations into marked prominence, for it is undeniable that their fervid patriotism outranks that of the men. But you are mere girls, and I marvel at your sagacity and devotion, heretofore unsuspected.’”

All Things Oz to participate in Museum Day Live  The All Things Oz museum will be participating in this year’s Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live event,March 12. The museum, located in Chittenango, is in the heart of the historic downtown district and features artifacts and exhibits about Chittenango native, L. Frank Baum and his most famous work, “the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”. The museum has more than 10,000 pieces in its collection and has approximately 1,500 pieces on display at a time. The exhibits include items from the 1975 Broadway production of “The Wiz,” original artwork and collectibles from the OZ universe, the original costumes from the film “After The Wizard,” and two 1939 MGM Munchkin actor appearance costumes. There are also rare items, autographed photos, and every kind of OZ collectible imaginable, from table and chairs, to music boxes and animatronic table top décor. Free Museum Live day is being held nationwide Saturday, March 12. The All Things Oz Museum, 219 Genesee St, Chittenango, is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day. For more information, visit for free tickets, All Things Oz Museum – Home or

Oz in the News 3.9.16

56ddb67f1e0000b3007036b1Inside A Maximum Security Prison’s Production Of ‘The Wiz’ Dunasha Payne always breaks down in tears when she sings “Home.” The song is the finale of “The Wiz,” an urbanized, musical rendition of “The Wizard of Oz.” But to Payne, “Home” is a requiem for what she has left behind, and what she’s so close to getting back: A life outside the walls of a maximum security prison in upstate New York, where she can properly raise her young daughter. Just before Payne took the stage as Glinda the Good Witch at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, she cried. On that night in late January, Payne sang “Home” knowing that she wouldn’t get there for another two years, after her sentences for manslaughter is served.